LM People

Alistair Smith

Leadership Coach, Leadership Trainer, Leadership Key Note

I have unique experience of working in and across education and development. I’ve supported professional development programmes, conferences, in-service events and keynotes in Schools and Colleges in every Local Authority in the UK. I’ve done so on over 1,700 occasions and I’m still counting. I hope I do so with energy, originality and insight.

Each piece of work I do is discussed, researched and prepared for in detail. No two contexts are ever the same. I would typically spend more time preparing than delivering. As a consequence I have formed professional relationships with schools, school leaders and teaching teams which have endured. In a number of instances for over twenty years! I get asked back!


Specialist Area

  • Improving Learning and Teaching
  • Leadership
  • High performing organisations
  • Improving schools through building and sustaining trust


My history

I had a very different life before I trained as a teacher. Labouring on construction sites, a quarry and a factory floor gives perspective – and in the ‘darker’ days helps you be resilient.

My ‘career’ in education started in my late twenties with work in a large city comprehensive, then in schools in a northern seaside resort, then to the South West of England. By the time I chose to become self-employed I had worked for or with clusters of secondary schools, different types of residential and non-residential Special Schools and a PRU. I had experience as a classroom teacher, an Advisory Teacher teaching in different Blackpool Schools and an Advisor supporting schools in and around Bristol.

I wrote a book on learning over twenty years ago which, in the days before social media, became a best seller. It was successful in part because it was written by a teacher and focused on linking learning theory to practice. It’s dated now – though the accelerated learning ‘cycle’ has endured. I subsequently wrote eight more on very different topics which interested me: cognitive science and learning, accelerated learning, well-being and happiness, parenting, coaching, and high-performing schools. My consultancy work has drawn on the research behind each of these books.

The consultancy I offer and the keynotes I provide are always bespoke. I focus on what I know drawn from my understanding of relevant research and the hundreds of schools and many high performing organisations to which I have had access.

I never trained as an Ofsted Inspector; I’m not about to. In over twenty years I’ve never put a slide up which mentions Ofsted. I’m not an academic, a blogger, a committee person or any sort of guru but I do take great pride in forming a relationship, doing a good job and seeing it through.

My contact information

Email: [email protected]
Website: www.alistairsmithlearning.com
Twitter: @alatalite
Linked In: Alistair Smith


Alistair spent time between October 2017 and July 2018 helping us raise teaching staff awareness of issues around pupil engagement and motivation. He took part in leadership and staff meetings, interviewed pupils, created a pupil engagement profile which we then used with all of Year 8 and 10, observed lessons then used what he had found to shape in-service for all staff. He was really helpful to us. His final report pinpointed things we can actually work on. The staff liked his attention to detail. Things are improving and he’s been a big part of that.

Chris Thomlinson
Executive Head Teacher, Harris Academy St Johns Wood

Alistair worked with us on our 2018 Richmond and Kingston Head Teacher conference on What School Leaders can learn from High Performing Organisations. I’ve known Alistair and his work for many years. He was instrumental to my thinking in my early career. As ever his session was insightful, thought provoking and great fun. He can be trusted to create a great learning environment.

Maggie Bailey
Headteacher of Grey Court School and CEO of the Every Child, Every Day Academy Trust

We have an ambitious project within our Trust to create an entitlement curriculum across our schools each of which is at a different stage in their journey. Alistair helped the group and helped me to create something practical and workable and we were able to do it quickly. He has been great to work with especially on tricky issues like curriculum planning and assessment. He is able to cut through the waffle and get to the core issues quickly. He has brought experience and gravitas to our team who will be good ambassadors back in their schools. We are fired up!

Samantha McMonagle
School Improvement Leader, Central RSA Academies Trust