Today I got to stand on the same stage as the women from the early Suffragette movement. As he miked me up, Will, the stage manager, listed other speakers who had given speeches standing on the very same floorboards I was about to be on:
Martin Luther King
Oh yeah, and Robbie Williams!
I was at Westminster Central Hall, for the main meeting of PiXL6 – a group of leaders from over 500 sixth forms committed to collaborating around leadership and resources. The PiXL Club grew from just 50 schools who decided to carry on working together after their funding ran out and now includes communities of Primary, Secondary and Alternative Provision.
When enquiries come through my website, I invite people to have a chat over the phone with me. By the end of my call with Rachel Johnson from PiXL I was so inspired I couldn’t wait to get cracking and immediately started writing my keynote!
Rachel is a phenomenal rattle shaker. Having seen the comments on Twitter during and after the Working Class Conference in Manchester she immediately bought and read The Working Class book (along with another corker Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey) and reached out to me as a speaker for two main PiXL meetings. My focus at the Working Class conference had been to invite people out of the conversation about behaviour and into a conversation around belonging. After spending the morning at the first PiXL meeting, I can confirm that PiXL has belonging nailed.
When I arrived, Rachel called her dad over to meet me and I heard the warm tones of a Yorkshire accent as Sir John Rowling, the founder of PiXL approached me with arms open wide to give me a hug. Now that’s what I call a welcome! We chatted about David Goodhart’s notion of Anywheres and Somewheres to describe groups of people in society and my thoughts disadvantaged children who are navigators of chaos outside of school before I stood where 1/4 of the original Take That had stood before me and delivered my keynote.
The best thing about my job is that I get to hear other phenomenal speakers share their thoughts. I especially loved Jade Farrington, a Year 12 student sharing her experience of finding her tribe in education and James Heale encouraging us to ‘find tribes outside of our networks’.
Whenever you stick you head above the parapet, especially in education, you attract fire and PiXL has been no stranger to that but, what I experienced was something unique. A genuine group of committed to going above and beyond to ensure that every student, regardless of their starting point or whether they navigate chaos or order at home, is enticed with empathy, engaged in a bigger conversation and enrolled into a vision of what success looks like for them.
Thanks PiXL6 for inviting me to a phenomenal event. I’ve found a new tribe!
P.S. If you were inspired by my keynote watch and share my TEDx talk with your staff. It’s a great ten minute boost of motivation in a staff meeting. Have tissues on hand though!