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Simon Breakspear - SimonBreakspear. Sydney, NSW, AU

Simon Breakspear Simon Breakspear



A Leading Thinker on Educational Futures, Innovation for Learning and Change Leadership





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Simon is recognised internationally as a leading thinker on educational futures, innovation and change leadership. As an educational researcher, consultant and acclaimed keynote speaker, Simon works with school and system leaders to challenge the status quo, inspire fresh thinking and leverage new solutions in order to radically improve learning.

Simon is the co-author of “Talent Magnets” (2008) a highly practical and acclaimed white paper on attracting, retaining and developing quality teachers. He is also the founder and curator of the Global Educational Emerging Leaders Summit, which seeks to incubate the next-generation of educational change-agents.

Simon holds a first class honours degree in Psychology, a Bachelor of Teaching and a MSc. in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford, which he completed as a Commonwealth Scholar. He is currently a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge, UK. Simon’s research and work with cutting-edge conferences internationally has equipped him with an understanding of both the trends impacting education and the practices of the highest-performing schools and education systems globally. He has also worked with the PISA team at the OECD in Paris investigating international comparisons of school system performance globally.

Simon has worked extensively to help school and system leaders understand the need to create innovative, collaborative, inspiring and challenging school cultures in order to retain talented teachers, train future leaders and deliver improved educational outcomes in the 21st Century. He has delivered presentations to over 30,000 people globally and has worked with clients across all sectors of education – early childhood, school, vocational and tertiary.

Simon is a passionate educator. After successfully completing a year of Medicine at UNSW, Simon left to pursue a career engaging and investing in young people through education. Whilst completing his undergraduate degree in Psychology, Simon spoke to students across Australia on the areas of leadership, independent learning and success in the global labor market. He also co-authored the student book Equip – skills, strategies and mindsets for student success. Before embarking on his postgraduate work, Simon taught at a city school in Sydney and at 24 held the position of Year 12 Coordinator.

Simon is fortunate to divide his time between the two wonderful cities of Sydney, Australia and Cambridge, UK.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (7)

Educational Futures

Education Global Next-Practice


Educational Innovation

Teacher Talent

Future Thinking


Sample Talks (4)

Unleashing Teacher Talent

How to attract, develop and leverage incredible teachers and emerging school leaders. The quality of a school or system can never rise above the talent and engagements of its teachers and leaders. Unfortunately, young talented teachers are rapidly leaving the sector and many experienced educators feel uninspired and like they are ‘going through the motions.’ Courageous and innovative leadership is required to make education a career of choice for the best and brightest. Ask yourself: 1. What qualities define the talented teacher and educational leader of the future? 2. What workplace culture and leadership will attract and engage that talent? 3. What can leaders do to reinvigorate and inspire their teams to innovate learning and improve performance? Unleashing Teacher Talent will open your mind to a new paradigm of leadership and organisational improvement that seeks to effectively harness the skills and aspirations of talented educators. In essence, you will learn how to turn your school, department or centre into a Talent Magnet: a workplace where incredible people come to build their careers. Key concepts include: * Expose the entrenched school cultures that drive your talented Gen Y staff to leave or disengage. * Unpack global trends on workplace motivation and employee expectations. * Examine the 5-Core elements of a ‘Talent Culture.’ * Outline tactical strategies to reinvent your organisational culture and reinvigorate your staff. * Showcase global examples of innovative workplace design from education, non-profits and business. * Help you to strategically attract the next generation of talent to your school and develop your own leadership pipeline. * Outline how to revolutionise your in-house CPD * Examine future-focused strategies for leading multi-generational teams.

Leading Educational Innovation

How school and system leaders can cultivate and harness creative solutions in order to radically improve student learning. We need to bring fresh energy and new ideas to the educational challenges we face. The shift from good to great schools and systems – of broad equity and ever increasing quality – will not emerge from further prescription and mandates from the ‘top of the hierarchy’. They must be unleashed through the ingenuity, and bottom-up innovation of talented staff. Yet, ideas only flourish in certain environments. Education leaders, at all levels, must cultivate a culture of innovation and seek to scale-up best practice for system-wide transformation. This provocative workshop will: * Expose the global forces that are up-ending the dominant schooling model and explore the moral imperative for innovative change. * Highlight the limits of further prescription and accountability for system improvement and the need for teachers to become ‘knowledge workers.’ * Outline how to build a culture that cultivates fresh ideas, facilitates interdisciplinary thinking and unleashes the ‘left-hand side of the curve’ * Explore lessons from disruptive innovation in education, business and healthcare. * Make the case to strategically develop social capital in order to build system capacity, spread ideas and scale-up best-practice. * Inspire you by case studies of what high-performing schools and school systems are doing to stimulate & leverage innovative educational solutions. * Identify the powerful new roles for leaders at both school and system levels.


Creative strategies to innovate learning and lead future-focused educational change (for those who ‘already believe’). Do you think it is time for leaders to challenge the status quo, embrace fresh thinking and adapt for the future? The thinking and practices of educational leadership that have secured improvement in the past will not be sufficient for the challenges of the future. To keep pace with a rapidly shifting, globalised world, C21st educational leaders must adopt flexible mindsets and develop the competencies to make change happen. EDUpreneurship represents an action-oriented and solution-focused philosophy of educational leadership that seeks to break free from ‘schooling-as-usual’. As courageous leaders, at all levels, step into EDUpreneurship they seek to embrace change, think counter-intuitively and execute on innovative solutions to improve student learning. Takeaways include: * Inspire you to take intelligent risks and develop a ‘propensity towards action’ * Deliver a disproportionate impact on learning improvement through harnessing the concept of human-centered design. * Unashamedly seek out disruptive innovations to transform education * Scale-up your impact through creating vibrant networks and leveraging peer-collaboration. * Massively accelerate your development through tapping into the world’s leading thinkers on educational change. * Open up the demand-side of learning and enlist students as co-creators and designers. * Learn how leading EDUpreneurs from around the world are challenging the status quo and creating engaged student learning like never before.

Future Thinking

Exploring educational futures and global next-practice in order to reimagine schooling and unleash learning. Are you looking to exploit the opportunities that new models may provide for student engagement and deep learning? Many schools seem stuck in an industrial-era paradigm of learning that is completely inadequate for preparing students for life and work in the 21st century. It is time to rethink, reimagine and redesign our schooling system. Drawing on the most cutting-edge practices globally, we will explore how leaders can drive a transition from Education 2.0 towards Education 3.0. The central takeaways include: * Expose the cultural norms that maintain the status quo and push you to strategically seek out new ideas and perspectives. * Rethink outdated assumptions about intelligence, learning & human development * Open your mind to the most cutting-edge practices globally for innovating learning and draw out lessons for your own context * Unpack the essential shifts from Education 2.0 to Education 3.0 * Provide practical strategies to personalise learning and engage students through demand-driven pedagogy


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