New Year – New opportunities

It has been quite a year!

Covid-19 hit me in unexpected and unanticipated ways: the health of family and loved-ons unaffected, but the huge delays to international projects, the unbelievable pressures placed on school leaders to manage impossible conflicting demands and the lack of capacity to do much else led to an inevitability… Achievement for All, primarily funded through training and coaching education settings, ran out of cash and fell into administration (see

I pivoted quickly back to self-employed status, updating my SCiP5 website (hope you like it), exploring new opportunities with old trusted partners like ICAM, AYM, Teaching Times, Emotion Coaching UK, and planning a pathway into 2022 as a hired gun.

Well, even this hasn’t gone to plan!

Absolutely delighted to announce that I am starting a new career pathway as Head of Education for Microlink with Nasser Siabi OBE I hope to contribute to their worldwide ambition to remove barriers to living working and learning whatever the cause, be it disabled by condition or disabled by circumstance. I cannot think of a better place to be.

And I can still plan to:

Complete the international projects begun with the ICAM (Including Children Affected by Migration) partnership

Explore and establish a new home for the Youth Justice SEND Quality Awards

Complete the Child First research and investigation work that was begun this year

Continue to develop my Emotion Coaching skills and training packages

Happy New Year everyone!

EuroChild ICAMnet Webinar

Here is a video of the webinar:

On 18 November, we hosted an incredible pan-European webinar- there were over 1100 international sign-ups! The contributions were superb, the arguments compelling.

#EqualChances4All #webinar #education #wellbeing

What role does the # EU play in fulfilling children’s rights to education 📚? The deputies Ilana Cicurel, Victor Negrescu and Antonio López-Istúriz White to answer this question.

Marius Frank ACCESophia Consorzio ICARO Eurochild Ilana Cicurel Victor NEGRESCU IMMERSE_H2020 Carles López Picó Dr. Ally Dunhill Ciaran O’Donnell Plataforma de Infancia (España) Save the Children Italia #ERASMUS #EACEA #CONSORZIOICARO

Education – A gateway to well-being for children

Since the demise of Achievement for All, I am delighted that my European colleagues would like me to continue to work in partnership with them to develop and promote the ICAM Programmes.

Our next webinar is on Thursday 18th November 2021.

“In this webinar, Eurochild and its partners in the Including Children Affected by Migration (ICAM) Programme will bring together European policy and political decision-makers, and share innovative education practices that examine how to overcome the devastating impact of COVID-19 on children’s rights to education and fair access to learning.

Join us for this critical conversation on the role of education for ensuring children’s rights as we mark the 32nd anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

With the EU prioritising ‘school success’ and catalysing investment in early childhood education and school (through the Child Guarantee and the European Education Area), this webinar will be a timely discussion to shine a spotlight on innovative solutions that can help children in the most vulnerable situations and put a brake on the education inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic.

Interventions will include perspectives from education and civil society across four countries – Italy, Romania, Spain and the UK, and EU perspectives, including invited Members of European Parliament.”

Exciting times

Learning the lessons from Punishing Abuse

I will be in conversation with Dr Alex Chard (Author of “Punishing Abuse” ) on the collision between poverty and education outcomes. Also featuring Alex in conversation with Polly Neate CBE (Chief Exec of Shelter) Wendy Tomlinson (Youth Custody Service) and Sarah Hughes (CEO Centre for Mental Health). This webinar has certainly caught the hearts and minds of many, with 750 sign-ups already!

Thank you Sarah Leon for putting this together

Register here:

International Gateway to Wellbeing Webinar

18 November 2021

Registrations are open for Eurochild/ICAMnet’s upcoming webinar on overcoming the devastating impact of COVID-19 on children’s rights to education.

I am delighted to be contributing to this event.

During our webinar, “Education – A gateway to well-being for all children: How the school community can (re)build social & emotional well-being”, we are bringing together political representatives, policymakers, school leaders, civil society organisations and teachers to share innovative education practices that offer solutions to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on children’s rights to education and fair access to learning.

Interventions will include perspectives from education and civil society across four countries – Italy, Romania, Spain and the UK. We will also hear from Members of the European Parliament – MEP Antonio López-Istúriz White (Spain) from the European People’s Party; MEP Victor Negrescu (Romania) from the Socialists & Democrats; and MEP Ilana Cicurel (France) from the Renew Group.

With the EU prioritising ‘school success’ and catalysing investment in early childhood education and school through the Child Guarantee and the European Education Area, this webinar is a timely opportunity to shine a spotlight on innovative solutions that put a brake on the education inequalities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, visit the webpage of the event:

Should you have any queries, please contact Ciaran O’Donnell from the Eurochild Secretariat & ICAM Partnership at

Register for our webinar by clicking on this link:

Finally, you can follow the online discussions for this event on Eurochild’s Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin feeds & join in the discussions with the #EqualChances4All.

Re-sharing this post with colleagues, partners and allies in the field of education is warmly welcomed and appreciated.

Many thanks and kind regards,


ICAMnet at WABF 2021 Stockholm

Delighted to be running a workshop at the World AntiBullying Forum today. It is a privilege to be able to share a suite of outstanding materials aimed at building social and emotional resilience to radicalisation, grooming and online bullying.

The #ICAMnet (Including Children Affected by Migration) international partnership offers these resources free to any teacher, school or cluster/region who wishes to put them to good use.

Please get in touch if you want to know more Ciaran O’Donnell Gonzalo SantamariaVINCENZO GRIFFO#OnlineGrooming#Cyberbullying#Radicalisation#ICAMnetPartnership

Bye bye Achievement for All – it’s been a wonderful eight years…

It is with great sadness that I move on from Achievement for All today.

The pandemic has put intolerable strain on charities such as AfA that reply totally on their services being bought, commissioned or supported through charitable grants and giving… in the case of AFA, the income was weighted heavily on engaging with schools. With little tangible engagement with schools through 2020 and into 2021 because of lockdown, and the Covid imperatives, it apparently came down to a simple cashflow decision.

The saddest aspect of this failure is that business was picking up rapidly… schools realising that what we had to offer was something special, something that would play a major role in reigniting learning and learning relationships post-pandemic.

So, bye bye Achievement for All. To the colleagues and friends I made… you are a truly awesome group of individuals: child-centred to a “T”, helping settings to engage and re-engage with the hardest to reach children and families. Many consultants and “experts” shy away from this education battleground: you collectively shout “BRING – IT -ON!”

I intend to use my acquired knowledge experience and skills through so please do get it touch if you think I could be of service… and if I cannot, I now have a contact book of consumate professionals who undoubtedly can,


BANES Race Panel up the running

Around Christmas time, I volunteered to be a member of the new Bath and North East Somerset Race Panel, set up in response to the emergence of the Black Lives Matter social movement. It’s taken a while to get going, but we now have agreed a direction of travel.

Bath is a world heritage site: one of our first tasks is to bring into focus some aspects of Bath’s uncomfortable links to wealth generated by the slave trade.

We have agreed our own Terms of Reference, to set a moral and social compass point to guide our path.

Small steps, but we are on our way.

Please support the rebirth of performing arts

On Sunday 6th June, my wife and music-making partner Cindy and I have our first concert for nearly eighteen months.

The impact of Covid-19 lockdown on performance artists has been profound. Whereas some in the arts might have benefited from a degree of furlough payments, many have struggled to cope, financially and emotionally.

As the world awakens again, please support the performance arts to reawaken too. Take the time to scan small local venue listings for their upcoming offers; commit to buying tickets in advance; go down to your local and support live music-making again.

Music can make you happy… that goes for the performer too! Thank you!