Andy Falconer


Are you a pushy parent, pushing your child too hard?

23 Nov 2013 | Leave a Comment |

Clinical psychologist Professor Tanya Byron wrote a Pushy Parentinggreat article in The Times recently about how she feels children are increasingly suffering from anxiety and depression due to pressure from parents. It’s easy to slip into being an overly pushy parent but she suggested some ideas for how to foster health and happiness in our kids, which I have summarized here: Read the rest of this entry »

How to help your child develop a Growth Mindset

26 Jul 2013 | 5 Comments |

There once was an unlikely looking 12 year old swimmer who told his coach that he wanted to win Olympic Gold, probably in breaststroke. Instead of ridiculing him, the coach (a Yorkshireman) took the boy literally, & helped him with his ambitious goal. They developed training plans that took a huge amount of commitment and dedication to follow. Both the boy and the coach felt that he could develop his talent and they were prepared to embrace the challenge and effort it would take. The boy had to keep going when things got tough, but he was inspired by his swimming heroes, and wanted to be like them.


The swimmer in question was Read the rest of this entry »

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

24 Feb 2013 | 12 Comments |

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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

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– 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 |

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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 »

Running, drumming & procrastinating

26 Jan 2012 | 10 Comments |

I ran my second ever half marathon on Sunday. It was easier than my first

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one three months ago, despite the incessant wind. I only started running nine months ago and on that first occasion I managed half a mile, vomited at the side of the road and then walked home. Now I’m training for the Paris marathon on 15 April.

Trying to fit runs around a young family, leading a school and being involved in several other organisations isn’t easy. It’s involved a lot of runs at 9pm at night, on my own in the cold, wet and dark. It takes self-discipline to pull on my running gear and head out into the night. And then there’s the drums. I forgot to say that I’m also trying to play the drums. I passed my Grade 1 in December, along with several 11/12 year olds from my school – which is good for my humility.  It’s taken a year and a bit to get to that stage because Read the rest of this entry »

Private schools should be abolished…..or should they?

28 Oct 2011 | One Comment |

The following is a guest blog by Toby Young – freelance journalist, author & inspiration behind

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the West London Free School. It is taken from a debate at the Oxford Union.

“I want to start by agreeing with the honourable members on the other side. The fact that only seven per cent of the British population attended independent schools, yet 75% of judges, 70% of finance directors and 45% of top civil servants have been privately educated is iniquitous. Unquestionably, private schools have a good deal to answer for when it comes to the preservation of the English class system. I share the belief on the other side of this house that we need to do something about this. I went to three state schools. I’ve just set up a school in Read the rest of this entry »

Sponsoring an Academy is not for me

8 Oct 2011 | 2 Comments |

I am not going to be taking up David Cameron’s generic offer to get myself & my school involved in helping to run a Primary Academy. The Prime Minister may feel that because of this I am part of the continuation of the ‘educational apartheid’ he has accused independent schools of perpetuating by not lending their experience to the running of academies, but that is not the case.

It’s not because I am an educational snob – my own education was in the state sector.  It’s not because I don’t agree with the academies Read the rest of this entry »

There are no universal leadership traits

25 Sep 2011 | 3 Comments |
leadership traits

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“There are no universal leadership characteristics”. A somewhat controversial statement from Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones in their excellent book ‘Why should anyone be led by you?’.  Given the millions of pounds of revenue generated every year by sales of books on leadership and management, I’m sure there are plenty of authors who would disagree!


However, they do go on to qualify the statement by saying Read the rest of this entry »

I can’t hear what you say because what you do drowns out your words

18 Sep 2011 | One Comment |

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I can’t hear what you say because what you do drowns out your words

Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark in the United States, was speaking at a conference I attended recently in Chicago. He was telling his story and explained how he was told off be a local resident who basically said that whilst he was saying all the right things, his actions didn’t match his words.  ‘Actions speak louder than words’ as the old adage goes.

When we are in leadership positions, whether we like it or not, all eyes are on us.  People are quick to notice if we are all talk, no action.  Or even worse, if our lives are unauthentic. There have been plenty of books written on authentic leadership but my favourite is ‘Why should anyone be led by you?’ by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones.

It is demoralizing to work for someone who lacks authenticity. You never know whether to trust what they say because they may be two-faced, or you find it hard to have respect for them because of the way they behave outside of the work environment or when they think no-one will notice.

Think of a fantastic leader you have worked with – what was it about them that you admired?