"I, Daniel Blake is not a film, it's a documentary about my life"
Chris Kilkenny
Chris Kilkenny

There is a clear link between children growing up in poverty and school underachievement but no-one really knows what to do about it, despite the efforts of various governments to ‘close the gap’.

This is where Chris can help.

A young man who grew up in unbelievably challenging circumstances just outside Edinburgh, Chris brings something very different to Independent Thinking and has proven himself to be an honest and incredibly moving speaker working with schools across the UK.

With a mother who was a heroin addict, Chris ended up looking after his younger siblings as well as trying to survive all that life - and the school system- threw at him. Growing up in real poverty, Chris has been in care, has lived in a rehabilitation unit, has been homeless and forced to live in a B&B and has struggled - and is still struggling - to build a life for himself and his own young family. What makes Chris even more special is that he is both remarkably articulate and also capable of telling his story movingly, but without bitterness or rancour. He offers practical ideas on how we, as educators, can make a genuine and vital difference for young people like him.

Not only a powerful contributor for INSET and leadership conferences, Chris is also a superb motivational speaker with students, offering them a 'reality check' on what lives can really be like and how vital it is that they take advantage of all opportunities that they have.

"The children who most need your help are often hidden in plain sight"

To read more please click here

  • Chris has been with Independent Thinking since 20th September 2016

  • Click here to see our price guide

Feedback from recent events include:

'I just wanted to let you know that Chris was amazing, my staff were humbled to hear his story and inspired to do better by our students.'

'Please do pass on my thanks to Chris; he's an awesome young man!'


3rd December 2018 - From Coping to Thriving - The Resilience Conference

A must-see event of powerful keynotes and live one-to-one interviews for those working with children in challenging circumstances.