James Nottingham is co-founder and executive director of Challenging Learning, a group of companies with 25 employees in 6 countries. His passion is in transforming the most up-to-date research into strategies that work brilliantly in the classroom. He is regarded by many as one of the most engaging, thought-provoking and inspirational speakers in education.

Before training to be a teacher, James worked on a pig farm, in the chemical industry, for the American Red Cross, and as a teaching assistant in a school for deaf children. At university, he gained a first-class honours degree in Education (a major turnaround after having failed miserably at school). He then worked as a teacher and leader in primary and secondary schools in the UK before a TV documentary about his work with Philosophy for Children (P4C) led to the setting up of his own consultancy group, Challenging Learning.

Today, his team support pre-schools, schools, colleges, and school districts (kommuner) with long-term projects that make a significant difference to the lives of all learners.

As a keynote speaker, James headlines conferences around the world. Last year, he spoke at 82 conferences in 19 countries on 6 continents. He is also often seen touring alongside Professors John Hattie (Visible Learning) and Carol Dweck (Mindset).

The Observer newspaper in the UK lists him among the Future 500 - a “definitive list of the UK's most forward-thinking and brightest innovators.”




James Nottingham has developed a rare skill for blending arresting anecdotes, hard-edged research and practical advice into a truly compelling narrative.

Prof Barry Hymer

James Nottingham has the skills of explaining the complex in a way which is accessible and inviting. He is challenging yet encouraging. The examples of how it could be and the insights into what success looks like will leave you wanting to do things differently without a bag of guilt to weigh you down.

Prof Mick Waters

James Nottingham - lärare och skolledare och ett av de mest omtalade namnen inom skolutveckling i världen i dag / James Nottingham is a teacher and leader, and one of the most talked about names in the world of school development today

Skolvärlden, 2014

“James's work at our school is leading to the most significant and ongoing positive change that I have witnessed in my 30 years in education”

George Telford, Australia

“Nothing short of an AMAZING speaker. Time flew by! Although it was in English, the language was never a problem! / Intet mindre end FANTASTISK oplægsholder. Tiden fløj af sted! Selvom dagen foregik på engelsk, blev sproget aldrig på noget tidspunkt et problem!”

B Jensen, Denmark

I thought it was an inspiring lecture by James Nottingham. I wish everyone in education could hear these important messages.

Alexandra Sundelin

Pre-School Leader, Denmark

I attended the Mindset congress because of James Nottingham and wow, I was blown away. I enjoyed his presentations so much! I shared his ideas with my secondary school colleagues and they were so enthusiastic.

Monica Blankestijn

Teacher, Netherlands

Your keynote was the perfect! Feedback from delegates identified your inspirational and thought-provoking keynote as the highlight of the day. I am sure the impact will be felt across our schools and nurseries for years to come.

Conference organiser

Buenos Aires, Argentina

James delivered a fantastic thought-provoking keynote that sparked debate and discussion amongst delegates alongside some excellent examples and nuggets of suggested good practise for them to take back to school.

Conference organiser

Birmingham, UK

Thank you so much for a fantastic Keynote speech at our conference yesterday, it was the perfect way to start a conference titled #BeInspired. The feedback from delegates has been fantastic and so many forms refer to your inspirational speech and workshop.

Kylie Spark

Headteacher, Manchester, UK