Social Purpose Leadership Seminar 3rd March 2015

It is time for a fundamental rethink about leadership in education.  Thanks to the Education and Training Foundation, we are welcoming leadership maven Richard Wilson to our first ever Social Purpose Leadership Seminar, to be held at The Northern College, Barnsley, South Yorkshire on 3rd March 2015.

Anyone can be a leader, if they have a social purpose heart and an environment which appreciates new thinking.  Rich and co-facilitator Lou Mycroft believe that we can transform education – and the world – by bringing values and energy back into educational leadership.

A model of Social Purpose Education
A model of Social Purpose Education

This seminar blends the TeachNorthern model of social purpose education with Rich Wilson’s social leadership approach, exemplified in his book ‘Anti-Hero‘.  It calls for a new type of leader, the anti-hero, who “creates change through transcending traditional heroic virtues, and whose impact is often unnoticed but nevertheless vital.”  This is echoed in #dancewithus, the call to arms of Lou Mycroft and the co-authors of ‘Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses’ (published 1st May 2015), a book for “educators who haven’t got cynical”.

Northern College’s gorgeous House and grounds provide an inspiring backdrop to this day of strategic thinking and personal development. Whether you are currently in a formal leadership role or not, whether you work in a formal educational setting or not, this seminar will provide you with ideas, energy and motivation to bring about lasting change.

Cover of 'Anti-Hero' by Richard WilsonThe aim of the seminar is for each person to have a much deeper and clearer sense of themselves and others as leaders; and what they as individuals need to do differently to make a difference in the world.  As well as a call to action, this will be a very practical day, with an opportunity for each delegate to construct a personal leadership development plan.

At Northern College, we know this approach works on every level.  Our social purpose approach not only enables us to punch above our weight in terms of national influence and innovation, it was affirmed in June 2014 by an Ofsted Inspection which graded us outstanding in every area, with no significant weaknesses.  Working with Rich has enabled us to critically analyse how we made this happen, so that we can pass this learning on to you.

Date: 3rd March 2015

Time:  10am – 4pm 

Venue:  The Northern College, Wentworth Castle, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S75 3ET (accommodation available)

Booking via Eventbrite: click here

The seminar will define social purpose leadership and imagine what education would look like if it was led by ‘values entrepreneurs’.  Using Thinking Environment processes, we will co-construct a transformed vision of how education could be, before considering the challenges we face.  The day will introduce inquiring as a method of leadership development and reflect on how and why we try to create change in different ways.  Finally, we will consider how we each need to develop as leaders, to drive this change in the world.

The Presenters

Richard Wilson @richwi1son

Richard is a director of OSCA leading the public participation and leadership development work programs. He has over 15 years experience supporting change in large institutions such as the UNDP, OECD, BBC, EC, Bupa, the NHS, Cisco and numerous local and national governments around the world. Photo of Rich WilsonHe is currently a UN Adviser working in the Middle East, a Clore Social Fellow and an associate of the innovation consultancy IDEO.

In 2004 Richard founded Involve ( the public participation charity dedicated to empowering people and strengthening democracy. Before that he worked at The Environment Council and Sussex and Exeter Universities. Richard has been directly involved in the policy making process internationally; writing a number of white papers for the UK government and being the deputy chair of the UK Governments ScienceWise Centre, and director of the UKs National Resources & Waste Forum.

Richard has written numerous publications including Anti Hero, Civic Limits and People and Participation. Richard facilitated the largest conferences of the French and Swedish EU Presidencies; the ECs Digital Agenda Assembly and the Mobile World Congress; each event had over 1,500 delegates. Richard speaks at around 30 events a year and was winner of Best Presenter at the 2014 Market Research Society Awards.

Richard blogs for the Guardian and Huffington Post.

Lou Mycroft @teachnorthern

Lou is a teacher educator and former community worker at The Northern College, based in the picturesque house and grounds of Wentworth Castle in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Lou Mycroft
Lou Mycroft

Founded in 1978 as the ‘Ruskin of the North’, Northern College’s philosophy is one of social purpose education, with a mission of transforming individuals and communities.

The ‘TeachNorthern’ teacher education and CPD programme assumes that teachers of all levels and experience will have brilliant ideas. Lou’s mission – and that of the TeachNorthern ‘Community of Praxis’ – is to drive transformational change in an education system which has become lifeless and cynical. Along with a critical mass of critical friends they believe in the possibility of education as the practice of freedom and in the potential of social purpose leadership to make this happen.

A passionate public speaker and writer, Lou’s most recent venture is as co-author of ‘Further Education and the 12 Dancing Princesses’ (published by Trentham Books on 1st May 2015), a book for educators who haven’t got cynical and who still manage to find spaces to dance. The book’s call to arms is ‘Dance With Us’ and she hopes to meet more brave dancers at this seminar.

Lou blogs at, and for the Education and Training Foundation’s website.


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