The Story Makers Company
We provide expertise, support and guidance for a range of Schools, Educational and Community Settings in developing creative arts practice.
Our experienced staff are all trained teachers, academics and creative practitioners.
Debra Kidd has worked in education for 25 years, teaching children from the ages of 4 right through to post-graduate Master's students. She trained initially as an English and Drama teacher in secondary before making her way into primary and has been an AST, Head of Department, Assistant Head and Senior Lecturer along that way. She has worked in both mainstream and special settings.
Debra is an Associate for the Royal Society of Arts and for Independent Thinking Ltd. She is an Artistic Director with the International Schools’ Theatre Association and has worked with young people creating theatre all over the world as well as delivering CPD programmes to IB teachers. She has also been involved in education in more disadvantaged areas including the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and is involved in education projects advocating for the rights of refugees.
She is the author of two books: 'Teaching: Notes from the Frontline' and ‘Becoming Mobius’ and a third , co-authored with Hywel Roberts - “Uncharted Territories: Great Adventures in Learning” – is due for publication early in 2018. She has also contributed chapters to seven other books, is a regular columnist for Teach Primary and Teach Secondary and has written for The Guardian.
In 2014 Debra co-founded Northern Rocks – one of the largest teaching and learning conferences in the UK. She has a doctorate in Education, blogs regularly and believes more than anything else that the secret to great teaching is to “Make it Matter”.
Hywel’s reputation has grown hugely since he stepped out of the classroom in 2009. He has found an incredible and innovative niche in the world of model teaching contributing to and advising curriculum designers and innovators from Barnsley to Brussels, from Cairo to Cleethorpes. Hywel is as at home in front of hundreds of Headteachers on the conference circuit as he is when working with EAL children on the carpets of their classrooms. Hywel contributes to the national conversation around education at school and university level. He is an experienced teacher in Special, Primary and Secondary settings, nationally and internationally. He is also a well- respected author and contributes regularly to a variety of publications.
Hywel contributes to the Masters programme in Drama and Creative Writing at Leeds Beckett University. As well as contributing to University Education programmes in Sheffield, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Durham and Wolverhampton, Hywel still works with children, keeping his insight fresh, current and useful. His work deals with curriculum liberation, creative practice, engagement, leadership, literacy, teacher development and Imagineering – the liberation of the art of teaching.
In addition to working in schools, Hywel is a regular contributor to conferences including The Sunday Telegraph Festival of Education, Northern Rocks, Practical Pedagogies in France, and The University of Belfast Thinking Conference. He is also in demand as a conference keynote speaker working alongside colleagues such as Mick Waters, Karen Ardley, The Real David Cameron and Estelle Morris as well as associates of Ian Gilbert’s Independent Thinking Ltd, an organisation he is very passionate about. Hywel has recently worked for the National Galleries in Edinburgh, The Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield and the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds as a visiting teacher.
His award winning book ‘Oops! Getting Children to Learn Accidentally’ is published by Crown House Publishing and has proved very popular with educators around the world and now is a feature on the reading list of many university teacher training courses. His next book ‘Unchartered Territories’, written with Dr Debra Kidd, is published in Autumn 2017. He writes a regular column for the Times Educational Supplement. Hywel is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
He was recently described as ‘..a world leader in enthusiasm’.
Burley Woodhead CE Primary School Deputy Headteacher and Year 3 teacher, Andrew is very interested in how a whole school approach can help teachers to develop their pedagogy around using drama to inspire children with their learning. Most recently he has led a UKLA funded project with partners at Leeds Beckett University with the dual purpose of developing teacher’s pedagogy around drama for learning while developing children’s agency in their writing. Over the years he has been involved in action research projects with CAPE UK and Osiris Educational. He has delivered drama sessions to the Masters course on Drama and Creative Writing at Leeds Beckett University, as well as workshops to B’ed undergraduate students. Andrew is also as a Specialist Leader in Education for the Eden Teaching School Alliance.