Andy Falconer


Growth Mindset – How to help your child develop this essential attitude to life

25 Aug 2016 | Leave a Comment |

Five years ago at St Olave’s School we became interested in something called growth mindsetgrowth-mindset. There is a wealth of material in books and online about growth mindset, the research behind it and the many lessons that can be learned from it.

The headlines of growth mindset are very simple: if you try hard and learn from your mistakes, you will make progress. That’s growth mindset in a nutshell. It sounds so obvious you would think that every educator, every parent and every human being would be able to work this out for themselves without decades of educational research and, of course, you’re right. We know that it’s common sense.

So what is revolutionary about growth mindset? Don’t we all inherently understand and agree with the logic and the theory? Read the rest of this entry »

The Pursuit Of Perfection – Don’t Do it!

7 Jul 2016 | Leave a Comment |

Have ever read one of the Little Miss or Mr Men books? 2. PerfectIf so, you will recognise Little Miss Perfect and Mr Perfect. I have another question for you – would you rather be perfect, or accepted for who you are? If you chose perfection over acceptance, what would ‘perfect’ look like for you? I’m sure we all have our own definition of perfection.

Whilst many people describe themselves as perfectionists, perfectionism isn’t actually a positive trait. Perfectionism is striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations, and worrying too much about what other people think of you.

Perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal, and when perfectionists don’t reach their goals, the consequences are negative. Ironically, the pursuit of success actually keeps the perfectionist focused on failure, completely undermining what we understand as success. Read the rest of this entry »


31 Mar 2016 | Leave a Comment |

The secret of leadership and being a great leader1 is knowing yourself and your tendencies, which allows you to lead yourself first, according to Jeremie Kubicek, CEO and co-founder of GiANT Worldwide, a global leadership consulting firm. He believes that once you become competent in leading yourself, the secret to leading others lies in understanding when to alternately support and challenge them with consistency. When people see you leading yourself and know you are for them, then they are more apt to follow you, because they perceive you as a leader worth following.

Jeremie has closely observed traits of the very best leaders in the world and has been around some of the worst. At the end of the day he wants to be known as a leader worth following who was constantly fighting for the highest possible good for those he leads and loves. Isn’t that what we all want? Read the rest of this entry »

Developing Future Leaders

13 Jan 2016 | Leave a Comment |

Developing Future Leaders – Attain Magazine

Effective leaders are made not born, and the skills and values pupils need for leadership must be imparted at an early age whilst at school.  This is an article which I wrote for the Spring edition of Attain Magazine, which can be read in their online magazine here:

Leaders are born not made. I disagree. Whilst I don’t think that leadership can be taught, in the way that chemistry or French is taught, I do believe leadership can be developed. Management is a science that can be taught, but leadership is an art that must be developed. Like so many things, the earlier we start the process, the better.

John is a risk-averse Chief Financial Officer, unwilling to make a decision Read the rest of this entry »

Make the next 5 years, your best 5 years as a leader

1 Nov 2015 | Leave a Comment |

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the first year as a leader, or you’re Next-5-yearsMartin Gilbert (CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management since 1981), Martin Sorrell (CEO of WPP since 1986) or me (Head of St Olave’s School since 2005), as a leader you want to make the next 5 years, your best 5 years. I’ve been giving this some thought recently and the following are some of the things that I think will help those of us who are committed to making the next 5 our best 5.

Read the rest of this entry »

Developing Relentless Curiosity In Children

7 Jul 2015 | Leave a Comment |

Do you know anyone who is 21 years old? Can you imagine that person going on a journey. An adventure.relentless curiosity Waving them off at the station. Now, imagine that journey took them further than they planned.

Much further. 75,000 miles in fact. That’s three times the earth’s circumference.

Imagine that journey lasting longer than they planned. Much longer. 30 years in fact.

Imagine them also leaving York on foot, with a donkey to carry their few possessions. For the year isn’t 2015 but 1325, over 700 hundred years ago. And the person concerned isn’t the 21 year old who you know, but a 21 year old Arab from Morocco called Ibn Battuta. Read the rest of this entry »

Persistence & Growth Mindset – My Speech Day Address

7 Jul 2014 | Leave a Comment |

Mark sits beside a hospital bed in Italy, surveying the wreckage that is his best friend Jonny. persistenceJonny is connected to this world by nothing more than humming machines and tubes. Jonny doesn’t realise that he’s been in a coma for the last 4 weeks. Jonny remembers nothing of being knocked off his scooter in a hit and run accident. Jonny doesn’t know how close he came to being killed.

If you are interested in cycling you will recognise the names of successful British cyclists such as Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton & Mark Cavendish but you probably haven’t heard of Jonny Bellis. Jonny is a European champion and he competed for Team GB in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. His best friend Mark, who sat beside his hospital bed, is Mark Cavendish, one of the world’s top cyclists. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you want to find more than 24 hours a day?

24 Feb 2013 | 12 Comments |

Image courtesy of

We all have the same 24 hours a day, right? So the issue isn’t how much time we have available to us, the issue is how we use it – our time management.

I’ve been trying something new for the last 6 weeks.

I normally go to bed at 22:00, get up at 06.30 and then am in the office from 07.30 – 18.00pm. This means that Monday to Friday I have around 52 hours in school (57 hours including Saturday mornings).


I’ve now set my alarm clock for Read the rest of this entry »

Resilience – rising each time we fall

8 Sep 2012 | 3 Comments |

Resilience. I ran a race this year. It was my first one in roughly 20 years. I finished in 19,623rd place

Image courtesy of

– my worst ever placing. 10 months earlier when I started to train for it I could only jog half a mile, then I was physically sick & had to walk home – that’s how unfit I was. As I walked home part of me wanted to give up and try cycling or table football instead, but another part of me said that next time I’d jog the same distance but this time I wouldn’t be sick and I wouldn’t walk back. There were lots of moments throughout the winter months when I would be doing a long run at 10pm after a long day, with the temperature near freezing and snow on the roads and I thought about turning back and going home.

“So up he rose to run once more,

And with a new commit…… Read the rest of this entry »

60 years as CEO of the Commonwealth – What leadership traits can we learn from the Queen?

6 Jun 2012 | 7 Comments |

Image courtesy of

The Queen has been CEO of the British Empire for 60 years, deeply impressive given that the average tenure of a FTSE 100 CEO is 5.9 years. Whether a monarchist or a republican, few can argue that she reigns over us with a devotion to duty and selfless sacrifice that few can fault. This was demonstrated this month during the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, when she stood on the royal barge, Spirit of Chartwell, for four hours in the cold wind and rain (though this may have been as much to do with ‘not being amused’ at the hideously pompous red thrones which would have been more suited to Katie Price & Peter Andre’s wedding).

As leaders we need to remember that we have been placed in positions of great trust. Other people depend upon us and are affected by  Read the rest of this entry »