About George Telford

Senior Consultant, Regional Project Manager (Oceania)

George Telford has spent 33 years working in the Victorian Education Department, firstly as a teacher and then as a school principal. In 2016, he joined Challenging Learning full time as a Consultant and Director of Operations in Australia.

Originally from Northern Ireland, George emigrated to Australia at the age of 12. After leaving school, George trained as a Physical Education specialist before making the move into classroom teaching. In the 1990s, the parents at his school nominated George for a National Excellence in Teaching Award.

In 1995, George did a teacher exchange to Vancouver, Canada. On his return, he moved into school leadership and has led schools ever since.

In 2008, George heard James Nottingham, the Director of Challenging Learning, speaking at a Principals Conference in Melbourne, VIC. He subsequently invited James to work with his school, leading to an annual visit lasting 8 years and counting. The emphasis of this work has been on school vision, challenge, feedback, progress, Philosophy for Children and Growth Mindset. Through this journey of development, George has built considerable expertise and insight into really making the most of all of these approaches. That is why James invited George to join the Challenging Learning team in the first place – so that other leaders and teachers could benefit from George’s passion, expertise and understanding.

With the backing of a High Performance Principal’s Grant, George has spent time in Europe, working with schools in Scandinavia and the UK. He has toured with Carol Dweck, the professor of psychology behind the world-renowned Mindset theory. And he has trained as an accredited de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats trainer. George has also presented to business groups on behalf of the Department of Education, as well as to principal groups and schools. These have been very well received.

The philosophy and practice of Challenging Learning is at the core of the development work George has led at his most recent school, Yinnar Primary School in Gippsland. This learning journey has seen the school population grow from 140 to 208. It has also led to regular visits to the school from teachers all around the world, eager to learn together, particularly in the areas of mindset, feedback and the language of the learning.

George continues to be a mentor and coach to a number of Victorian Principals, both in an official and unofficial capacity. He also enjoys hitting a little white ball in as few strokes as possible, and to being the father to 3 wonderful, grown-up daughters. He continues to hone his Growth Mindset and resilience through his undying support of the St Kilda Football Club!

George welcomes invitations from leaders and teachers to support them in the development of Feedback, Challenge, Teaching Thinking, School Vision, Coaching, The Learning Pit and P4C.