Sir Chris Woodhead (1946-2015) – (Former Chief Inspector of Schools)
“Laura Hyde was an outstanding and very unusual headteacher. I visited St James Senior Girls’ School when I was Chief Inspector of Schools and was deeply impressed by her calm authority and by the school's very special ethos. A prizegiving I attended sticks in my mind because the students were so impressive in their quiet, understated self-confidence. I have absolutely no doubt that Laura would make a massive contribution to any school which wishes to review its approach to the spiritual and moral dimensions of education. This is an area where there is too much glibness and quackery and where the wisdom and experience of somebody, like Laura, who has thought long and hard about what is really involved in developing a proper rounded education is much needed.”
Sir Anthony Seldon – (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, former Headmaster of Wellington College, historian, commentator and political author)
“I have been in touch with Laura Hyde’s leadership of St James Senior Girls’ School for many years. She has developed a school which achieves a rare combination of pastoral and academic excellence; pupils are generous, discretely confident, inwardly strong, courteous, and perhaps most importantly, genuinely happy. The spirit of unity and gentle compassion which pervade the atmosphere are tangible. Her distinctive approach offers a philosophically inspired education which, without proselytising any particular belief or creed draws upon our wisdom traditions to provide intelligent guidance for emerging young adults. She has spent very many years developing a thoroughly effective approach to meditation and mindful practice which underpins the strength of the school. She has so much to offer headteachers who are seeking new ways to enrich the lives of their pupils.
Laura’s background and experience would offer tremendous support and insight to anyone seeking guidance as they navigate their way through life. She truly personifies what she talks about. In twenty years running schools, I have never encountered a calmer or more present head. Just being with her for ten minutes will help anyone become clearer about matters. She is an inspiration.”
Clarissa Farr – (Former High Mistress, St Paul’s Girls’ School)
“I have known Laura Hyde for many years as a professional friend, and have always been struck by her gifts as a thinker and listener.
Laura is an expert in spiritual education and as a head teacher, has placed this at the centre of school life. Her approach to spiritual development in schools is thus the result of many years of lived professional experience and will be of intrinsic value and relevance to head teachers now, as they help young people prepare for the challenges of the modern world.
Few people today really hear what others say to them: fewer still listen with true quiet attention and thoughtfulness. Laura has this ability, which together with her deep interest in the growth of the human spirit make her an ideal mentor, whether to others with a leadership role or simply to those seeking clarity about their next steps in life.
Laura’s portfolio is designed with care to respond to real people with real needs. I’m delighted that her special talents will now touch a broader audience and recommend her most warmly.”
Mrs Helen Lowe – (Head, Bute House Preparatory School)
“Laura Hyde balances wisdom and integrity with empathy and experience; these qualities make her an outstanding appraiser. The Head's appraisal can be a daunting prospect, albeit absolutely necessary, but Laura has the ability to put you at your ease whilst doing a thorough and professional job. All the people who were interviewed by Laura for my appraisal spoke of her calm manner, insight and ability to put them at ease. They found the questions she asked extremely well thought through and she enabled them to think about the Head's role in its broadest sense, thus providing me with excellent and useful feedback. I would recommend Laura as an appraiser of Heads without hesitation and remain very grateful to her for her management of the whole process.”
Revd. Dr Rob Marshall – (Writer and Broadcaster)
“At the heart of Laura's wonderfully warm and inclusive philosophy is a strong belief in potential.
I worked as her school chaplain for almost two decades. It was soon apparent to me that Laura's ability to extract the very best out of staff and students by example marked her out as an outstanding individual.
This belief in the potentiality of every human person is often seen as the antithesis of a networked generation. Individual gifts can remain submerged or unexplored without the right kind of person to act as a catalyst to discovery and a greater degree of self-awareness.
This is what Laura has offered to me as a mentor and friend. I strongly commend her as someone who will be able to facilitate the release of true potentiality in any of her future clients of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, faiths and genders.”
Miriam Maes – (Chairman of Elia Group and CEO Foresee Consulting)
"Laura has a unique capacity to understand the deep psychology and spirituality of people and to use these insights to release an individual's true potential and energy, resulting in more self confidence and greater personal fulfilment.
Laura's strengths pertain to her fine analysis and deeper understanding of human beings, their challenges and her ability to define practical guidance and solutions to students and adults.
Laura is able to support not only schools but also educational and health organisations and government agencies through her knowledge of how to tackle some of the key challenges in today’s world: depression, sexual behaviour, drug issues, the effect of the e-world, gender balance, self esteem issues, and others.
If you are looking for someone who can help sort out the "softer", intangible concerns people may have - acting as barriers to the realisation of someone's full potential- I would recommend Laura warmly to:
a) Students, schools and head teachers, being confronted with behavioural issues and with all of today's challenges.
b) Educational and Health institutions and Government organisations who are facing policy and regulatory challenges (Ofsted, Department of Education and related government and non-government organisations).
c) Companies and more generally organisations, recognising the importance of the so-called "softer issues" and wanting to address them through a neutral facilitator. Laura is such a talented moderator in cases where an organisation might wish to change its culture; define its values; improve its image; strive for gender balance; deal with conflict internally and externally and address many other relationship issues."
Testimonials for Coaching
Ms P, Middle Leader at a state-funded Academy
“Laura Hyde provides insightful and incisive coaching. I contacted Laura via the NCTL's Women in Leadership coaching network. Drawing on her extensive educational leadership experience, Laura supported me with developing a personal career strategy and her helpful suggestions regarding my practice have proved invaluable. I highly recommend Laura to any teacher or leader seeking thoughtful guidance and a fresh perspective.”
Kate Cullinan (Director of School, Lionheart Education)
“Working as I do within the field of specialist education provision, the daily struggle to reconcile the competing demands of reflexive against merely reactive practice familiar to all those in the field of education is compounded by the inevitably narrower range of opportunities for peer feedback within smaller educational settings. Against this background, the series of structured conversations I had with Laura during the course of a mentoring process were a revelation and a joy. Laura is an outstanding mentor. Her truly unparalleled ability to encourage and support growth in others derives from her outstanding professional experience, her spiritual wisdom, and her calm, centred, and enormously kind presence. The occasional glimpses of a gentle, twinkling sense of humour in the face of life’s paradoxes and inconsistencies simply serve to highlight the deep psychic grounding of this true leader in her field. Striving for growth in the educational profession requires us to reflect on the moral purpose by which we seek to live, and demands deep enquiry into the obstacles – real, imagined, or occasionally self-imposed – to that purpose. As I came to understand through working with Laura, this involves a dialectical encounter with divergent truths, truths that are generally quite difficult to bring to consciousness. I have had the great good fortune and privilege of working with Laura to facilitate the process, and it is an experience which has immeasurably enlarged the frame of reference through which I see my work , and my life. I simply cannot recommend her more highly.”
Manda (Financial Services Executive)
“I found it very helpful to not just discuss but fully explore where my life is heading. It enabled me to clarify my thoughts and untangle a web of confusing ideas that I had formulated in my mind.
Laura's calm, focussed questioning and her amazing listening skills made it possible to dissect my crictical opinions and thoughts from a very different perspective. This enabled me to analyse and assess my situation in a new way.
I would recommend Laura without any hesitation. She is an extremely attentive listener and has a remarkable ability to pick out the most fundamental issues from a lengthy conversation and to focus attention in a manner which brings clarity and resolution. Together with her great experience and wisdom, this makes her a very powerful and effective coach. I am hugely grateful to have had her coach me and lead me to a more fulfilling life!”
Ellen (Primary School Teacher)
“Laura is a warm, happy person who makes you feel at ease very quickly. She gently guides the sessions, listening with a non-judgemental ear. I felt confident and comfortable enough to share everything that came up in me. Laura has helped me to discover a more authentic way of living and interacting. I have not felt this settled and confident in a long while. I would recommend Laura as a coach whole-heartedly.”
Montserrat (Teacher and Middle School Manager, Secondary School)
“The eight sessions of coaching with Laura have had a very positive impact on my life. They enabled me to speak openly, become more self-aware and to address pressures in my life. The coaching helped me to make small changes to my behaviour and to the way I think about problems. They helped me to live in the present and not to give undue focus to life's small adversities.
Laura is an excellent listener. Her calm and assured manner gives you the confidence to speak openly and without pressure. Where she feels she can guide the conversation she does so with sensitivity and wisdom. She chooses her observations and questions wisely and is not judgemental or instructive.
Laura's strengths are her great listening ability, her sensitivity, calmness and patience. She inspires great trust and confidence which is vital for this type of coaching. She understands situations and feelings instinctively and summarises things extremely clearly.
I feel that these sessions have benefitted me enormously. Laura has been a great ocach who I would whole-heartedly recommend.”