Tag Archives: Education

“Driving Change, Unlocking Potential”

“Driving Change, Unlocking Potential”  
On the eve of the launch of his website, I think it is very fitting that I tell you about the marvellous charity leader that is Alex Swallow. 
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After graduating from Cambridge with a degree in Social and Political Science, Alex went on to follow his fiery passion for helping others.  He volunteered in Romania for a summer, on the “British Romanian Educational Exchange” while at University.  Having enjoyed the experience so much, he then further proceeded to be Joint Coordinator for the programme the following year.


Next, Swallow spread his wings and made his way to Japan.  Living between Kobe and Osaka for two years, Alex worked at an International state secondary school, the first of its kind in the whole of Japan.  Being on the JET Programme he got the opportunity to act as a representative for the teachers on the JET programme, meeting with Japanese Ministry officials in Tokyo, showing further that making a difference is what drives him.

Alex has received a vast array of well deserved accolades and awards in his career it seems fit to mention at least a few:

Alex Swallow was described by GoodEggs  as a “modern day thought leader” and a “Social entrepreneur”. This is certainly the case. Having already founded the Young Charity Trustees (link) he then moved on to, at the age of 30, become the Chief Executive of the prominent UK charity ‘Small Charities Coalition‘.  A charity that helps small charities access the skills, tools & information they need to get going and do what they do best.

But it didn’t end there for this Cambridge graduate. In 2013, in its first year of running, he was listed in the  ‘Best 30 Social CEOs‘ for his passion and using social media for social good. The characteristics that were described as belonging to the top performing charity CEOs are listed as follows:

  • Approachable
  • Talk directly to stake holders
  • Good at sharing their vision or insight
  • Skilled at listening as well as talking
  • Champions of their cause/organisation Social identity distinct from organisation
Alongside this highly credible accolade comes another. Equally impressive to his other achievements, Swallow’s blog is in the Top 150 Non-profit blogs in the world!

The final award I will mention for this outstanding charity visionary, is the award he won from JCI as one of the Ten Outstanding Young People (TOYP) in the UK. To put this into perspective on how impressive this achievement is; past worldwide winners include John F. Kennedy, Anthony Robbins, Jackie Chan and Elvis Presley!


Returning to the reason that I am writing this blog about such an inspirational man, tomorrow at 9:00am, his website AlexSwallow.com will be launched. This will act as a platform for Alex to spread his message across the charity sector and much further afield. It is a message that is pure but strong: “Driving Change, Unlocking Potential”. These are the words so often spoken by Alex himself, in voice and (most importantly) through action. His vision? Helping young people join charity boards, assisting them in unlocking the potential they have both individually and when working within a team.

If my word isn’t enough, here are a few reviews people have posted regarding Alex Swallow (and you can see a great many more on his LinkedIn profile at uk.linkedin.com/in/alexswallow.

Leonor Stjepic


Have you ever met anyone who, at a young age, has already achieved more than you can ever hope to do? If you haven’t, then you haven’t met Alexander Swallow.

His drive, focus and ability to deliver is impressive. If he is the future of the charity sector, then we are in good hands.

Richard Hinchliffe MIHM

Now- Adjutant. April 15 – Deloitte as Manager in HTR

Alex is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s great champions of the non-profit sector. His leadership and advice have spurred on many young trustees, such as myself, which has a valuable, tangible and long-term benefit to charities across the country.

I would like to conclude this article by asking you to give Alex Swallow some of your time, look at his website, see the causes this charity leader is passionate about. Help to spread his word further.

“Driving Change, Unlocking Potential” 




Pupils are Consultants for a Day to Government

1st November 2014

Reform – The word still fresh in the minds of a group of emphatic students and teachers who on friday visited the Department for Education in London.  The topic of the day was “Reforming qualifications and the curriculum to better prepare pupils for life after school”; the subjects included for GCSE:

• Citizenship
• Cooking and nutrition
• Drama
• Design technology

And for A-level:
• Drama and theatre

For those of you who don’t know, theDepartment for Education (DfE) is responsible for education and children’s services in England.  Ayath Ullah (@ayathullah), invited me to attend the event. To grow, you must learn, a very adequate phrase with the days topic in mind; as a Public Relations entrepreneur this event gave me some valuable insight which shall be shared below.


In the UK the proportion of students receiving good results in literacy and numeracy has gone up, however, employers and universities are dissatisfied with school leavers.  Over 40% of employers need to organise additional training for these school leavers joining their team.  Now, I am not saying that you have to be trained up before you enter the working world. I am a firm believer in improving yourself and your skills, and a good method of doing so is receiving in house training through your job.  It is the belief of the government that providing a more rigorous curriculum whilst allowing for freedom to teach in the most effective way will assist students by providing them with the skills needed for later life.

The day kicked off with a good icebreaker- I love a good icebreaking game.  We had to introduce ourselves as the person sitting next to us, getting you to really listen to what your neighbour was saying.  Then a quick game of ”HM Government Bingo”, which I must say went very successfully, with the students naming a wide variety of Government departments.  Following this, there was the first action on the agenda, a debate.  The students were split into two groups, one representing the government in favour of reform, and the other representing head teachers against the reform.  After 10 minutes of creating their opening statements, battle commenced!  I was very impressed to the quality and confidence with which the students spoke, and with the passion and clarity with the message in which they were trying to impart upon us.  It is humbling to see these students, taking an enthused interest in politics and with that their own future in such a positive and constructive way.

Next on the order of events was a roundtable to discuss GCSE citizenship; whether there is an apt level of challenge planned and whether the changes themselves actually reflects what students actually need to “prepare them for life after school”.  The group was further split into 4 groups; with no surprise at all, I was once again astounded by the quality of presentation given by the students and appetite they showed in wanting to make a change for the better.  Another round table event followed later in the afternoon, this consisted of splitting the groups again, looking at each of the proposed curriculums and further discussing whether there is once again a suitable level of challenge.  In addition, discussing whether the reflection of what the needs of the students are present in the new curriculum.

The final item on the agenda was on Equality and Diversity; the Equality Act 2010 states that the government must have “due regard” when making decisions.  The students and teachers were asked to consider the ways in which the current proposal impacts the selected characteristics which include:

• Disability
• Gender Reassignment
• Pregnancy and maternity
• Race
• Religion and belief
• Sex (male/female)
• Sexual orientation

The students then further discussed the changes they thought would occur if the new proposal was implemented; where negative implications were identified the students were very industrious in producing solutions.  The compassion and understanding shown by the students further impressed the likes of myself, their teachers, Ayath and the other esteemed guests.

The students were a credit to themselves, their school and to the Department for Educations as they provided a great deal of input for the DfE to carry forward in their final decision on these subject reforms.

There is currently a report being prepared which details the discussions from the day. I will post it here as soon as it is published.

The majority of the younger generation of today do not read newspapers; reading a newspaper was not mentioned by a single student when discussing communication. This comes as a reminder to the Public Relations Industry that we need to adapt to the new channels of communication or we will get left behind.

Photos included were taken by Ieuan Berry (@IeuanB123)