Thought Pieces

Autumn 2017: Six new Thought Pieces written by Dr Simon Walker for an invited readership of Headteachers

Dear Headteacher

Travelling to many schools around the UK, I speak of the road of adolescence getting harder for children to navigate. It is a road which is getting faster and more pressurised. Quiet side roads for reflection are being squeezed out. Mistakes are amplified by relentless social media signalling. Reliable signposts of truth are demolished in flurries of fake news. Instagrammed images hold up impossible body images. Snapchat messages derail others without any accountability.

The old rules of how to think, speak and feel seem to be unravelling. At the same time, governments seem to be making the job harder by rearranging many of signposts we could rely on. Curricula changed again; assessment grading replaced; inspection criteria continually rewritten.

Yet in this day, the fundamental task of education remains the same. My colleague, Dr Jo Walker, expressed it like this in her doctoral work: How do we equip young people to steer this road of adolescence? As a cognitive biologist, with a background in emotional health, I agree. I have decided to write this series of six thought pieces for Heads with whom we already have a prior connection to explain our insights.

I hope you find them helpful.

With best wishes,


P.S. If you are a Head and you would like to be included on the closed mailing list for the next series of Thought Pieces, please send an email to