Neil Harris and Judith Tolhurst complete a hugely successful six-week project coaching Year Six children in the run up to SATs

Neil and Judith visited 5 primary schools in North Somerset to work with both groups and individuals, holding 6 40-minute coaching sessions. The sessions were activity based with a coaching theme, aiming to get the pupils in a positive mind-set for their SATs and to focus on what they needed to do in the months preceding the tests. As you can see from what the children themselves have said they found the sessions very useful. The sessions boosted their confidence and focussed their minds on what they needed to practice in the weeks leading up to their tests.

Here’s what the children had to say:

Stop Press: Working With High-Impact Families In North Somerset

Coaching for Progress is delighted to announce a new and very exciting venture in partnership with North Somerset Council. North Somerset have chosen to adopt our training programme, model and approach in order to train, develop and support the new team of North Somerset ‘Family Coaches’ in supporting the areas most troubled families.


The ‘Family Coach’ role is focused on engaging with family members in a positive and supportive way and helping them move forward purposefully to achieve their own success. With effect from May we will be delivering all aspects of training, professional development and networking to support this team.


This is the latest development in our growing portfolio of work which now extends beyond education into social care, health and the corporate sector.


Please contact us to find out more about the services our growing team of trainers can offer you.

Coaching for Progress – Working with Infants

We wanted to know if coaching with infants works. After a four month project at an outstanding school in North Somerset, we can say hand on heart, it does! Please read Judith’s report on our work with Yatton Infant School, North Somerset, which includes the stories of two teachers, Polly and Sarah, who trained with us and then went back to school and made a big difference!


Coaching for progress with Infants

We have often thought that the C4P model would work with infants and luckily we have had the chance to try it out. Two teachers Polly Beynon and Sarah Croft from Yatton Infant School in North Somerset came on our training course and then we had the opportunity to into their school for 8 fortnightly sessions to work with two groups and six individual Year One pupils.


The good news is that it worked like a dream and provided us with many opportunities to extend our skills and activities and adapt them for the infant age range.


Here’s a quote from one of the teachers, Sarah:


I really feel that the children are walking away from these sessions more empowered to create their own successes in their work. They clearly know how to move themselves forward and have started to put this into action in their work. The children have understood the need to set targets and move forward and were/are always keen to head for the green spot. The children have learnt to be active learners that are focussed on working hard to meet their target. Some of the children that have attended these sessions were once passive learners and have now moved on to become more independent and willing to have a go.

Each session was planned to follow the C4P model with a rapport building starter to relax the children and get them talking. That was followed by some time spent recapping on their targets from the week before. The final part of the session was devoted to working on new targets.


What we learned was that the younger the children the more props you need and with this in mind we used teddies, stickers and Mr Men playing cards to make the sessions as fun as possible.


One of the most successful tools we used was the red amber green circles (the traffic lights). The children would say their targets and then step onto the red amber and green circles and visualise what the target would look like if it was red, amber or green.


This is what Sarah said about the traffic lights:


The red, amber and green spots were such a great tool for the children to clearly visualise where they are now and what they need to do to get to the next stage. They could talk about what the green, amber and red spots looks like to do with their target and realistically place themselves where they believe they are.

Both teachers felt that the questioning skills they had learned on the course had positively affected their classroom practice:


The use of the effective questioning has allowed the children to be extremely reflective and it has been lovely to hear such detailed responses from children so young! – Polly Beynon.

One of the visual props we used was C4P’s own cartoon character Mr Mighty Brain. We used this to try and instil into the children a growth mindset so that they would value learning and time spent practicing towards their targets.


Polly said:


Mr Mighty Brain is a winner!  Having something visual has helped them. Getting the children to link him to how they use their mighty brain has again helped them know what they need to do to learn and achieve their targets.

Another valuable activity in one of the group sessions was the composition of the “Good work recipe”. The children were asked to think about what the magic ingredients were for a piece of good work. The children then self-assessed their work against the recipe. Sarah then made this as a visual reminder for the classroom and see below for the results.


We use the good work recipe in the classroom with all the children and created our own pot for display. The children then look at this for each session and I ask them what they will use from the recipe to help them create a good piece of work, they are very enthusiastic to say ‘I am using head down.’ ‘ I am going to concentrate.’ We are really enjoying using this for each session and the language is embedded in. – Sarah.

Finally in the last session we asked the children for their own evaluation of the sessions. The level of sophistication in their language was stunning and they were truly able to reflect on their learning.


T said:


I liked the traffic lights best because it helped me think about my next steps.

So what was the added value of holding the 8 sessions? That is best answered by Sarah and Polly:


I have changed the style of my questioning, both during class inputs and working one to one with the children – I ask questions that promote independent learning. The children are becoming capable at thinking for themselves and solving their own problems; therefore getting out of the habit of forming a queue

Setting and revisiting targets during the sessions has helped the children focus on what they need to do, (they are so involved in their own learning journey, again is great to see in such young children.

For more details of how C4P with infants could work in your school please contact Judith or Neil:

Telephone: 07733 140232

You can download this report here

Summer Schools Programme for Disadvantaged Pupils

Secondary schools can now apply for the second year of the Summer Schools Programme for disadvantaged pupils. The programme, which makes £50 million available from the Pupil Premium, allows schools to offer a one or two week summer schools for disadvantaged pupils moving into Year 7 in September 2013. This extra support will ensure pupils are well-equipped to start school in September and ready to learn.


Over 1,700 schools took part in the programme in 2012: 94 % of those surveyed said their summer school was a success and 95 % said they would take part again.


For further details please visit:


Coaching for Progress offers a range of packages that could support schools in delivering an effective Summer Schools Programme. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

New Education Endowment Fund Toolkit Lists: Feedback, Meta Cognition & Self Regulation and Peer Tutoring as the Highest Impact Strategies for Raising Attainment

Coaching for Progress are delighted to see the findings of the revised pupil Premium toolkit that has just been released by the EEF. The Toolkit considers which strategies are the most effective at improving outcomes for Pupil Premium pupils.
The top 3 are:

  1. 1) Feedback:
    Feedback is information given to the learner and/or the teacher about the learner’s performance relative to learning goals. It should aim to (and be capable of) producing improvement in students’ learning. Feedback redirects or refocuses either the teacher’s or the learner’s actions to achieve a goal by aligning effort and activity with an outcome.
    Coaching for Progress is all about pupils working actively towards their goals and how they use feedback to improve their performance.
  2. 2) Meta-cognitive and self-regulation:
    Meta-cognitive and self-regulation strategies (sometimes known as ‘learning to learn’ strategies) are teaching approaches which make learners think about learning more explicitly. This is usually by teaching pupils specific strategies to set goals, monitor and evaluate their own learning.
    Coaching for Progress is all about helping pupils thinking more carefully about themselves as learners. Our training is designed to help pupils set meaningful learning goals and then evaluate their own progress towards achieving these goals.
  3. 3) Peer Tutoring:
    A range of approaches in which learners work in pairs or small groups to provide each other with explicit teaching support. In cross-age tutoring an older learner takes the tutoring role and is paired with a younger tutee or tutees.
    Coaching for Progress offers training for pupils to help them develop these skills effectively.

All the evidence backs up the work we do, Coaching for Progress offers improved outcomes for pupils based on evidence based research.

Increased OFSTED focus on use of Pupil Premium Funding & Year 7 Catch-Up Premium

In his recent letter to all schools Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, has announced that with effect from 25th February 2013, OFSTED will be reporting specifically on the performance of pupils supported through the Pupil Premium, compared to all other pupils in the school.


He has also announced that inspectors will scrutinise schools’ own assessment data and evaluate the progress made by those pupils eligible for the Year 7 Catch-Up Premium that was recently launched. See here for more information.


This means schools need to be very clear about how they are using this funding and the impact it is having on pupil progress. Coaching for Progress improves academic outcomes for Pupil Premium pupils and can support underachieving Year 7 pupils to make accelerated progress and you can use these funding streams to access support from us.

Recognition for Coaching for Progress by the Association of Coaching

Coaching for Progress are proud to announce that their courses have now been officially recognised by The Association of Coaching. This means that The Association of Coaching are impressed by the quality and rigour of our courses and have given us their seal of approval. This is great news for our course delegates because it enables them to apply to be an accredited coach once they have successfully completed one of our courses.

Coaching For Progress 2 Day Training Programme

Day 1: Friday 18th January 2013
Day 2: Friday 15th March 2013
Location: Nailsea School Conference Room, Nailsea School, North Somerset


Judith and Neil will be delivering the very popular two day version of their ‘Coaching for Progress’ training again, beginning in January 2013. Places are very limited. If you would like to take advantage of this exciting opportunity please contact us to reserve your place. Cost £250 per delegate. Cost includes lunch, refreshments and a copy of Judith’s latest book ‘The essential guide to Coaching and Mentoring’.

Euro Coach List Annual Conference 2012

Date: 24th – 25th November
Location: Eastwood Park, Gloucestershire GL12 8DA, UK

Judith and Neil are delighted to be appearing at this years conference and sharing the stage with some amazing people including Sir John Whitmore and Professor David Clutterbuck. Their ‘Coaching for Progress’ workshop will take place on the Saturday afternoon. For further details please follow the link: