Valerie Campbell-Hogg, School Facilitator
We’ve engaged Bill for three years and it has been fantastic. I really like bringing him in because he is an outsider to our school community, and when he facilitates, the way he shares his story, it makes the programs very relaxed. It’s a very simple process, but it is powerful. He sets it up well and he really supports our school community; he talks to parents very positively about our school.
Bill’s process with us is deeply engaged. He puts a lot of thought into it, and he takes us on a journey in preparing for the programs. He sends lots of support material, regular information, and sends me a blog or two for the school newsletter. It’s not like Bill drops in once a year and drops out again; he has built a relationship with us; it’s like he is part of our school community now.
We’ve moved to the licensing stage with Time & Space*. Ideally, if we could afford it, we would keep Bill coming because I really do like an outsider coming in. But we have a set up now where we will have people other than lead teachers running the Time & Space programs. Those teachers are a little more removed from the classroom teachers; they’re not dealing with the day-to-day issues with parents so I think that is important.
We are a small school, and we had to find cost-effective ways to keep the programs going. But the trust we have built with Bill makes moving to the licensing stage a sensible step, and a way he can continue to support us. We will still probably get Bill to come and run the programs every now and then, and we will continue to have a strong partnership with him.
“The session has helped our relationship, and it was special to us both”
Time & Space for Mothers & Daughters Participant St Mary’s College, Hobart TAS
I would like to thank you very much for a wonderful evening last night. It was the first time I had attended anything like it, and it was very valuable for Chloe (who has ADHD) and I.
I had postnatal depression when I had Chloe. I was an older mum and there was a big age difference between her and my first two girls from my previous marriage. I didn’t get to bond with Chloe as well as I would have liked, and it has been a hard road for us all.
Chloe is a very caring and kind soul, but people just don’t understand her. She has been through a lot in her short years so her emotions were very clear the other night and she was glad to have me to herself.
The session certainly highlighted the need to make time and share things together. I have put in some steps with Chloe, and one of those is after I come home from work Chloe and I go for a 30-minute walk with NO phones, and this is working very well.
I am sure there are others out there who are experiencing (or have experienced) what we have. I really think the session has helped our relationship, and it was special to us both. You were very inspirational to me personally, by your positive vibes, and I felt you really understood and touched on many things that I have been feeling.
I wanted to share this with you as both Chloe and I got a lot out of it and really enjoyed it very much. It has been a hard journey for Chloe and I, and it still is to be honest. But I feel we had a breakthrough that night.
Thank you very much.
“What sets Bill apart is that he is a very gifted storyteller”
John O’Meara, Principal
Yea High School, Yea VIC
What I often say about Bill Jennings is that he is like the missing piece of the puzzle. Whilst you can have a number of things that sit in the educational space, the thing that Bill brings is that capacity to connect with parents about some of the issues they confront at a parenting level. That is very hard to do in a secondary setting because of a whole range of factors, not least of which is the students are becoming adolescents and want to be independent of their parents. Because Bill is a parent in that space he understanding those issues.
He gets parents networking amongst themselves and talking about all sorts of issues, and getting insights into how kids think about issues. We are all about learning paths, but what Bill does is more about relationships and how you can strengthen them in a family, and then tying that back to the bread and butter work of the school.
What sets Bill apart is that he is a very gifted storyteller. His message is highly relevant to families and, rather than being a model where you have the expert broadcasting to the assembled masses, Bill likes to draw on the expertise in the room. His is a much more genuinely interactive style.
He also comes from a ‘strength’ approach whereas often people who work amongst parents and families come from a perspective of ‘we are going to fix you because you don’t know about this stuff’. Bill doesn’t make those assumptions; he lets the learning come out of people’s stories and experiences.
A high number of Yea High School families went through the 2009 bushfires. Many have been counselled and ‘welfared’ a great deal. So they don’t need that approach; their shutters go up. Parents have said that Bill’s work was pleasingly not a counselling session and they appreciated that.
“Bill Jennings’s positivity stands out as unique”
Julie Valentino, Parent Participant
Marcellin College, Bulleen VIC
You are a fantastic person. I could never have hoped to have a better mum than you. Thanks for doing everything a mum does. You mean the world to me.
It’s a card I will treasure for a long time, as my son is usually a boy of few words! It demonstrated to me what an important impact the evening had on strengthening and building our relationship.
Bill Jennings’s positivity stands out as unique. He is an energetic, engaging and down-to-earth presenter; he speaks in terms that you can be familiar with regarding family.
You feel like you can share and be open because Bill is open to sharing his own thoughts and ideas. He has people from past programs there who share their stories as well, so you immediately get that intimate feeling, and that you can open up and express yourself easily.
When you get into the small groups, you hear other people’s stories and you feel quite comfortable to be able to share how you feel about your son and the transition to Year 7. In our small group there were people who’d found challenges as well as positive circumstances and they were able to express both.
I found it quite easy to open up.
“The education that Parents in the UK have been wanting but has never before been delivered”
John Weitzel, Deputy Head
Loughborough Grammar School, Leicestershire UK
When the programme for the IBSC Conference in Melbourne in 2012 arrived there was a workshop on ‘Time & Space’ and as I sat and listened to Bill I knew that this time the idea of a Lads & Dads Camp must not be forgotten and on returning ensured that one was planned for summer 2013, which turned out to be a huge success. I also remember thinking that the rest of his parent-son programme wouldn’t work in the northern hemisphere!
Bill arrived ‘by accident’ during the summer term and as he described in a little more detail how his programme had developed from his first Lads & Dads camps it was clear to us if we were serious about the importance of parent-son relationships in a boy’s education then just having a camp was not sufficient.
One of the many things the IBSC had taught us was that there were no longer any physical boundaries in the world of education. It seemed perfectly natural to us that if we were to deliver such a programme we would want the best person to deliver it, even if it involved flying him half way round the world for two evenings! Thus last November for the first time in the northern hemisphere a parent-son programme was not only delivered but, remarkably remembering my reservations back in 2012, gratefully received by English parents and boys alike. The two evenings could not have been more successful.
Working with Bill was equally delightful. The complete professionalism and quality of the programme through communication with parents; ‘YouTube’ clips; training senior boys, staff and parents; running the evenings; providing feedback etc. was outstanding. One thing more than anything else indicates his attention to detail – a few weeks after Bill returned to Australia a package arrived with individual references for the senior boys who participated.
As I come to the end of a lifetime in Boys’ education what Bill delivered was the ‘final piece of the jigsaw’, providing the education that Parents in the UK have been wanting but has never before been delivered.