Tales of a #teacher5aday Travelling Teacher @ottleyoconnor

I’m writing this blog from the viewing gallery at Jersey Airport following a lovely bargain weekend away (flights £12 return) from Liverpool John Lennon Airport. This time it’s with Mel & our two youngest sons Marcus & Quinlan (teenagers), but with 5 sons, holidays vary in number from all 7 of us (+additional partners) down to Mel & I.

With the exception of Christmas, we go away every school holiday & try to take at least one weekend jaunt at 1/4 term intervals. We certainly have wanderlust…in fact I’ve been infected with the travel bug for 30+ years!

Most full time teachers are contracted for 195 teaching & INSET days per year. That usually includes 100 days of holidays & bank holidays, with another 70 days of weekends to play with. As a family, we work hard to ensure we can play away as often as possible.

I started my travels at the end of my first year as a teacher in 1987, with a month backpacking around Thailand. I bought a @lonelyplanet guide & travelled on local transport, ate street food & stopped in cheap backpacker hostels & beach huts. 31 years later & I travel in much the same way with my family, with the occasional bit of ‘flashpacking’ thrown in.

I soon adapted the philosophy that ‘the journey is more important than the destination’ & fell in love with the adventure & romance of exploring new places. I love to wander & explore new places. I don’t visit places to tick them off a list, but at the time of writing this blog have visited 89 countries.

As a younger traveller I often volunteered whilst away & gained a valuable insight into the life & culture of countries. Amongst others, I’ve taught in the hill tribe schools of Chang Rai, Thailand; Supported CSE projects in Delhi, India; and supported leadership development in schools for hearing impaired children in The Gambia, Malaysia & Indonesia

Family brings a whole new dimension to travelling…fortunately @mottleyoconnor & our boys share my love of travel. Holidays are a great time to connect as a family & it is a totally different experience seeing the world through the lens of your own children.

Travel has provided a wonderful education for our children! Lessons have included:

  • Remaining calm when things don’t go to plan
  • Learning to haggle to secure the best prices for rooms & goods
  • Learning to budget for food, accommodation
  • Learning about the history, geography, languages, religions & cultures of our world
  • Learning to communicate & build relationships with others. Play provided an international language for our toddlers to interact with local kids…sport soon became the next stage in that language as the boys got older
  • We’re all PADI Advanced scuba-divers which provides a wonderful dimension to our travels. Dolphins, sharks, sea snakes & a multitude of fish on a coral reef provides a wonderful playground to explore together
  • All of our sons have become happy independent travellers who appear to be facing the challenges of life with gusto & confidence!

With only four years until our planned retirement, the phrase, ‘The journey is more important than the destination’, has taken on new meaning. Although we have great plans for those years, we also use the phrase ‘Living our happily ever after’ to explain that we are not waiting for a pot of gold at the end of the teaching rainbow, instead we continue to embrace our wanderlust, taking advantage of the time now as well as planning for the years of adventure stretching ahead!

Continually pursuing the holy grail of ‘balance’, I like to have the problem of squeezing work into the rest of my life. I’ve never regretted prioritising holidays & time with family &/or friends. I work hard to make it work.

@mottleyoconnor is a genius at securing great holiday deals. Here are a few of her top tips to bag a bargain:

  1. Register with the budget airlines for flight release dates – often the cheapest
  2. Untick all the additional charges that often appear on budget airline bookings – take a packed lunch, buy cheaper annual insurance etc
  3. Monitor accommodation bookings. If a price goes down, take advantage of free cancellation & then book again at the cheaper price
  4. Research your destination to find the free & cheap activities to give you more bang for your buck
  5. Don’t waste money on expensive transfers, make it part of the adventure. On this weekend break to Jersey, we included a £2 top deck bus ride with panoramic views as we transited from the airport to St Helier. Use GoogleMaps…it has bus stops on it.

My top 2 tips are:

  1. Prioritise your holiday & weekend plans as you do with your school work. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!
  2. Book early to avoid disappointment!
  3. Why not build your holiday plans around the wellbeing @teacher5aday principles? By focusing on #learn #connect #exercise #volunteer #notice you are more likely to support your own mental health & wellbeing

Remember: most people on their death bed don’t say that they regretted going on all of those holidays & enjoying all of that time with family & friends!

So whatever excites you, makes you happy or slows you down to recharge & refresh…make it happen!

In short, own your own wellbeing, prioritise what important to you & make it a reality #HappyHolidays

We have thousands of stories from our adventures. Here a few snippets to provide a flavour of our travels:

  • Being circled by swooping buzzards as we completed a gruelling 8 hour hill climb on a cycle tour of Croatia
  • Camping & surfing/boogie boarding in the South of France
  • A broken ankle in the jungle of Tikal, Guatemala, before being bitten on the same foot through the cast by a shark in Belize
  • Trekking through the jungle rainforests of Thailand, Cambodia, Honduras & Borneo
  • Camel trekking & sleeping under the stars in the Moroccan Sahara desert
  • Watching a meteor shower from beach of one of the Philippines 7000 islands
  • Swimming with what I believe is collectively known as a constellation of 12 whale sharks
  • Attending cooking school in Hoi An, Vietnam
  • Being the play thing for a pod of dolphins on a scuba-diving safety stop in Malaysia
Patrick Ottley-O’Connor
Collaborative Leadership Ltd
Tel: 07702 566372
Twitter: @ottleyoconnor


Over the next eight months details will be added to this page sharing the presenters and agenda for our 4th annual teaching and learning conference.

So far 75 teachers have taken up the challenge from last year and will be sharing their work on improving their practice based on the latest research and with outcomes as the starting point. The #teacher5aday themes have run through each event and this year I’m really looking forward to learning and connecting more than ever. I’m very pleased to announce that Sue Roffey will be delivering the keynote this year. Sue has pioneered work on well-being in both Australia and the UK and was one of the inspirations behind #teacher5aday.

Find out more about her work here http://www.sueroffey.com/

Smiling Sue - June 2014

Sue is a psychologist, academic, author, activist and speaker. She is Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Exeter and at the Western Sydney University, and also affiliated to the Wellbeing Institute at Cambridge University and University College, London. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.

Sue has spent much of the last seventeen years in Australia where she founded the Wellbeing Australia networkand developed the Aboriginal Girls Circle – a program for Indigenous young women, based in the Circle Solutions principles and pedagogy, which is proving to be an effective intervention for developing healthy relationships, resilience and student responsibility. She is now back in the UK where she is focused on the Growing Great Schools project to addresses whole child, whole school wellbeing – including the wellbeing of teachers.

Sue is in demand as an international speaker and consultant. She is a prolific writer and several of her books have been translated. Read Sue’s most recent blog on Wellbeing as Core School Business: What it Is and Why it Matters, and her article in the Guardian Education on the UK Report on Behaviour (15th Feb 2012).

A full list of her publications is here: Sue Roffey Publications

She is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a member of the Editorial Board of Educational and Child Psychology.

Follow Sue on Twitter: @SueRoffey

If you would like a ticket details are here


This year I have decided to charge £10 to reduce the impact of dropouts. Last year I turned people away as our school hall has a limited capacity and despite my best efforts we still had spaces left on the day. All donations will go to the school PTA who have bought kits for our sports teams with your kind donations over the past couple of years.

To see how things went last year look at the #Pedagoohampshire17 page here


and if you have any questions please get in touch.

Martyn @martynreah

Tracy Hotchin @tracy_hotchin #teacher5aday #pledge 2018

A review of my year… I have actually surprised myself by achieving much more than I thought I had, which was a pleasant realisation!

The problem of work/life balance doesn’t seem to get easier, however, my weekends are very precious to me and I try to avoid work impacting on them too much so that I can spend time with my family. Then there is a little slice of time for me, myself and I!


Anyway, here we go…2017 goals and evaluation

– to continue my exercise journey and try to cycle to work once a week #exercise

Oh dear! This did not happen, and has probably been the area I neglected the most, due to time and lack of motivation. However, I hurt my back at the end of the year, which was quite an eye opener as it has made me realise how important it is for me to stay fit. I am going to try to make more effort- honestly.

– to do some art- I love painting, drawing and scrapbooking and so would love to get back into this in some form #notice #connect

I managed to get back into drawing a little, painted something for my parents and I also travelled to London to see the Hockney exhibition which was brilliant!  I want to keep this hobby growing.

– be involved in #52books2017

I love to read and this definitely motivated me to read much more- I will be taking part in #52books2018. It has also developed my knowledge of children’s literature, which has impacted on my teaching and culture in my classroom

– to attend #PrimaryRocks  #learn #connect

This was a brilliant experience- quite surreal meeting Twitter people! I was fortunate to listen to Paul Dix, Chris Dyson and more.  I also attended ReadingRocks which was very inspirational and has definitely changed my teaching.

So …2018!

I want to continue to develop my love of art, and am seeking ways of developing this. #connect #learn

I will participate in #52books2018 and try to attend Reading Rocks again, hopefully taking along more members of staff to inspire.

I know my health and fitness is the biggest area to focus on- I need to ensure I eat healthily to nourish myself (especially in times of stress) and to also exercise more.


I love being outdoors, I find it very therapeutic, spending time with my family walking or having adventures. We now have a National Trust pass and I want to try and use this as much as we can. #exercise #notice

Finally, it is the year of a big birthday for me- and I do want to ensure I do something really special for it and embrace becoming 40!!!

I am looking forward to moving into 2018, I have #teacher5aday to thank for helping me rediscover hobbies and interests that sometimes get buried under school life.  It was lovely to host a day of #teacher5aday#calendar this December- Twitter is just such a brilliant community to be involved in. Happy new year!


#teacher5day #pledge 2018

It’s that time of year again when resolutions are made.

Is this year the chance to make a change to your work / life balance and improve your well-being?

Could #teacher5aday help you plan how you might spend more time looking after you?

Over two hundred teachers in the last three years have used the ideas to think differently about their return to the classroom in January.

Will you be next?

Based around the ideas in the New Economics “Five Ways to Well-Being” report included in the original #teacher5aday blog here http://wp.me/p4VbxY-6E you could follow the lead of other educators and pledge some more of your time for you to #connect #notice #learn #volunteer and #exercise in 2018.

Lots of teachers have also vlogged about their ideas about improving well-being here http://wp.me/p4VbxY-nW and you could also use some of the ideas about from the #teacher5aday journa17 here http://wp.me/p4VbxY-mG

Should you need any further more inspiration then the #teacher5aday pledges from 2017, 2016 and 2015 can be found here….




So far the following teachers have shared their ideas for 2018 below……

2018 #Teacher5aday #Pledge

Tracy Hotchin @tracy_hotchin


Bukky Yusuf @rondelle10_b


Becki Bowler @Beckib77


Chris Eyre #50isplenty @chris_eyre


Helen P @learnmesummat


Char @misscharteach


Miss Cloke @missclokePE


Hannah Wilson @TheHopefulHT


Mrs Clark @mrsclark_2


Ed Broadhurst @broadhurst


Bex N @BexN91


Lesley Munro @LesleyMunro4


Miss Davies @musicmissdavies


Roy Souter @Exe_Head


Mrs Humanities @MrsHumanities


and some 2017 Reviews are here …

Mrs Humanities @MrsHumanities

#Teacher5aday 2017 Reflection

Miss Davies‏ @musicmissdavies


Chris Navigator


Chris Sweetman @ChrisAFRIN


Values Education


Tash @NorthDevonTeach


Christine Couser @ChristineCouser


Mrs. M. Davidson @AllM14891126


Healthy regards for 2018,


p.s. don’t forget to check out the #teacher5aday YouTube Channel


#teacher5day #calendar

#Teacher5aday Calendar is back!

For the third year running your build up to Christmas can be filled with well-being goodness. All you have to do is get involved with the next set of #teacher5aday challenges over the course of December.

Following on from the amazing success of #teacher5aday #photo in November a fantastic array of #volunteers this year have offered to host a day each of the calendar building up to Christmas. They will each open a door of the calendar to reveal their challenge with the aim to get as many tweachers and teachers alike involved in something that will enhance their Christmas cheer.


Following in the footsteps of Tim Clark’s excellent brace of #calendars

2016 Calendar blog –

2015 Calendar blog-

the #teacher5aday team of Santa’s little helpers have listed their challenges below.

Your challenge should you choose to accept it is to take the #teacher5aday #calendar and place it somewhere prominent in your staff room. Each day print out the challenge so more teachers who are not on twitter can begin to understand that there are a growing number of colleagues around who understand that happy teachers + happy students = improved results.

If you want to participate on twitter as well, make sure you tweet a picture of you and your colleagues completing your daily challenge and remember to include the hashtags #teacher5aday and #calendar.

If you would like to get involved and co-host a day then please get in touch and if you would like to know anymore about #teacher5day check out the blogs below.

#teacher5aday #calendar 2017

Friday 1.12 – Patrick Ottley-O’Connor @ottleyoconnor – Share the calendar idea with everyone in your workplace #connect

Saturday 2.12 – Kathryn Morgan @KLMorgan_2 – Favourite childhood toy #notice

Sunday 3.12 Miss I @FootieFanMiss – Great outdoors #exercise

Monday 4.12 Kim Baker kim_baker917 – Share you favourite childhood memory – connect

Tuesday 5.12 Sam @samschoolstuff – enjoy your favourite meal #notice

Wednesday 6.12 Char @misscharteach – a little surprise #notice

Thursday 7.12 Rachel Atherton @AthersScience – Leave a note #connect

Friday 8.12 Jade Lewis-Jones @JLJbusinessed – Go for a walk / swim / cycle #exercise

Saturday 9.12  Tracy Hotchin @tracy_hotchin – Watch a festive movie with family / friends #connect

Sunday 10.12  BlondeBonce @blondebonce – Switch off completely from work #volunteer 

Monday 11.12 Ritesh Patel @Mr_Patel100 Have lunch with a member of staff you don’t work closely with 

Tuesday 12.12 ParentHub @ParentHub_UK – Explore a new website / app #learn

Wednesday 13.12 Emily LP @emily_slade – Go on a tour of your local Xmas lights #exercise 

Thursday 14.12 Roy Souter @Exe_Head – Concerts and Carols #connect

Friday 15.12 Matt Hickey @headhighwood – Christmas Jumpers #conncet

Saturday 16.12 @Behaviourteach – Do something for someone else #connect 

Sunday 17.12 Kerry Jordan-Daus @KerryJordanDaus  drinks on me #volunteer 

Monday 18.12 Helen P @leanrmesummat – Thank people who keep the school clean + tidy #notice

Tuesday 19.12 Julie Hunter @MsHMFL 10000 steps #exercise

Wednesday 20.12 Bernie @EnterpriseSBox  Spend quality time with someone special #connect 

Thursday 21.12 Jane Thistletwaite @Headstnicholas Don’t answer your emails or turn on your computer #connect 

Friday 22.12 Liz Allton @LizSaddler – What / Who has given you the sparkle to keep going until Xmas #notice

Saturday 23.12 Claire @@cj_m87 – indulgent treat #notice

Sunday 24.12 Hannah Banks @geog_nqt – Pre Christmas build up #connect


Wishing you all are Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



Looking forward to your #teahcer5aday #pledges in January and more contributions to the #teacher5aday YouTube channel …….




#teacher5aday #gentlejog 

I’ve been inspired by @fattymustrun to start an online running club for teachers this summer. With 6 weeks of fun ahead of us I wonder how many collective kms we could notch up and how much better we could feel as we return to work in September?

A few years ago I started the NHS couch to 5km programme and followed it to the letter.


As a footballer in a previous life I enjoyed a small amount of fitness but when pre season would come around I would dread the running sessions. I didn’t think I was built for running. The problem was I had never understood HOW to run. If I can follow the programme and teach myself to do it that I belive anyone can do it.

Roll forward a few years and I would now describe myself as a runner. I’m a fan of a gentle jog and have aimed for the last couple of years to get out 5 times a week for 30 minutes. Last year I enjoyed my best year to date notching up over 1200km in the year but this year since February I’ve had a variety of illnesses which have hindered my progress. So I need your help.

By joining in together with a group of teachers and forming this running club I’m hoping I will get back into my healthy habit inspired by Vivienne Porritt’s call to arms (at #Pedagoohampshire15) to focus on one thing and do it until it becomes a habit.

I’ve only focused on getting out and running for 30mins 5 times a week. I’ve not counted steps or checked out speeds just added the kms as I’ve gone along. I’m hoping this running club is going to develop in the same way. Celebrating people getting out and getting involved.

(the benefits of gentle jogs


There is no time like the present to get started so for the next couple of weeks I will try to get out 5 times each week before the holidays start. If I do 3 that’s better than none. I’ve learnt over the years not to be too hard on myself a skill which I’ve taken into my professional life as well.

If you’d like to join in then post a piccie of your feet and one of your view and include the hashtags #teacher5aday and #gentlejog.

Hope you can get involved.

Martyn (2fat2run)

Unconscious Bias: I am a white British man in my 50s, so of course I’m the headteacher! (Guest Post from Patrick Ottley-O’Connor @ottleyoconnor)

I guess that sounds pretty arrogant, but it is often the truth in our schools that someone with my profile is the person in charge. Google the word ‘Headteacher’ and you’ll see the majority of images that fit my profile; indeed I counted 200+ images before I saw a BAME leader!  In fact, I guess it is also the case in many organisations outside of education. When I visit other establishments wearing my headteacher uniform of suit, tie, cufflinks etc, I’m often mistaken for a doctor, manager or whatever title is given to the person in charge…at least until I open my mouth and they hear my broad Yorkshire accent!

I was not destined to become a headteacher.  I grew up in a small, predominantly ‘white’ mining village in South Yorkshire and despite not doing particularly well at school became the first in my family to go to university.  Most young people went on to the local college, where boys studied electrical or mechanical engineering for the pits and most girls studied admin or pre-nursing/caring courses.  As a caring 16-year-old lad, I bucked the trend (encouraged by my gorgeous parents) and followed the pre-nursing route.  This turned into PE teacher training on the basis of my early sporting talent and that was the start of my career.
I regard myself as a lucky leader. I’ve often used the following equation with students in assemblies:

Hard Work + Talent + Opportunity = Good Luck

Like many, I have always worked hard and demonstrated some talent, but appear to have benefited from more than my fair share of opportunities.  Why are some leaders luckier than others?  Is it that I have simply been given, created or seized more opportunities than others or could there be an unconscious bias working against non-white, non-male leaders?

There are plenty of hardworking & talented BAME leaders who, quite frankly, simply don’t seem to have the opportunity. Whether it is not offered or taken up, it remains an essential missing ingredient!

So why am I so passionate now about equality, inclusion & diversity? The short answer is – I don’t really know!  All I do know is that I’m now driven by a strong moral purpose to help transform the lives of the children who need it most.  Tapping into the woefully under represented talent pool of BAME leaders is currently a major missed opportunity for our profession. Any MAT, CEO, Governing Body & Headteacher that does not recognise and harness the untapped BAME talent is certainly missing real opportunities. 

I hold the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of everything I do and they shape all that I stand for. As a teacher of 30 years, a senior leader of 25 years, and a headteacher of 14 years in schools facing challenging contexts with high levels of disadvantage, I am committed to developing a teaching & leadership community which is representative of the groups that I serve.  To do this I need to recruit the best teachers and leaders. I always aim to make inclusion a reality within education. I Equally important is the need to grow & retain colleagues through enthusing, engaging and empowering them; coupled with nurturing & liberating leadership potential from all, through high quality CPD and appropriate opportunities.  

I welcome the challenge of enabling staff from all backgrounds to develop and excel in their roles. From ITT & NQT to MLT & SLT members, I aim to support every staff member to develop their potential and to promote leadership at every level.  I play my part in addressing underrepresentation of groups at senior levels and always strive to ensure that the school represents our diverse student population now, and into the future.  Does your organisation approach this opportunity with the same gusto?  If not, why not? What are the barriers?  Is it ‘just one of those things’ or could it be the unconscious bias of those in charge?

I suppose the very fact that I am who I am, coming from my own background; I will carry my own unconscious bias.  This alone makes the case for a diverse and inclusive leadership team.  We all come from our own perspective, fully loaded with our unconscious bias.  If I surrounded myself with ‘mini-me’ leaders, then our collective unconscious bias could manifest itself with unchecked bias. Although, as a Headteacher I need good support from my team – without equal challenge we would be in danger of becoming dysfunctional!

Twitter has really helped broaden my perspective and connects me with a diverse range of education professionals. I collaborate with and learn from the best national and international experts on inclusion & diversity.  I engage with programmes and professionals that support the ambition for inclusion & diversity.  I develop leaders and practitioners so they’re empowered to share learning about inclusion & diversity. I set extremely high standards around inclusion when recruiting staff and practitioners, and expect the same from any partner organisations that I collaborate with. I bring challenge to the wider system with regards to leadership for inclusion & diversity and engage with those at the forefront of developing new ways to inspire and bring about sustainable change on inclusion & diversity.

I believe that developing a diverse workforce within our schools is massively important. An increasing proportion of people that work in education are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background: despite this BAME colleagues are underrepresented, in particular at the highest levels of school leadership. I regularly hear of discrimination and even that many experience shocking levels of bullying and harassment. 

I believe that an explicit emphasis on inclusion & diversity, through leadership, will strengthen the experiences of colleagues and ultimately students, and therefore will help to transform the culture of our schools.

We all need to bring fresh thinking and approaches to inclusion & diversity to have any hope of impacting on leadership practice and behaviours. We should promote the importance of recognising and nurturing difference through a number of ways: including working in partnership to identify & celebrate the work of under-represented groups of BAME. 

The challenge is clear for all MATs, Governing Bodies and Headteachers: to embrace the opportunity by recognising and addressing unconscious bias to ensure that we harness the greatest possible talent and make a real difference for our learners.