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James Hilton

James Hilton

The Resilience Factor

James is the acclaimed author of two books on teacher wellbeing and resilience: ‘Leading From the Edge’ (Bloomsbury 2016) and ‘Ten Traits of Resilience’ (Bloomsbury 2018). He explores leadership, resilience and stress management, weaving together personal anecdotes, practical strategies and research in sessions that are, in turn, optimistic, moving, humorous and always from the heart.

Work-related stress is one of the biggest causes of teacher absence and without doubt, one of the greatest barriers to the transformation of the education system that our country needs and the education our children deserve.

The pressures have been building for a while. Most people have higher targets than ever before, yet fewer people to help them. The result is that most people are working harder, for longer. Building a resilient workforce is key to the success of any school. James’ sessions are filled with scenarios and related strategies guaranteed to inspire and reassure.

James spent twenty-five years in teaching, and yes, that's more that you get for 'murder'. But he loved it, especially the fifteen years he spent in primary headship, where he was head of one of the largest primary schools in the UK.

Pragmatic and down to earth, James has extensive experience of leading though change. James was a consultant to the National College of School Leadership, where he was an adviser to The Director of Primary Leadership, as well as helping to shape the College's Leadership Development programmes. James works closely with the National Association of Headteachers and has been a keynote speaker at a number of their conferences including the opening speech at their three-day annual conference at the Echo Arena, Liverpool.

James’ clients include schools and universities, as well as the NHS, SKY, AstraZeneca, Gazprom Energy, Macmillian Cancer Support and The Local Government Association. James is also an associate speaker with 'Art of Brilliance', where he talks about positive psychology and how to be the best version of you.

James is available for keynotes and workshops.

Testimonials from Teachers

"It was brilliant. Really hit the spot, some staff said it was the best INSET they had been to. Staff were very positive and complimentary"

– Tony Lacey, CEO Oak Trees Multi Academy Trust

"He went down very well. All evaluations good or excellent."

– Geraldine Turton, Training and Development Manager, Royal Borough of Greenwich

"James is an inspirational speaker; He communicates with a rare honesty, humor and humility. He carries the authenticity of someone who has really been there, at the sharp end, which leaves you reflecting on his message long after the event."

– Richard Gerver, Speaker, Author and Broadcaster

"James delivers a difficult but important message with empathy, humor and authority...his message is a powerful one that resonates strongly with his audience. I recommend that James should deliver again at our annual Education Conferences."

– Bernadette Hunter, Past President NAHT

“I am certain that because of James' story my self-awareness and understanding of the pressures on others has improved to the extent where I will be a better leader because it."

– Vic Goddard, Principal of Passmores Academy (Channel 4’s Educating Essex)

“A case study in bouncebackability. James tackles stress head on. An honest and forthright account. Life saving and, even better, no bull.”

– Andy Cope, Author and Happiness Expert

"James told his story which immediately confirmed his credibility. He has been there. We had extremely positive feedback. Delegates felt that he had 'entered their world'. His humor, emotion and passion were singled out as positive elements but delegates also appreciated his challenging and robust delivery at key points."

– David Thomas, Organiser HEADSUP Conference

"The content was interesting, insightful and very thought provoking. James' delivery was excellent, a good mix of personal anecdotes and global research. I would have no hesitation in recommending James for an inspirational leadership presentation."

– Sue Clare, Head Teacher, Merefield Special School

“James is a breath of fresh air and his messages are so powerful. I defy anyone who hears James to not learn something new.”

– Anna Openshaw Lawrence, Vice Principal, North West London College

“I just wanted to say a great big thank you for a really fantastic and inspiring day, the feedback I have had has been extremely good.

– Karen Naik, Leeds Diocesan Heads Conference

“Thanks so much for your keynote at our conference. I don't know if you realise what an impression you made on us all? Your messages will go back to our schools and will make a difference, help to keep us healthy and to look after each other.”

– Carol Smith, Education Adviser, Lincolnshire Leadership Conference

“After listening to James at our annual conference I immediately knew I had to book him for school. Everything he said I could relate to as a headteacher but more importantly as a teacher in the classroom too. His stories made me laugh at times, reflect at times and also plan ahead.”

– Nicola Kearney, Executive Headteacher, Eaves Primary & Merton Bank Primary

"James was great, he was very engaging, thought provoking and very on point."

– Jo Littleman, Programmes & Partnership Manager, REAch2 Multi Academy Trust​

"The session was well received by staff. They appreciated James’s candour and honesty. Always harder to engage if you’re not there in person, but he managed well."

– Steve Smith, Sherborne Area Schools Trust

Speaker File




  • Primary
  • Lifestyle
  • Well-being
  • Teacher CPD
  • Mental Health
  • Conference
  • Happiness

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