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Roy Leighton

Change - Peace Studies - Leadership

Always entertaining, challenging and thought-provoking, Roy remains one of our most sought-after speakers for his work on change, growth, learning and relationships - and school's role in all of them. At a time when we are all having to deal with change, growth and new learning, he helps us understand how best to approach all three - and do it with a smile on our face.

With a background in theatre as well as a track record of over two decades working in schools with educators and with young people themselves, Roy is also very much in demand in the world of business where his detailed and innovative approaches to personal development have a proven effect to the bottom line in a number of large multinational organisations.

In 2021, Roy graduated with an MPhil from the Knowledge, Power and Politics programme at Cambridge University, is a member of the RSA and is on the advisory board of the innovative Da Vinci Life-Skills School project. 

Growing up in a working-class Black Country community with six brothers and sisters, Roy knows first hand the challenges faced by children in such circumstances and the importance not only of high expectations and aspirations for all, but also the need for creative and compassionate approaches in the classroom. Indeed his current work, including his impressive MPhil from Cambridge and a 1991 Japanese award for his contribution to peace, culture and education, is very much focussed on peace and peace building in a world that is increasingly at odds with itself.

Recent titles include:

  • Change: It's About Time
  • How School Communities Can Move From ‘Peacekeeping’ to ‘Peace Building’
  • When You Start the Revolution

And as someone with an open mind to new ways of thinking when it comes to changing and growing as professionals and organisations - and who has co-authored eight books on education, creativity, spirituality and change management - Roy embodies the enlightened thinking that can help us all be better at what we do and who we are. 

What’s more, at a time when access to the Arts is being squeezed out of the curriculum for so many children in English state schools in the name of ‘standards’, Roy is a living testament to the fact that it is the Arts that can truly liberate a young person from his or her background.

His book 101 Days to Make a Change was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize for Non-Fiction and he has also contributed to several of Independent Thinking’s best-selling collaborative books including our most recent, The Working Class. 

As anyone who has witnessed one of Roy’s presentations knows, he very much sets the standard when it comes to ‘taking people's brains for a walk’, something he does with great humour, compassion, energy, authenticity and a genuine commitment to share ideas, insights and strategies to help schools bring the best out of everyone in their community.

Just wanted to say a huge ‘thank you’ for coming to our school and doing the staff INSET - it was amazing to see so many people inspired and motivated

I feel like I’m now inspired and motivated to change and teach these pupils

Roy Leighton should be bottled and consumed regularly

The trouble you went to to make sure that your presentation was relevant to us as a group was very much appreciated

Your input was very much appreciated by the Headteachers and their Senior leader colleagues and certainly provoked much discussion in the individual school reflection part of the conference

Truly innovative and yet also simple, Roy's work allows schools to take charge of learning, teaching and leadership, own them and make them sustainable.

Not only do outcomes improve, but more importantly, children and staff develop an acute love of learning, a desire to take that learning further, and also play, have fun and enjoy school

Roy Leighton In His Own Words


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