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Taking the Risk

Wednesday 1st - Friday 3rd February 2012

Taking the Risk

The National Conference for Christians in School Leadership provides delegates with the opportunity to receive professional and personal development in a uniquely Christian setting. High calibre speakers enable delegates to reflect on their role and how their faith can sustain, nurture and develop them as educational leaders.

Is it safe for school leaders to take risks? Does our current educational culture suppress risk taking by overemphasizing a narrow conception of what education is?

A willingness to embrace risk taking has been identified as a worthwhile trait for a school leader to possess. So what does risk taking look like in any kind of a 21st Century school? How does risk taking promote creativity and develop effective schools? What are the benefits for pupils, staff and the local community?

Taking the Risk: Leadership that Changes Lives will allow delegates to explore the role that risk taking plays in the transformation of schools and in the formation of creative learning approaches. It will also provide the opportunity for personal reflection on the relationship between risk taking and faith and will explore how we can grow as Christians when we step out and do things differently. This conference is a fantastic mix of high quality professional development and deep spiritual refreshment, aiming to give both Christians working in faith schools as well as in community schools a fresh vision and excitement for where God has placed them.

Conference Downloads

The following is a selection of free resources and downloads, made available from this conference.

National Conference for Christians in School Leadership

“Quite the best conference and meeting of minds I have ever attended in 36 years of education.”

The NCCSL conference provides an outstanding opportunity for Christian school leaders and diocesan education teams to receive professional and pastoral development as they balance the challenges and demands of school improvement, leading a school, team, department or Key Stage. Networking opportunities allow for creative solutions to be developed to shared problems. Time to think and reflect provides opportunities to refocus and re-energise your vision and passion for education. Some of the comments we have had on past conferences:

“There is very little training out there that links specifically to schools' Christian context. I only wish I had discovered the conference sooner!!!”

“As ever, came away feeling refreshed and renewed and wondering why more people don't come to the conference”

“ . . . challenging and stimulating thinking to take back to my work situation”

“Really enjoyed . . . having opportunity to share both professionally and personally. It was excellent”

“Thank you it was great and all very useful”

“ . . . very high calibre of speaker, definitely inspirational in all senses of the word . . . ”

“ . . . professionally and personally challenging, inspiring and fulfilling . . . a unique experience and something you don't get anywhere else”

“ . . . an excellent conference: very encouraging and thought-provoking”

Organised by an independent group of Christian Head Teachers and supported by Association of Christian Teachers, The Stapleford Centre and TISCA (The Independent Schools Christian Alliance).


Lord Nat Wei

Lord Wei

'The Head teacher as Social Entrepreneur'

Lord Wei is a social philanthropist and former management consultant at McKinsey. A co-founder of Britain's Teach First programme, he is a member of the House of Lords and, until recently, was an adviser to the UK Government on their Big Society project.


Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford

Rt Rev Bishop Stephen Cottrell

'The place of risk taking in faith'

The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell's passions for ministry have always involved evangelism and teaching and commending the Christian faith. He has led many parish missions. He has done lots of work with children and young people, particularly in schools. He has served on the Church of England's Mission, Renewal and Evangelism committee. He has been a member of the Advisory group for Anglican Church Planting Initiatives. He was also a member of the Springboard Executive. He chairs the Church of England’s Religion in Media group.

Bishop Cottrell has written widely about evangelism, the work of initiation and spirituality. His best selling I Thirst (Zondervan) was the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent book for 2004. His other books include From the Abundance of the Heart: Catholic evangelism for all Christians (DLT); Do Nothing to Change your Life: Discovering what happens when you stop (CHP); Hit the Ground Kneeling: Seeing leadership differently (CHP); two books of meditations for Good Friday and Easter, The Things He Carried and The Things He Said (SPCK). His most recent book is called How to Pray (CHP). He has also written a book of children’s stories, The Adventures of Naughty Nora (BRF).

Bishop Cottrell's interests include writing, reading, cooking and music. He is married to Rebecca, who is a potter. They have three sons and one dog.

John Richardson

John Richardson

'Taking the Risk - Leadership that changes lives'

John's career has taken him from a degree in Engineering at Cambridge to teaching Mathematics at Dean Close School in Cheltenham and then at Eton, before becoming Headmaster at Culford School in Bury St. Edmunds (a Methodist school) in 1992 and then of Cheltenham College in 2004, from where he retired last summer to found an education consultancy working principally within the independent sector.

He is quoted in This is Gloucestershire saying:

“I teach because of Christian vocation. I believe that the task of educating young people in the broadest sense is of enormous importance and value both for the young people themselves and for society in general.”

Geraldine Latty

Geraldine Latty

'An evening with Geraldine Latty'

Steeped in the Pentecostal tradition, Geraldine has also spent a number of years being a part of the Methodist church. She completed her music degree and qualified as a secondary school teacher, working for twelve years at a Catholic School in Bristol.

In 2000 she left teaching to ‘see what God wanted to do with her time’ and has found that invitations, opportunities to serve have continued and grown. Whether it is giving vocal coaching to teenage mums or heading up the music teams in church at Cairns Rd, running a community gospel choir, or leading worship at national conferences – the passion of her heart is to be one who knows she is pursued and loved by God, and to shout out loud that as God loves her so God loves and welcomes everyone.

Her musical outpourings and creativity, involvement and leadership serve to see that dream realised.

Rev Mary Barnes

Rev Mary Barnes

Conference Chaplain

The Rev'd Mary Barnes serves as Vicar for the parish of Old Windsor. She brings a wealth of experience to the conference chaplaincy from her varied career. Having recently become a school governor, she understands some of the challenges Christian school leaders face in schools today.

Mary served as conference chaplain for us last year and so we are looking forward to her wonderful mix of depth, joy and inspiration at this year's conference.


Barceló Cheltenham Park, Cirencester Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 8EA

The 4 star Barceló Cheltenham Park Hotel is located 2 miles from Cheltenham city centre, in the heart of the Cotswolds. With state of the art conference facilities, comfortable rooms, excellent amenities and an abundance of green, the Barceló Cheltenham Park will provide a fantastic venue for this conference. 


The conference commences with registration and coffee from 9.00am on Thursday 2nd February 2012; there is an optional overnight stay on Wednesday 1st February.

Conference registration times: Wednesday 6-7pm or Thursday 9-9:30am.

Conference Outline

Click here to download the proposed conference timetable, subject to minor amendments.

Conference Costs


Full conference

  • Full conference, incl. overnight Wed 1st Feb £310
  • Full conference, Thursday to Friday £250

Day delegate rates

  • Day delegate Thurs 2nd Feb, (incl. lunch) £150
  • Day delegate Fri 3rd Feb (incl. lunch) £50
  • Day delegate Thurs 2nd and Fri 3rd Feb (no overnight stay from Thursday to Friday) £200

Double occupancy rates

  • Double occupancy, incl. overnight Wed 1st Feb £620 £558
  • Double occupancy, Thursday to Friday £500 £450

The National Conference of Christians in School Leadership is a self-financing conference organised by a group of Christian Head Teachers and facilitated by The Stapleford Centre. Income to run each conference is gained predominantly through conference fees and occasionally through donations, gifts and grants from Christian trust funds. Simple details of our finance can be found below.

How to book for this conference

We have tried to make booking for this conference as easy as possible. At the bottom of this page, you can do one of two things:

  • If you have booked a conference on this website before, or bought a book in our bookshop, select 'Log in'. This will take you to a log-in box. After you have completed the log in, go to the bottom of the page again – you will now find the booking form there. Simply follow the rest of the steps, it shouldn't take long.
  • If you are a new customer, click on 'register your details', fill in the registration form, click the 'Register' button, and then go to the bottom of this page again  – you will now find the booking form there. Simply follow the rest of the steps, it shouldn't take long.


  • If you have any trouble with the booking process, please contact us, as we are able to help! Either call 0115 9396270 or email

Last year's conference finances

The following information shows approximate figures with the aim of giving an idea of how conference fees are spent.

Approximate Income 2011: £8600 (+£130 rollover)


  • Administration costs: £1900
  • Advertising and publicity: £300
  • Conference centre hire and accommodation: £5500
  • Gifts and speakers' fees: £800
  • Speaker travel: £200


Conference Registration

Registration for this conference closed on Thursday 2nd February 2012.