Thank a Trainer: Sharon Gray

10th June 2022 | Blogs

"Shifting the paradigm can make such a positive difference"

Each month, we celebrate the valuable role our Thrive trainers play and share messages of thanks from the delegates they've supported. 


Thrive Trainer Barbra Davis


Thank a Trainer Interview: Sharon Gray

Q1. Please tell us about your career journey and what led you to becoming a trainer for Thrive.

I first came across Thrive in 1998, having taken the role as headteacher in an SEMH special school in London that was facing closure.

I attended a conference with Margot Sunderland and Julia Bird and was quite frankly inspired. I went to thank them, and we ended up chatting about my role and some of the challenges I faced. They explained that they were looking for schools that might like to pilot what was then called Enable. Needing all the help we could possibly get to ensure the school wasn’t closed I jumped at this chance.

Wow, what a privilege to have myself and our whole staff team trained in this Approach. The impact was phenomenal. The school wasn’t closed, and in 2007 it was judged by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’.

The Thrive Approach very much scaffolded and supported the approaches that I took after that.


Q2. How do you feel about being thanked by your course delegates for the role you’ve played in their development?

It is always an absolute pleasure and privilege to meet and journey with the incredible delegates on training and CPD courses.

Indeed I find it incredibly humbling and am a little embarrassed to have been named. It is the work of our delegates to celebrate – their creativity and relentless solution-focussed approaches to championing the needs of all children.

I am not sure that any one person should be thanked as such, everyone involved is to be celebrated – the stoicism, commitment, care and compassion shown by all is stunning. As is the courage to sit with vulnerability and maintain this trauma reducing approach across entire communities.

It is as a result of all involved that we are together facilitating improved wellbeing, emotional health and social development that naturally leads to improved academic outcomes.


Q3. How does this nomination remind you of the impact you are having on the social and emotional development of children and young people?

It is an absolute reminder that shifting the paradigm can make such a positive difference.

I have recently been leading Pupil Wellbeing and Leading Emotionally Healthy Schools courses. Colleagues have fed back how this has led to far more resilient staff and children.

I have also enjoyed leading the Course Leader for Family Thrive training where our licensed practitioners then run sessions with parents and carers. The impact of this work is phenomenal, you only need to look at the Thrive Ambassador Schools to see this.

By embedding Thrive, educational settings can identify children, young people and families that might benefit from additional support. It also enables settings to identify where gaps in development may have taken place. This means that they can help change behaviour rather than just manage it.

As a member of the Youth Justice Board, I am mindful of the preventative work that needs to be undertaken in all settings, and of course to support those children who are most vulnerable.




Q4. What about the schools your Thrive delegates work in? Can you share any examples of how they’ve been able to reduce exclusions, boost attendance or improve learning engagement and outcomes for the children and young people in their care?

There are many settings that I am very proud to have been able to work with, from mainstream schools to specialist settings. I am currently supporting two children’s homes with educational provision to embed the Thrive Approach. Their recent Ofsted report March 2022 stated:

Turnstone House is a secure, safe place where pupils rebuild their lives. […] Pupils make significant strides in managing their own behaviour and emotions in their time at the school."

"Skilled staff teach and support pupils to behave well. Adults spot and react quickly when pupils struggle with their emotions. Pupils make positive behaviour choices. They are polite. Relationships between pupils and staff are very productive and constructive. This creates a strong foundation for pupils to learn and thrive.”


Q5. Why should people consider becoming a Thrive trainer? What’s been the most rewarding aspect for you?

I think becoming a Thrive trainer has facilitated a really self-reflective journey, as well as creating the most amazing opportunity to meet many people that I now call friends; fellow trainers that I continue to learn so much from and with.

The other rewarding aspect is that we are constantly learning, getting the most up to date information around neuroscience and how we can use this information to support adults and children alike.


Q6. And finally, what advice would you have for someone on the fence about taking one of Thrive’s training courses or embedding Thrive in their setting?

Whatever role, responsibility, accountability we have, we can always make a difference. The Thrive Approach enables a framework for this. I guess my question would be, why would you not do this?

I am a lover of reading, and absolutely love a quote or two, so I lean to these;

“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.” – Desmond Tutu

“Have the courage to sit with vulnerability.” – Brené Brown

Over to you

Each month, Thrive will be inviting you to thank a trainer who has consistently demonstrated a high degree of excellence and delegate care. If you've experienced Thrive training and you’d like to thank your trainer, please do so hereIf you're already a Thrive Licensed Practitioner and interested in learning more about becoming a Licensed Trainer, click here for the detail and to book or here to book a 20-minute Discovery Call with Jo Glazier from our Member Services Team. These calls are designed to fit in around your schedule and to give you an opportunity to have your questions answered. We want you to spend your time, your money and your energy wisely so Jo won't sell to you - but she'll help you decide whether or not our transformational Train the Trainer course is a fit. 

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