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Focusing Minds

About Andy

Hi, I’m Andrew, director and school consultant here at Focusing Minds. My journey began as far back as 2005 where I initially helped out with football coaching sessions on a voluntary basis. Over time, this role developed into a junior management role and eventually led to a BSc (Hons) coaching degree in 2010 at the University of Huddersfield. Throughout the early years in my career, I developed a real passion for helping, supporting and educating children and young people, a passion which lives on strongly in me today!

I have been fortunate to undertake many roles in both the voluntary and education sector, each one equipping me with vital tools and experience to help deliver highly impactful work today. Throughout my career, I have developed a strong understanding of mental health and wellbeing, student performance, safeguarding and pastoral support through a variety of school-related work, to be able to offer well balanced and comprehensive support to young people and schools. Supplemented with some fantastic training opportunities, I am dedicated to offering those I work with a person centred approach and strongly believe in this being beneficial to developing lasting and successful relationships with young people and helping make a significant impact with any support they may need.

As a parent myself, I know only too well the difficulties facing our young people today. We only want what’s best for our children and it’s with that in mind I share with you a genuine compassion and desire to aim for positive outcomes for your child or your students. I truly believe that everyone is unique and the work I do with young people puts them at the heart of what we do – it gives them a voice and a real platform for self-reflection and personal development. I don’t see it as needing to be any more complicated than that; a young person who feels listened to, has an inner self confidence and feels in a comfortable place in respects to their wellbeing can go far and it’s part of my aim to help any young person get to that stage.

In a growing response to the rise in children and young people requiring some form of early support for mental health and wellbeing needs, I decided to establish Focusing Minds in a small way to help prevent young people progressing onto needing more complex support later in their childhood. With knowledge and experience of school life and systems, I’m also keen to ensure that young people have a voice and play their own part in improving circumstances, whether through personal development, gaining more of an insight into the impacts of their behaviour or coaching for motivation and it is on these elements that Focusing was born as both a private and education industry service provider.

About Lucy

Hi, I’m Lucy, associate at Focusing Minds.  Having been lucky enough to find school and academic study exceptionally rewarding and go on to study at university, I have worked in industry and for the World Health Organization overseas for several years.  Having seen the impact of poverty and injustice on some of the poorest communities in the world while working for the WHO, I decided to train as a teacher in 2005 and enrolled on the Citizenship PGCE at the Institute of Education in London.  I have been teaching in secondary schools in London and Bradford for 18 years, with four years in school leadership as an assistant principal in Bradford.  My passion is teaching Citizenship and PSHE and I have always taught Humanities subjects alongside these. 

I have been privileged to hold a wide range of middle leadership roles in schools including Teacher in charge of Citizenship GCSE, Joint Head of Classics, Head of Personal Development Studies, Head of Humanities, Head of Year and Research Lead. I have also in my four years as a senior leader held a range of posts including responsibility for teacher development and coaching, managing the exams and data department, Head of Key Stage Four and Designated Safeguarding Lead.  I have also line managed a range of subjects including PE, Humanities, Maths and MFL.  The breadth of experience this has given me means I am able to develop realistic, workable solutions to staff development, workload and wellbeing challenges which benefit both students and staff. 

I am particularly focused on helping students understand how their brain works and how to revise in time efficient ways that allow them the time to focus on their wellbeing and other passions such as sports, performing arts, and work experience.  

My work in the safeguarding and pastoral field has given me a deep understanding of mental health for students, staff and families, and this has been complemented by my personal experience of supporting a close relative through significant mental health challenges.  I firmly believe that we need to teach young people to recognise and understand when they or a friend or loved one is facing a mental health challenge, and where to seek the most appropriate type of help.  We also need to make sure our young people understand that the aim of mental health education is not to ensure they never experience a mental health issue, but that they understand what is happening if and when they do, and how to manage their emotions and experiences so they can work through whatever life brings rather than hiding away from challenging situations in fear of not being able to cope.  

I deliver balanced solutions to a range of issues schools may be navigating, and look forward to helping you by casting fresh eyes on the challenges your school community faces and finding practical ways forward that deliver real long term impact.

About Michelle

Hi, I’m Michelle, lead associate and training provider at Focusing Minds. With over 23 years in the education industry, I hold a career-long passion for training and development in both professional staff and young people. This has led to the opportunity for me to share extensive knowledge and experiences with staff from a variety of settings, including primary and secondary schools, specialist provisions and teacher training centres.

Throughout my career, I consider myself fortunate to have worked under headteachers who have held a firm belief in staff development being key to increased performance which gives young people the chance of better outcomes both personally and academically. With this backing, I have been able to invest heavily in my own professional development to enhance provisions for children and families. I am keen to deliver this extensive knowledge, along with my own experiences as a mother to two grown up children, to support parents and school staff alike with a range of training and support needs. This includes a range of parenting support, using Care for the Family – Time Out for Parents courses in a range of areas including primary and teenage years and handling anger in the family.

Since 2017, I have provided a range of services to schools and education providers too, including policy development, staff training and personal development. I’m keen to help your school with such requirements and provide policy development services including safeguarding, behaviour, inclusion, attendance, managing medical conditions and RHSE. Staff training includes safeguarding, engaging children and behaviour management, midday supervisor training and team building.

I passionately believe that, as educators, we should share good practice and over time, I have been able to develop resources to help young people unlock their potential. I’m pleased to be able to deliver specific and short-term student interventions to help young people develop their emotional literacy and improve self-regulation amongst other topics. Similarly, I am keen to support students with their own personal development using schemes of work to develop better self-esteem, self-management, social skills and transition support for Year 6 and 7s.

I thoroughly enjoy working in schools and supporting anyone facing any life challenges. I feel that keeping such a strong involvement with school communities helps ensure that my own practice and delivery remains relevant and also allows me to maintain a strong understanding of the challenges that schools, staff, students and their families face in today’s society.

I am incredibly welcoming and always happy to hold a discussion with anyone who may wish to discover more about the services I can offer. As is the Focusing Minds way, this is always a no-obligation discussion and there remains the opportunity to discuss bespoke support tailored to your school’s specific needs.