← Back to search results

Portland Education

Portland Education helps school leaders be more effective by helping them to think differently and do things differently. They help them be brave, so they can face challenges honestly. Bold, so they can take risks they need to take. And authentic, because if it doesn’t feel right the chances are it won’t work.

They help school leaders to think more clearly, communicate more honestly and give them practical steps to make changes they want to make. Whether a school needs:

  • an experienced coach to help staff reach the next level;
  • some inspirational CPD to help them get out of a rut;
  • to grow the capacity of their leaders;
  • focus more on staff wellbeing;
  • help because their professional relationships are in a bit of a pickle; or
  • needs to go beyond student voice to school voice,

Alex will ask the right questions and share a wealth of practical experience with them and their school team.

Portland Education offers: 1:1 leadership coaching, typically over five sessions across the year with an initial scoping and taster session; group coaching sessions for up to 15 participants, covering effective peer coaching models, ongoing assessment and review models for peer coaching and learning triads; and is developing a range of ILM accredited coaching qualifications.

Examples of Programmes Offered

  • Introducing a Coaching Culture to Your School
  • Who’s it for?
    Senior leadership teams, middle leadership teams, whole school teams in EYFS, Primary and Secondary.

    Course overview
    Introducing a coaching culture to your school can improve personal and team effectiveness, staff alignmnent, core values and wellbeing.

    You will be able to:
    – Understand the essential core elements of coaching and their application in school settings
    – Use coaching to increase staff engagement, effectiveness and capacity
    – Implement a more authentic and responsive leadership structure

    The course will cover:
    – The ten elements of effective coaching
    – Four key tools for shifting your school culture towards greater staff engagement and proactivity
    – Reducing blame
    – Risk taking that puts your organisation at less risk

    Programme duration
    One 60-90 minute session every half term, often during department meeting time.

    How many people is this for?
    Minimum four particpants.

    Estimated cost 
    Typically £2520 for 6 sessions + travel expenses.
    – Prices may vary by location, type and phase of school, number of delegates and duration of programme.

    Where and how is this delivered?
    Delivered face to face on your school site or a location of your choice

    Dates
    Arranged to meet your school’s needs

    Possible Promotions
    When you make an enquiry through CPDBee, Alex offers:
    – a free introductory call
    – a 6th session free if you book 5
    – a 10th session free if you book 9

  • 1:1 Leadership Coaching for Senior & Middle Leaders
  • Who is this for?
    Senior and middle leaders in EYFS, Primary and Secondary

    Course overview
    This course aims to increase your leadership team members’ capacity within your school.

    As coachees, you will be able to:
    – Understand their own leadership style
    – Use a more authentic style of leadership to connect and improve staff performance
    – Apply coaching to all aspects of staff development
    – Sustain your own leadership effectively and avoid burnout

    Each programme is bespoke to each coachee but a typical programme would cover:
    – Understand how to leverage the GROW model
    – Move on to more bespoke coaching models to suit your needs
    – Improve professional alignment, purpose and effectiveness
    – Prepare for appraisal, quality assurance and external review

    One hour session every half term per participant coachee.
    Six sessions minimum.

    How many people is this for?
    Four-five participant coachees from your school per day.

    Estimated cost
    – Packages start from £4320 for 6 days.
    – Prices may vary by location, type and phase of school, number of delegates and duration of programme.

    Where and how is this delivered?
    Delivered face to face on your school site or a location of your choice

    Dates
    Arranged to meet your school’s needs

    Possible Promotions
    When you make an enquiry through CPDBee, Alex offers:
    – a free introductory call
    – a 6th session free if you book 5
    – a 10th session free if you book 9

     

     

  • 10 Elements for Reflective Coaching for Emerging Leaders (Group Coaching)
  • Who is this for?
    Extended leadership teams in EYFS, Primary and Secondary

    Course overview
    This group coaching course aims to help your school to:
    – Increase the effectiveness and
    – Increase engagement of your extended leadership team
    – Extend leadership capabilities at all levels
    – Build capacity and succession plans
    – Meet external quality assurance criteria for school improvement and staff development

    As participants you will be able to:
    – Understand the GROW coaching model
    – Use more effective line management and staff development
    – Implement learning triads and action learning sets
    – Apply coaching in lesson observation and appraisal feedback

    The course will cover:
    – The ten elements of effective coaching
    – Establishing learning triads to secure knowledge
    – Action learning sets that embed your coaching practice
    – Avoiding pitfalls in peer coaching
    – Practical application models and opportunities

    Programme duration
    One 60-90 minute session every 4-6 weeks.

    How many people is this for?
    Maximum of 25 participants but this is negotiable.

    Estimated cost
    Packages start £2160 for 4 sessions (or £3240 for 6 sessions)Prices may vary by location, type and phase of school, number of delegates and duration of the programme.

    Where and how is this delivered?
    Delivered face to face on your school site or a location of your choice

    Dates
    Arranged to meet your school’s needs

    Possible Promotions
    When you make an enquiry through CPDBee, Alex offers:
    – a free introductory call
    – a 6th session free if you book 5
    – a 10th session free if you book 9

     

     

  • Education Essentials for the Fourth Industrial Age
  • Who’s it for?
    Senior and middle leaders, whole school teams in EYFS, Primary and Secondary

    Course overview
    This course looks at what the future is telling us about what it needs from its educators and learners going forward and what global trends will shape the way we teach and learn.

    As participants you will be able to:
    – Understand the key themes and trends identified by global organisations such as the OECD and World Economics Forum
    – Follow and implement practices used by leading global organisations and trendsetters
    – Take away six practical tools to apply in your own schools almost immediately

    The course will cover:
    – The practical implications of artificial intelligence on society right now
    – The practical implications on education very shortly
    – Four things the world needs now from its educators
    – The ten skills the world will be looking for in 2020
    – Six ideas we can steal from other education systems

    Programme duration
    One 60-90 minute session.

    How many people is this for?
    No minimum or maximum number of participants.

    Estimated cost
    £540 for the single session

    Where and how is this delivered?
    Delivered face to face on your school site or a location of your choice

    Dates
    Arranged to meet your school’s needs

    Possible Promotions
    When you make an enquiry through CPDBee, Alex offers:
    – a free introductory call
    – a 6th session free if you book 5
    – a 10th session free if you book 9

  • Appreciative Enquiry to Transform Staff Engagement
  • Who’s it for?
    Whole school teams in EYFS, Primary, Secondary

    Course overview
    Appreciative inquiry can be used to:
    – Turn your biggest critics into a force for good at your school.
    – Leverage the leadership skills and expertise of all your staff at all levels.
    – Allow all staff groups to become the solution not the problem.

    As participants you will be able to:
    – Understand the principals of the ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ model
    – Learn of its use from the UN, leading companies and schools
    – Implement the core elements quickly and effectively
    – Apply the practice and see benefits almost immediately
    – Ensure all meetings become ‘future focused and solution focused’

    The course will cover:
    – Appreciative Inquiry in the wider world
    – Core elements of good practice in schools
    – Practical tips and techniques
    – Establishing the mantra of ‘future focused and solution focused’
    – Avoiding pitfalls, naysayers and saboteurs

    Programme duration
    One 60-90 minute session every half term. Minimum of two sessions.

    How many people is this for?
    No minimum or maximum number of participants.

    Estimated cost
    – £1080 for a minimum of 2 sessions
    – £3240 for 6 sessions

    Where and how is this delivered?
    Delivered face to face on your school site or a location of your choice

    Dates
    Arranged to meet your school’s needs

    Possible Promotions
    When you make an enquiry through CPDBee, Alex offers:
    – a free introductory call
    – a 6th session free if you book 5
    – a 10th session free if you book 9

Delivery location

Portland Education delivers programmes globally.

Impact

Impact to date

Since founding Portland Education in 2015, Alex has worked with over 70 schools and more than 125 senior leaders delivering over 650 hours of coaching.

He reports Portland Education has worked with over 10,000 educators internationally and that his coaching work has a 97% approval rating. He notes their work has helped to stabilise middle and senior leadership teams and improve Ofsted ratings.

Feedback from senior leaders, collected by CPDBee, indicates his work improves wellbeing, staff cohesion and engagement with work and develops leadership skills, knowledge and capacity.

Impact measurements used

Alex aims to help schools and school leaders be more effective by helping them to think differently by being brave, bold and authentic.

He captures the impact of this work using client learning journals. They co-create context-appropriate assignments, action learning and action plans with each client, which are reviewed at the start of each session.  He also conducts quantitative and qualitative online surveys, midway through and at the end of any coaching cycle.

These include ratings on: the personal effectiveness of the coach, the impact for the individual, the impact on the client’s team and shifts in the clients’ attitude to work. He carries out mid and end of cycle interviews with school leaders to evaluate their impact.

He is also working towards ILM accreditation to incorporate formal tracking of progress via assignments.

External assessment of impact

Portland Education has not yet had an independent, external evaluation of their impact.

Expertise

Programme design philosophy

The one to one coaching programme offered by Portland Education is based primarily on the GROW model developed by John Whitmore, recognised as one of the key authorities on coaching globally. It also includes a range of other coaching and personal development tools and exercises. The programme is typically sustained over five sessions throughout the year and begins with an initial taster and scoping session to ensure it meets clients’ desired outcomes.

The group coaching and action research for groups of up to 20 middle or senior leaders involves MBTI personality assessment, Johari Window review, Transactional Analysis and Bisociation tools.

The ‘coach the coaches’ work Portland education does with groups of up to 15 participants is underpinned by theory and a strong foundation in outstanding practical leadership and ongoing action research through organisations like the Royal Society of Arts and the British Council.

Portland Education pride themselves on asking the right questions to challenge the status quo. All of their work adheres to the European Coaching Council (ECC) standards.

Team experience and expertise

Alex Bell Portland Education - Programme Leader

Alex draws upon 30 years of experience in education and outreach at school, local authority, national and international levels. Before becoming Director of Portland Education, he led two London schools in challenging circumstances to be Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ and designed and delivered bespoke facilitation in Asia, Europe and North America for a range of schools and other organisations.

Alex has designed education and outreach programmes for international government, museums and charities, is a sought-after professional coach to senior leaders and a mentor to emerging talent. He is an Institute of Leadership and Management Level 7 trained coach with over 650 hours of coaching experience. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, where he is Fellowship Councillor for Creative Learning & Development and an active member of the Innovative Education Faculty.

Testimonials

Rocklands School, Sandra Swift, Headteacher

Rocklands School engaged with Education Support Partnership to deliver the Positive Workplace Programme. Through this, Alex worked with the senior leadership team as a coach, with the aim of providing a more cohesive and efficient leadership team as well as the personal development of the individuals within it. Alex demonstrated numerous outstanding personal and professional qualities through his work at Rocklands.

From the very first time of meeting, his warmth and compassion shone through. He showed empathy for the challenges faced by all levels of leadership within the school; he had the ability to engage with all staff in school, as well as the children and young people he met. It was clear from the coaching he delivered that Alex has a passionate belief in, and commitment to, supporting the wellbeing of educational professionals – not only on a personal level but with tangible benefits for the whole school.

His own experience as a school leader gave him credibility and he conducted all of the work at Rocklands with integrity and honesty. The impact of the training was that the school leadership team are now much more cohesive, staff are more engaged in their work and the school is a much more positive place.

Hunslet Carr Primary School, Martin Lumb, Headteacher

Alex’s professional but caring approach to Leadership Coaching has had a significant impact on both myself and the other members of the school’s leadership team. From our initial meeting, I have felt that Alex worked hard to understand my individual needs and how they married up with the organisation’s needs and from that point, we have worked together to ensure the growth in my leadership skills, knowledge and capacity.

Alex uses a range of techniques and is always able to bring something fresh to our sessions that can shed light on a current issue in my leadership or setting. While all sessions are private my colleagues at school speak in glowing terms about Alex’s coaching and the impact it has had on them as leaders and as people. As you can tell, I can’t recommend Alex highly enough.

City of London Academy, Abi Blessing, Vice Principal

Because the coaching provided by Alex Bell to our middle and senior leaders has not only received very positive feedback from staff CPD surveys but evidence of the coaching can be seen in the impact on teaching & learning and progress in our school. He coaches a range of staff from basketball coaches, to support staff, to teachers, to heads of subjects to our Head of school. Since he began coaching at CoLA over 2 years ago more than 50 staff have signed up to receive one to one coaching.

The coaching sessions are flexible, adaptable and creative. Alex responds quickly to themes and concerns raised by the individual and uses recent research, news, teaching theories and concepts to help staff identify their own solutions to move forward in their career. He is an inspiration.

City of London Academy (Southwark), Richard Bannister, Executive Principal

Alex has professionally mentored many of our colleagues. The feedback from his work is exceptional and this has helped both the individual and our organisation further develop

Mzuzu International Academy, Peter Yates, Principal

I have known Alex for over ten years having first met on the ILMP course. When he left the state sector a few years ago he very kindly offered to provide some training for staff here at Mzuzu International Academy. He was here for a week and I can only say his contribution was outstanding, so much so he will be back soon. He has a very easy manner, covers a steely determination to improve learning that colleagues here, mostly Malawian, found most approachable. His classroom visits were welcomed by teachers who saw him as a non-threatening resource to be used in improving their practice. His work was highly organized and customized to exactly what we were looking for. His experience in dealing with staff and students from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds in London certainly stood him in good stead. However, Alex was not afraid to say that he learnt a great deal working with staff who have had limited exposure to the latest educational practice and ideas. The main focus of his work here was the development of student voice and literacy skills. I would highly recommend Portland Education to any Head looking for training, in addition to his work on language, Alex is well versed in developing leadership in schools.

Rocklands School, Sandra Swift, Headteacher

Rocklands School engaged with Education Support Partnership to deliver the Positive Workplace Programme. Through this, Alex worked with the senior leadership team as a coach, with the aim of providing a more cohesive and efficient leadership team as well as the personal development of the individuals within it. Alex demonstrated numerous outstanding personal and professional qualities through his work at Rocklands.

From the very first time of meeting, his warmth and compassion shone through. He showed empathy for the challenges faced by all levels of leadership within the school; he had the ability to engage with all staff in school, as well as the children and young people he met. It was clear from the coaching he delivered that Alex has a passionate belief in, and commitment to, supporting the wellbeing of educational professionals – not only on a personal level but with tangible benefits for the whole school.

His own experience as a school leader gave him credibility and he conducted all of the work at Rocklands with integrity and honesty. The impact of the training was that the school leadership team are now much more cohesive, staff are more engaged in their work and the school is a much more positive place.

Hunslet Carr Primary School, Martin Lumb, Headteacher

Alex’s professional but caring approach to Leadership Coaching has had a significant impact on both myself and the other members of the school’s leadership team. From our initial meeting, I have felt that Alex worked hard to understand my individual needs and how they married up with the organisation’s needs and from that point, we have worked together to ensure the growth in my leadership skills, knowledge and capacity.

Alex uses a range of techniques and is always able to bring something fresh to our sessions that can shed light on a current issue in my leadership or setting. While all sessions are private my colleagues at school speak in glowing terms about Alex’s coaching and the impact it has had on them as leaders and as people. As you can tell, I can’t recommend Alex highly enough.

City of London Academy, Abi Blessing, Vice Principal

Because the coaching provided by Alex Bell to our middle and senior leaders has not only received very positive feedback from staff CPD surveys but evidence of the coaching can be seen in the impact on teaching & learning and progress in our school. He coaches a range of staff from basketball coaches, to support staff, to teachers, to heads of subjects to our Head of school. Since he began coaching at CoLA over 2 years ago more than 50 staff have signed up to receive one to one coaching.

The coaching sessions are flexible, adaptable and creative. Alex responds quickly to themes and concerns raised by the individual and uses recent research, news, teaching theories and concepts to help staff identify their own solutions to move forward in their career. He is an inspiration.

City of London Academy (Southwark), Richard Bannister, Executive Principal

Alex has professionally mentored many of our colleagues. The feedback from his work is exceptional and this has helped both the individual and our organisation further develop

Mzuzu International Academy, Peter Yates, Principal

I have known Alex for over ten years having first met on the ILMP course. When he left the state sector a few years ago he very kindly offered to provide some training for staff here at Mzuzu International Academy. He was here for a week and I can only say his contribution was outstanding, so much so he will be back soon. He has a very easy manner, covers a steely determination to improve learning that colleagues here, mostly Malawian, found most approachable. His classroom visits were welcomed by teachers who saw him as a non-threatening resource to be used in improving their practice. His work was highly organized and customized to exactly what we were looking for. His experience in dealing with staff and students from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds in London certainly stood him in good stead. However, Alex was not afraid to say that he learnt a great deal working with staff who have had limited exposure to the latest educational practice and ideas. The main focus of his work here was the development of student voice and literacy skills. I would highly recommend Portland Education to any Head looking for training, in addition to his work on language, Alex is well versed in developing leadership in schools.