Q: I’m a manager — how many staff can you handle in one session?
A: The beauty of my workshops is that they can be very cost effective, because they run so well with large or small numbers. Because I create news desk teams of five, groups of 15, 20 and 25 are particularly good. If you have larger numbers, I can work through your teams in back to back workshops while you provide other activities. If you have fewer than 15 staff, I can offer a more debate-based session with more personal challenges and one to one interaction.
Q: It sounds interesting, but the team I manage will probably cringe if I tell them they’re doing a tv news themed confidence boosting workshop!
A: I understand this — and consider it my job to win them over. My aim is indeed to take them out of their comfort zones -- but whilst having fun, and within the security of their own colleagues in a comfortable, safe environment. Because I gather detailed feedback from delegates, I know that the vast majority have been very glad they have had the experience.
Q: I’m a teacher, and I’d love this, but our school’s got no budget!
A: I do understand this. All I can say is that more than fifty state schools and training providers with similar budgetary pressures have told me I offer real value for money, providing their pupils with a working tv journalist leading an exhilarating workshop -- and fulfilling the March 2015 statutory careers guidance to bring in outside visitors to work with their pupils. Because my workshops tick so many boxes (English, PSHE, Careers, Business Studies, Media, Exam Preparation, Gifted & Talented, Primary/Secondary Transition) teachers have often drawn on several budgets. Others have asked parents to pay a small top-up.
A: Yes. One option is for me to run the same workshop back to back, “carouselling” through them in classroom size groups over a one or two day period. Another option, depending on your choice of workshops, is for me to take the entire year group in one go, backed up by support staff in an appropriate school venue. Or I can mix and match. My range of workshops is very versatile -- give me a call to discuss your ideas, and I'll come up with a plan and a price.
A: If you can get someone in to give a talk for free, go for it! — but I’m not charging you for a talk. My tried and tested, carefully structured workshops involve video clips, real news examples, deadlines, debate, surprises, moments of personal challenge, comfort zone breaches … and plenty of adrenaline. I’ll give your pupils an experience of newsroom life — not simply a description of it.
This is where I believe I may be unique. At the end of each workshop, I provide a proportion of your staff or pupils with a Feedback Form — asking them directly what they feel they have learnt, and what they may do differently in work, class, or in life, as a result. I give teachers or co-ordinators a similar form, asking them what they feel their staff/pupils have learnt, and whether value for money has been achieved. Within forty-eight hours I will have turned this information into a one page "What Did They Actually Learn Today?" report for your records ... providing Senior Management, Governors and Ofsted with hard evidence on which they can judge their investment.
A: Most of my work is done in the mainstream state sector, but I have worked in several schools serving pupils with special needs (both physical and emotional or behavioural) and I am used by several private schools. I also work with training providers helping young people who have left school but are not yet ready for the workplace or college. (You can see a list on my Testimonials page, along with video messages from teachers and pupils.) All types of teachers have told me that the pace and energy of my workshops gives many of their shy pupils confidence, and boisterous ones a fresh challenge. "Newsroom Bootcamp" in particular has proven an effective way to smuggle basic literacy to pupils who would otherwise resist it.
Q: Do you offer workshops for the staff in how to handle the media or promote a news story?
A: No. To avoid any perceived conflict of interest with my on air role two days a week with BBC South East, I limit my workshops to motivating staff, pupils and students to fulfil their potential in class and in the workplace. Because my workshops are my own product and not the BBC's, I request that any promotion of an event involving me does not use the BBC's logo or imply the BBC’s endorsement of that event.