Communication Workshops for hire

About Us

Talk The Talk firmly believe that oracy is the foundation of literacy


About Us

Talk The Talk is a charity providing staff and students with a range of practical oracy workshops. Our workshops hone skills and support a consistent approach being employed in all subjects throughout your school.

Talk The Talk was set up in 2013 by John Bothamley, founder of grant making trust Four Acre Trust. Four Acre Trust has funded many projects helping to give children a better start in life. In 2013, concerned that many children were unable to communicate confidently, he established Talk The Talk, inspiring children to express themselves verbally.

With professional trainers, in real time, challenging children to listen and speak up – his hope is for a new generation of articulate confident young people.

Who we are

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Richard Hull
Director

Richard has been working within Theatre and Education for over a decade with young people throughout the UK, USA and Switzerland. He has taught English and Drama in Secondary Schools in Wales and the Swiss International system.

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Mark Farmer
Schools Liaison Director (South Wales & Southern England)

Mark works to establish contacts with schools in South and Mid Wales and Southern England conveying the benefits of Talk The Talk. He has over twenty years experience in business, logistics and event management.

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Richard Edkins
Schools Liaison Director (Midlands)

Richard has been working within the education sector since 2009. With experience of both teaching in UK schools and account management for a global education company, Richard now works to support schools in the Midlands with their Talk The Talk programmes.

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Michael Doody
Schools Liaison Director (Northern England)

Prior to joining Talk The Talk, Mike was a teacher for 11 years. He has worked in Comprehensive, Academy, Catholic and Private educational sectors, in various teaching and management roles.

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June Horton
Administrator

June manages all our bookings, trainers and finances for Talk The Talk. Prior to working with us, she has worked within administration and human resources for Marie Curie Cancer Care, English Churches Housing Group and Merit Direct.

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Sally Rhydderch
Programme Administrator

Sally manages the programme bookings for Talk The Talk. Having spent much of her later childhood abroad, she has remained in Herefordshire since returning and has experience of working in the areas of HR, Event Management and Marketing. Before joining Talk The Talk, Sally worked for leadership development company, The Leadership Trust and also Wyvern Business Systems.

Evaluation and Impact

Talk The Talk are proud of the impact our workshops have on students but we understand the importance of accurate evaluations, that is why we produce an annual impact report showing the latest data and also evaluations of our workshops from education professionals.

Evaluation from Professor John MacBeath – University of Cambridge

“The Inspiration of Talking The Talk Anyone can talk, and talk, and you need only spend five minutes on a bus or a train to eavesdrop on people having what is mistakenly termed a ‘conversation’. To converse requires an ability to engage with the other person, to enter into their frame of reference, to find meaning, so that responding builds on what has been said and what has been accurately heard.

This does not preclude disagreement but it does require a form of disagreeing, which demonstrates that one has tuned into what was actually said. Psychologists talk about the three components of dialogue – content, meaning and feeling. Accurate recall of the content is an essential start but getting the meaning for that person (in their frame of reference) is more challenging while tuning into the feeling behind the words is what we know as ‘empathic’ listening. Listening, the essential premise of the Talk The Talk programme lays the foundation for a quality of talk marked by forethought and confidence, a sense of audience and an enriched vocabulary. Expanding one’s verbal repertoire is both the seed of social growth and the engine of intelligence. It is worth reflecting on an absolutely key idea at the heart of the Talk The Talk programme – “You can’t say what you can’t think and you can’t write what you can’t say”.

The programme builds on, and is informed by, decades of research into language and intelligence. We now understand the essential connections between words and ideas, between language and self-belief. The sociologist Basil Bernstein described what he called ‘restricted’ and ‘elaborated’ codes, the latter describing the kind of language you meet in classrooms.

A pupil’s ability is ‘restricted’ when he or she lacks the confidence or vocabulary to engage with what is being taught, so disenfranchising young people who lack the conceptual repertoire to engage with the classroom discourse.

He or she will then ‘hide’ mentally and even physically. How young people respond to a challenge is constrained or enhanced by what the American psychologist Carol Dweck described as a ‘fixed’ or a ‘growth’ mindset. When there is an openness to ‘growing’ intellectually, emotionally and verbally, achievement, and joy in achievement, follow on.

That is what this programme is about, what the external evaluation demonstrates and where its genius lies.”

To see all of our Impact Evaluations, please visit here.

Our Trainers

Phil Barber

Phil’s passion is helping entrepreneurs, professionals and teenagers communicate their message with an engaging authenticity that influences and inspires.

After his earlier career in the Merchant Navy, Phil set up and ran four small businesses. He trained as a Life and Business Coach in 2000.

Al Brunker

Al is a trainer, performance poet and recovering lawyer. He brings humour and a passion for learning to his training sessions, and a belief that learners learn most effectively from within themselves and from each other.

As well as working with Talk The Talk, Al also partners with charities such as the Prince’s Trust, YMCA and the Jack Petchey Foundation, delivering persuasive speaking, leadership and interview skills workshops in state secondary schools.

Pete Cansdale

Pete comes from a background in business, where he works with individuals and groups to help them achieve their potential.

He’s believes passionately in the importance and benefits of excellent spoken communication. He loves seeing students have break-through moments as they grow in their ability to put themselves across with clarity, confidence and impact. He brings energy and enthusiasm to all workshops he delivers and hopes to be a role-model to everyone he works with.

Alison Clarke

Alison comes from a background of business, marketing and the travel industry.

She loves the journey that the students make during the day, especially the less confident ones that find they can do it. She likes to focus on the life skills that this day gives them in the hope that when it comes to being interviewed in the future they will remember the training and pull on those resources.

Emma Clark

Emma has worked in Education for over 20 years. As a secondary English Teacher and key stage coordinator, she has led public speaking and debating initiatives in a number of secondary schools in her area. She firmly believes that oracy plays a central role in both personal and educational development.

Emma loves seeing the progress students can make when they start to overcome their fears about speaking up and begin to find an inner confidence. She finds it a privilege to be a part of that journey.

Krista Court

Krista has worked in Education for 20 years, most recently as a Senior Lecturer in TESOL. She now runs her own business supporting students’ academic and professional development and is particularly passionate about oracy at secondary and HE levels. As a trainer with Talk The Talk, she has the wonderful opportunity of helping young people find and use their voices to communicate confidently their knowledge, beliefs, values and life stories. It’s always a privilege for Krista to be part of what is, for many students, a transformative process.

Claire Critchley

After graduating with a degree in Russian, Clare spent a short spell planning publicity campaigns for the Welsh government before landing an unpaid work placement at the BBC. She ended up staying at the BBC for 13 years, producing live programmes for Radio Wales, Radio 4 and the World Service.

Clare believes passionately in state education and is determined that children shouldn't lose out to their private school peers because of a lack of opportunity or self belief.

James Davies

James is an actor, theatre director and voice artist. Originally from South Wales, he studied for a degree in Philosophy at Cardiff University, before relocating to London to complete his MA in Acting.

Alongside his acting career, James works all over the country with Talk The Talk helping young people find their voice and the confidence to be effective speakers. He particularly relishes the opportunity to work with students whose confidence is initially very low and to see them flourish over the course of a session.

Jolene Doody

Before joining Talk The Talk, Jolene worked in secondary education for 14 years, 10 of which she spent as an English teacher.

She believes that confident oracy skills can help young people make the most of their lives, no matter their learning style, qualifications or background. She considers being able to formally verbalise their opinions, wants and needs as the driving force to help give students equal opportunities and build self-esteem.

Rowena English

Rowena joined Talk the Talk in 2019 and is thoroughly enjoying visiting schools across the country. She prides herself on building a strong rapport with students to support them in stepping out of their comfort zones, surprising themselves and often their teachers.
Since graduating from the University of Leeds with a BA and MA in English Literature, Rowena has developed a varied career in arts education. She has worked in schools' outreach at the University of Leeds, as Assistant Director for Leeds Grand's youth theatre and Actors in Training programme and enjoys a long-standing relationship with Shakespeare Schools Festival.

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Adam Grayson

Adam trained at RADA. He has been acting in leading roles extensively for various regional, touring and Theatre in Education companies across the UK, Ireland, France and Croatia.

Speaking & listening skills have been (and continue to be) the key to his own personal success and as a trainer for Talk the Talk it is wonderful to have the opportunity to encourage students to experience for themselves just how vital communicating confidently can be.

Alastair Greener

Alastair has worked in the sales and travel industry, as well as his current career of acting and TV presenting. Over the years he’s been developing his speaking and communication skills whether it be from the stage or in front of the camera, and he’s passionate helping others to be more effective speakers.

Alastair loves watching youngsters gain more confidence when speaking in public, particularly when someone finds their voice when they didn’t realise they had one.

Amy Leighton

Amy is an actress, theatre education facilitator and communications coach. Originally from Bristol, she moved to London to undertake her BA (Hons) in Performance at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2010 and has stayed ever since. A wide variety of roles have followed, performing across Theatre, TV, Film and Voiceover work.

Through her work with Talk The Talk, Amy uses the skills that she has developed to help students find their own voice, be confident in who they are and to understand that their opinions matter.

Liza Meggitt

A registered teacher of Performing Arts, Liza has been involved with training Public Speaking and oracy throughout her career.
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A professional choreographer and fellow of the ISTD. she also trains Dance students to Advanced 2 level. Liza is on the board of LAMDA examiners.

Mike Pagan

Mike has worked with several thousand young adults for many years teaching confident communication skills. His passion flows from his work with professional sports people in or heading towards retirement helping them uncover and follow their new path and career in Life After Sport.

Mike is forthright, practical and thought provoking, students and clients alike appreciate his uncomplicated approach first hand because it works. He is a professionally accredited performance Coach, Speaker, Master of Ceremonies and Author.

Sophie Peach

Sophie’s first career was in business. She spent 3 years working as a buyer in Paris, before transferring back to the UK spending 5 years as a Product Manager for a multi-national distributor.

Sophie then moved into charity work encouraging children to develop a love of reading. In 2007 she took on the role of Chair of Shrewsbury Children’s Bookfest & since 2010 has been running the Book Award for Shropshire primary schools. Inspired by the Book Award she explored options to link this with an opportunity to develop pupils’ confidence when speaking up.

Tim Perris

Tim’s passion is empowering individuals to live a life of purpose, intrinsically motivated and able to take ownership for their learning and their life whist enjoying their ‘Work in Progress’.

For 20 years Tim has coached and tutored individuals and groups in music and performance alongside a 12-year career teaching and leading in Maths and Science across all phases, from Primary school to A-level.

Max Poole

Max has been working in education and special needs for the past sixteen years. Alongside Talk The Talk, he runs his own online EFL teaching business and has worked in five different countries.

An ability to develop rapport with students helps Max in his passion, helping young people realise their potential and gain in confidence.

Iain Price

Iain’s passion is to see pedagogy applied to empower and enable people. Following his degree and doctorate in neuroscience, Iain qualified as a HLTA and has continued to specialise in the science of ‘brain-to-brain’ communication by developing dynamic cognitive, confidence building and mindset based practices into his teaching and coaching.

For over 10 years Iain has worked on educational programmes for the BBC, science centres, festivals and corporate settings as well as on numerous enabling projects in primary and secondary schools across the UK.

Joe Rowntree

Joe is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer and presenter. His TV career started in 2001 writing put-downs for Anne Robinson on "The Weakest Link". He has hosted 2 UK tours of "Brainiac Live" which culminated at the Hammersmith Apollo after appearing in all six series of the award-winning hit Sky 1 show "Brainiac: Science Abuse."Joe has worked in business and education delivering workshops in a number of motivation, mindset and memory techniques. He is passionate about helping young people reach their full potential and find their voice by equipping them with the necessary skills to have the confidence to speak up for themselves.

Nick Shaw

Nick is a passionate believer in the power of oracy and public speaking to not only build confidence, but to also improve logical thinking and argumentative skills. During his career in law, HR and teaching, he has seen the importance of these skills in allowing people to become the best version of themselves. Working for Talk The Talk means that Nick can work with young people to develop a set of skills to formulate, articulate and communicate their own thoughts and ideas more clearly, which he finds incredibly rewarding.

Dave Smith

Dave has performed comedy all over the country with the likes of Peter Kay, Lee Evans and Rich Hall. Transferring his writing skills into print, he also wrote for numerous magazines as a columnist, and for the Sunday Times as a travel writer. He appeared on TV shows and as a columnist on Radio 4’s Home Truths with John Peel.

Dave has now visited over 600 schools, running creative writing and public speaking workshops, helping young people overcome the fear of expressing themselves. He realises the enormous part self-esteem and confidence play in enabling young people to fulfill their potential, both professionally and socially.

Felicity Smith

Felicity has worked in secondary education for 16 years. She began her career as a teacher of Business studies before moving into senior leadership and spending 4 years as a Headteacher. She is now a Director in her own events business.
In order for young people to succeed in life, Felicity believes passionately in ensuring that all children have access to good education and that as well as the academic curriculum, they should be exposed to a wide range of careers education opportunities including the development of their communication skills. In her experience, even the most academic students can be held back by a lack of confidence and the knowledge and skills to communicate effectively.

Genevieve Steele

Genevieve is an actress, trainer and vocal coach. After graduating from East 15 Acting school in 2008, she has enjoyed a widespread career that has taken her to France and the USA.

Genevieve believes that communication skills are the key to believing in yourself. She continues to be inspired by the young people in Talk The Talk workshops and really enjoys encouraging even the very shyest people to find their voice and believe in themselves.

Ansah Tariq

Ansah has been working with young people in secondary schools for the past seven years. Her role has involved helping individuals overcome social, emotional and cultural barriers to ensure they achieve their true potential. Also helping them discover their true capability and a sense of self-belief and confidence. Her degree is in Education and Professional Development. Ansah is also an accredited University of Cambridge Trainer and Assessment Specialist.

Jamie White

Jamie has spent over 10 years working in education. He was Lead Coordinator at a Language School in Prague before spending 7 years focused on raising achievement in English at a Birmingham Secondary school.

Jamie is keen for young people to be given as many opportunities as possible to succeed, and believes that the ability to communicate confidently is key to this. His passion is helping students to understand their own potential.

Craig Whittaker

Craig trained at The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and spent the next 10 years pursuing a career in the arts. He mainly performs on TV and has appeared as lead roles in many soaps and dramas.

Craig now uses the skills he has developed to encourage students to discover their own voice through Talk The Talk - to feel confident in who they are and to believe in themselves and that their opinions count and people want to hear them.

Steve Wright

Steve has been working as an actor and stage manager in theatre for over 25 years and as well as his work as a Talk The Talk Trainer he also currently teaches drama and acting to children and young adults as well as teaching adults philosophy and ethics at Aberystwyth University.
He says his passion is for knowledge and truth and his desire is to help people of all ages and all backgrounds find knowledge and truth within themselves.

“Wow! Yet another outstanding day delivered by Talk The Talk. Never tire of seeing these confident young adults standing up and talking about something that matters to them!”

Our Lady & St John Catholic College,
Blackburn

“A well delivered session that has visibly improved my tutor group’s confidence. Students went home buzzing at the end of their first day at school. We have booked the sessions again for next year.”

Dorcan Academy,
Swindon

“Have to say, if anyone had told me at the start of the day, that the students would produce speeches of the quality they did, just five hours later, I’d have said they were delusional…! Phenomenal results!”

Langley Grammar School,
Slough

“Lovely manner with the students, building their confidence and resilience effectively. Students engaged in all activities and a positive learning environment throughout.”

Newall Green High School,
Manchester

“The training was perfectly pitched for the age of our students and it enabled all students to progress significantly with their ability to construct and present to an audience effectively. Everyone from the most confident through to the most anxious absolutely thrived.”

Glenmoor and Winton Academies,
Bournemouth

“Students are highly engaged and are learning a lot of good skills. Pace is good and the sessions progress well. The trainer is obviously vastly experienced with training school children. Excellent!”

Prendergast Ladywell School,
London

“The CPD delivered was outstanding. Many teachers felt it was one of the best inset days we’ve had and they feel great motivation as a result of the tips and guidance.”

Ladybridge High School,
Bolton