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Jarlath O'Brien

"What does it say about us as a society that we’ve allowed a system to develop where a child can be deemed a risk to the so-called success of the school? What does it say about us as professionals that we play along with these new ‘rules’?"

When Jarlath says, with disarming frankness, ‘Some of the young people I have worked with have gone to Cambridge; some have gone to prison’ you know he is the sort of leader who is all about inclusion and working with the child in front of him.

Jarlath O'Brien

Jarlath has been a teacher for two decades, working with children from 3 to 19, and has worked in comprehensive and selective independent schools and in special schools for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties and moderate, severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties. He has shown he can turn around a school’s behaviour from ‘Requires improvement’ to ‘Outstanding’ in 14 months without losing sight of – or the confidence of – the children, the staff and the parents.

His approach is one that focuses on what the child can do, without forgetting the significant  physical and emotional challenges the child may be facing on a daily basis. Totally against the current rhetoric around ‘zero tolerance’ and ‘no excuses’, Jarlath’s wide experience across a range of schools shows him that children who are presenting problems in the classroom are children who need listening to, not to be punished into silence.

You are truly an inspirational man and I’m so grateful my son has benefited from being under your excellent guidance for the last 3 years

What an amazing, caring person you are but above all else an outstanding head teacher and
professional. Thank you.

An increasingly vocal advocate of the educational rights of all young people, Jarlath is a behaviour columnist for the Times Educational Supplement, regularly speaks at conferences on leadership, behaviour and SEND and was proud to have been  a Special Constable with Thames Valley Police.

  • Jarlath has been with Independent Thinking since March 2016
  • You'll find him in our Leadership and Teaching and Learning topic areas
  • You might also want to consider Dave Whitaker or Gill Kelly.
  • Ask us about Jarlath's prices and current availability.
  • And for details on how to save money when you book, click here.

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