John-Paul Flintoff

Speaking in schools 1

How to change the world: what can one person do?

North London Collegiate School recently came top of the national exam tables (again). The girls here are very bright, and much is expected of them.

I came to talk, at the opening of the new school year, to Years 11, 12 and 13 about How To Change The World: What can one person do?

I started by asking: if you had the chance, would you change the world? There was long silence, then a few voices called out yes. I asked for a show of hands. Pretty well everybody put their hands up. I said, keep your hand up if you know how you would like to change the world…

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Speaking in schools 2

Above: with pupils at Methodist College, Belfast

Improvisation workshop, Dundonald High School

There was quite a lot of awkwardness / resistance at first. But by the end everybody seemed to be trying things they’d never done before.

Speaking in schools 3

How much do you earn? And other questions

I did a talk at an inner-city school, arranged by Speakers for Schools – set up by my former FT colleague Robert Peston, to serve schools that haven’t tended to attract many speakers in the past.

Typically, these events involve big audiences who don’t give a toss who I am, and don’t mind whispering and sniggering if I lose them. And that’s a wonderful challenge for me.

At this particular school, there were 200 or so 15 year olds who had no idea who I am – because the teacher who invited me was off sick. The other staff knew little about me either. A blank canvas!

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