Skip to main content

James Nottingham

“James Nottingham will help you navigate the world of educational concepts and research with a wonderful blend of clarity and good humour.”


“What you get with James is the perfect blend of research analysis, high expectations, good humour, and practical advice. The impact he has had across our Early Years, Primary & Secondary schools has been outstanding.”

Director, Multi-academy Trust

“James Nottingham is one of the clearest and most engaging thought leaders on creating a culture of  deep, engaging, challenging learning in schools.”

MATHILDA JOUBERT, Australian Council for Educational Leaders

“Feedback after your day in our school was overwhelmingly positive. I’m already seeing evidence of impact in classrooms. One of our specialists said it was by far is the best PL he has ever done that isn’t focused purely on his subject – he was gushing about how much he had taken away from it.”

JACQUI O’DONNELL, Principal, North Harrisdale Primary, Australia

James Nottingham, FRSA

James Nottingham is the creator of the Learning Pit, a model used widely to help students articulate their learning progress. He is also the author of 11 books on teaching and leading.

He started life by failing – firstly at school (he was expelled from two high schools) and then at pig farming and factory work. However, after some charity work in apartheid South Africa gave him the shake he needed, he returned to the UK to work as a teaching assistant in a school for deaf children. He then went on to teach and lead in K-12 schools before a BBC documentary featuring his work led to invitations to share his strategies further afield. From 2000-2006, he designed and led a social regeneration project to improve learning outcomes in struggling schools and preschools, and from there, set up the company Challenging Learning. Pre-pandemic, he employed 30 staff in seven countries. Today, he has a much smaller team so that he can do less of the leading and more of the in-school work that is his passion: demonstration lessons (give him any class, any age and he’ll show the techniques he recommends in situ with your students); staff and leader coaching; student voice; evidence collecting with report back; and leading PD events with staff and parents. James is also a sought-after keynote speaker; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; and is member of the Future 500, a ‘definitive list of the UK’s most forward thinking and creative innovators’.

What to book James for

  • Keynotes
  • All-staff days (pre-K-12)
  • Demonstration lessons
  • Webinars
  • Video presentations (with or without subtitles)
  • Podcasts & interviews
  • Presentations to parents
  • Progress reports
  • Leadership coaching
  • Lesson resources

Inviting James into Your School

With a wealth of expertise and experience in your team, why invite James into your school?

Buy yourself some time. Time to focus on pedagogy and learning outcomes. Time to amplify the strengths of your school; as well as to find opportunities for improvement. Time away from the urgent tasks and responsibilities your team faces to focus exclusively on ways to boost your teaching, leading, and learning.

Objectivity and insight. You know your context better than anyone. James brings a fresh pair of eyes, and an impartiality that draws out honest insights from staff and students. Together, you and he can create approaches that are more effective, efficient, and equitable.

Expertise and evidence. James has been consulting with schools and pre-schools since 1999. In that time, he has supported 450+ organisations in 20+ countries; worked closely with influential researchers such as Carol Dweck and John Hattie; established seven companies in seven countries, employing 30 full-time staff; and written 12 books for teachers, leaders, and parents. This understanding of evidence, experience, and impact guides everything he offers.

Contact James

Keynotes & Onsite Events

Click to see more

Online Consultancy

Click to see more

Bio & Images

Click to see more

Longer-term Support

Click to see more

Books & Videos

Click to see more

Areas of Expertise

Click to see more

Regional Contacts

Head Office (UK)
T: +44 1670 330036

T: +44 1670 330036

Clare Barnfather
T: +81 90 6434 1256

Head Office Address

Challenging Learning,
2 Linnet Court,
Cawledge Business Park,
Alnwick, Northumberland,
NE66 2GD, UK

The Learning Pit is part of the Challenging Learning group with offices in the UK, Australia, Japan, Scandinavia, USA

Get in touch