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Former SAS leader points the way to success for Trust’s staff and students


A quote from the keynote speaker at the Great Schools Trust (GST) recent annual conference at Edge Hill University said: “Lives can be transformed by showing someone a map of what can be achieved and giving them the tools and support to get there”.

It came from Floyd Woodrow, a former parachute regiment officer and head of counter-intelligence in the SAS, when he addressed the Trust’s 300 teachers and staff at this year’s conference and reflected upon the Trust’s theme for the year – “Purpose and Performance”.  

Floyd showed delegates the importance of the map giving clear stepping stones as a guide through life as part of his belief in a “Compass for Life”.

He showed how his experiences in the military and being part of a team gave insight into leadership and success and can be used by the Trust and its four King Leadership Academies to support students on their academic and individual success journey.

He highlighted this by saying that: “the map should have a “North Star” which is an anchor and guide as to where somebody wants to be in the future” and that it is important to focus on the task at hand, tackling it conscientiously and diligently with the perseverance and determination to go on when others perhaps may give up. 

Floyd also considered how these attributes match the Trust’s mission to develop students with academic skills, intellectual habits, qualities of character and leadership traits.  

Achieving these requires having a purpose and teachers and staff must show leadership and encourage students always to ask themselves whether they are giving all their potential to their assigned tasks and underpin their performance in the classroom and beyond.

In his closing remarks, Floyd said being successful is about: “Visualising what success looks like, and the most important thing is to practice and practice the skills needed to get to each milestone on your map.”

“Find a purpose, be the best you can possibly be as an individual and understand how you can use this to give something back to society.”

Shane Ierston, CEO of the Great Schools Trust believes that Floyd’s messages reflect on this year’s theme “Purpose and Performance and also the ethos of the Trust: “The Trust’s motto is “Credo -Credimus – I believe – We believe” and adopting this ethos is a team effort between teachers, staff and the student.

“Our role is to give them a purpose, which is what Floyd calls their “North Star” and help them draw their map and give them the best tools to perform and navigate their way towards academic success while developing the character and skills required to contribute positively to their communities.”