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Will Ryan

Curriculum - Pedagogy - Leadership

In a world where we always seem to be chasing the next new shiny thing and educators are chasing the next silver bullet to shoot themselves in the foot with, we can overlook the immense power of wisdom to make a difference to our day-to-day lives.

And Will Ryan, with his many years’ experience in all sorts of challenging schools as a teacher, headteacher and senior advisor, has wisdom in spades.

It is why he has been one of our most requested speakers for so many years as a long-time Associate of Independent Thinking. That and the fact that he still brings new ideas and insights and an unabated passion for doing the right thing for all children and young people to his work.

Will spent most of his teaching, leadership and advisory career working in what he refers to as the ‘People’s Republic of Rotherham’ but has an enviable overview of what makes great schools and great classrooms tick. For him it is about starting the job with a clear focus on what our moral purpose is, something that transcends SAT results or inspection reports.

It is something he articulated clearly in his first book for the Independent Thinking Press Leadership With a Moral Purpose, showing how we need to lead school from the inside – hearts and minds – not the outside – bowing to external pressures and keeping others happy.

He followed this up with Inspirational Teachers, Inspirational Learners, described in a 10/10 review by the TES as ‘the inspirational text that should be on the reading list of all educational administrators and on the bedside table of all school leaders and classroom teachers’.

Recent titles include:

  • Daring to be Different: The Science and Art of Inside-out Leadership
  • Creativity and Outdoor Learning
  • Linking Literacy with the Arts to Develop Beauty-Full Learning

Described by one delegate recently as ‘Education’s Michael Macintyre’, Will doesn’t let that stop him from entertaining and challenging audiences in equal measure across the country and is often a repeat booking for schools who want more of his invaluable input and wisdom.

Combining a sharp eye for the ludicrous nature of school policies with a genuine and heartfelt love for the profession and craft of teaching, Will inspires teachers and school leader alike to reevaluate what is they are doing and why they are doing it.

In this way they go back to their classrooms and staff rooms with a renewed belief in the power of the work they are doing and the confidence to do what is the right thing for the children in their care.

Will has written some great contributions to several of our collaborative books over the year, including our latest best seller The Working ClassHere he gives an intensely moving account of the inspiring work being done in the primary schools of Rotherham after the serious issues faced by this town in recent years. It is testament to a community with values-driven schools at its heart, something for which Will is so proud of having played his part.

For a warmly entertaining look at what it takes for schools to be even better, delivered from the heart in a no-nonsense and compassionate way, then it is Will’s wisdom you need to tap into.

Thanks so much for today. You were absolutely brilliant. I cannot thank you enough. It has really fired us up and a terrific staff are set to be even more terrific!

An excellent understanding of the context we really teach in. Inspirational and a joy to listen to

An inspirational, child-centred speaker who spoke to us from the heart and with a philosophy that resonated

You were on top form and we loved it. Very well done. In fact, you were so good, I want you to come back next year

A great workshop presented with style and was engaging and interactive

Will Ryan continues to share his knowledge and vast experience in an engaging way

A fabulous insight into modern leadership was achieved through anecdotes and historical examples

We really enjoyed his session to close our conference day

The feedback we received from them for the day was excellent, and they all rated you highly and all took creative ideas away they plan to use back in school. The enthusiasm and engagement was palpable and you provided the creative spark that is so often suppressed by other pressures recently, and we hope that they will now be motivated to be brave with their curriculum back in school. So a sincere thank you from me on behalf of our team and I hope we may have further opportunities to work together in future.

Will was amazing and we were so glad you recommended him to us. I read somewhere that he was described as the ‘Education Michael Macintyre’ and he certainly lived up to that. The audience loved him

Will was a great keynote, so much to take away for our members. They really enjoyed his candid and heartfelt talk. It set the perfect note for our conference

Thank you for your contribution to our annual conference. Your contribution generated a lot of ideas, thoughts and challenges for our school leaders

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