Professional Learning in Australia & New Zealand

Helping you strengthen learning outcomes for your students

Our team partners with pre-K-12 schools and districts to improve learning outcomes for all staff and students.

We have consultants in seven countries, including the Australia and New Zealand, combining international expertise with local understanding.

We help our partners achieve their professional goals through a mix of institutes, workshops, coaching, demonstration lessons, impact evaluation and online courses.

Reach out to discuss how we can help you.  Please feel free to email me, or fill out the form below.

Contact Us

Emma Robertson

General Manager for Asia Pacific
T: +61 457 632 398
E: [email protected]

Who do we support?

We work in pre-K-12 educational settings, including individual and groups of schools; districts; at risk, charter and academy schools. We guide teachers, leaders, support staff, and administrators. When partnering long term, we also work with parents and community members.

Why choose us?

Our consultants are expert teachers and leaders who will inspire you, give you lots of practical strategies, and coach your team until your aims are achieved.

We’ll even put our money where our mouth: give us any group of students, any age, and we’ll demonstrate some of the best teaching techniques working in practice.

What's the impact of our work?

First and foremost, we can help you to improve your learning culture. This includes:

  • Ensuring your students use feedback brilliantly
  • Improving your students’ attitudes and approaches towards challenges
  • Stoking curiosity and engagement in all classes
  • Building collective and self-efficacy
  • Strengthening social and emotional learning (SEL)
  • Deepening learning so that students build robust and relevant attitudes, skills and knowledge

Through our continuing multi-day and long-term projects across the USA & Canada, there have also been gains in school ratings and student grades; a decrease in staff and student absence, as well as student behavior referrals; and a growing sense of efficacy and professional joy across school districts.

What makes us different?

  • All our consulting work, books and resources are unified by a clear set of values and themes, making us the very antithesis of the bandwagon companies with their scattergun approach! Professional learning with us will always be consistent, clear and galvanizing.
  • We have a core team, employed full time to deliver outstanding support to our partners. You will always know who to contact and how they’re going to support you. No longer with you need to juggle a wide range of 1099’s. As one of our long-term partners likes to say, cut one of our team and they will bleed Challenging Learning!
  • Our founder and CEO, James Nottingham is the creator of the Learning Pit. Our Managing Director, Carmen Bergmann has been a teacher, leader, and regional superintendent, and holds a doctorate in education. We also work closely with professors Carol Dweck (Mindset) and John Hattie (Visible Learning). All of this – and more – ensures we bring a rare blend of academic rigor and practical expertise that sets us apart from the rest.

”The Learning Pit team have the skills of explaining the complex in a way which is accessible and inviting. They are 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 big bag of guilt to weigh you down.”

Professor Mick Waters
President of the Curriculum Foundation in the UK

Upcoming Events in the US and Canada

Common Questions & Answers

How does Challenging Learning link to Standards?

Challenging learning is intentional in developing resources and professional learning that will persist over time and are applicable in and scalable to all situations. Learning Standards, however, change periodically and are not consistent across all systems. What we have seen in our work with school, is that when there is a common purpose and language of learning in a community and when students are consistently challenged, they are more engaged in their own learning. When students have more engagement in the learning process and understand the value of challenge, the content in the standards can be used to collect evidence of the positive impact on student learning.

Why should I choose Challenging Learning rather than another provider?

Our consultants work with us full-time, allowing us to bring a consistency of values, processes and strategies that are remarked upon time and time again. This model contrasts with many other educational consultancies who tend to be sole traders or loose affiliations of many sole traders.

We invest in our team by challenging, encouraging and coaching throughout the year, as well as coming together every six months – all 30 staff from 6 countries – to focus on vision, values and recent research. Our consultants stay current through pro bono work in a variety of classrooms and contexts; and our office staff are always a central part of all our professional learning. Engage with us and you will meet a team serious about learning who never take themselves too seriously. We’ll send you consultants with ‘Challenging Learning in the blood’ and our office staff will be just as dedicated. We’ll support you with preview documents; progress reports; teaching resources; and a named point of contact. We’ll be on hand when you need us to reassure, challenge, inform and encourage. Choose us and we’ll prioritise you from start to finish.

What does an international company know about my state?

Over the last 15 years, Challenging Learning has successfully supported over 450 schools in 11 countries. We have learned a lot about the various nuances associated with different schools. We also have team members from different parts of the world who make it a priority to learn as much as possible about the education structures in their area. More importantly, we focus on learning and learners, and the basic tenets of successful learning are strikingly similar the world over

Does Challenging Learning work in Canada?

Challenging Learning has proven to work in any context because of our focus on shifting the culture of learning, which can be done in any place where there are structures built to support the change. Our resources, our process, and all of our workshops are designed to provide participants with research-based strategies and approaches that can be used in a variety of ways depending on the context and the experiences of the educator.

What’s the best type of professional development for my team?

Get in touch and we’ll help you decide! We’ll ask you a few questions about your context and your aims, then offer some suggestions for your next steps. We won’t push and we won’t offer you a pre-formulated package. Instead, we’ll listen carefully to your thoughts and then help you design the best blend of resources, support and consultancy that builds capacity and leads to significant and sustainable improvements in teaching, learning and leadership.

Recommendations from the North American Team


Engaging in a Challenging Learning Process is our number one recommendation. It is this process that sets our company apart from the rest. The CLP is a process, not a program; we have no pre-determined scripts. Instead, we begin by understanding your context and strengths, and then design a process that will perfectly match your starting point and your agreed vision for the future. Improvements will be embedded at every level: leaders, coaches, teachers, support staff and parents.

It is this process that is leading to the most powerful gains in our partner schools worldwide. So, if you really want to spend your time and resources wisely, then a CLP is the best solution for significant and sustainable growth.


Keynotes or PD days (online or onsite) with James Nottingham or Martin Renton will give you the best insight into the ways in which Challenging Learning can strengthen the lives of your staff and students. They are known the world over as two of the most engaging and thought-provoking speakers in education. Their presentations are characterized by a rare skill for blending arresting anecdotes, hard-edged research, gentle good humor and practical advice into truly compelling narratives.


Access our published and online resources to begin understanding straightaway the positive impact Challenging Learning can have on your staff and students. Our team have created 100+ lesson resources to help you guide your students through the Learning Pit. There are eleven books in the Challenging Learning series. We will be hosting book studies, and many of our blog posts have been written by our US team or are focused on the North American context. Highlights as follows:

• Blog Post: Challenge to Change
• Book Study: Coming soon!
• Lesson Resource: What makes a good president?

Stronger Learning for Stronger Lives

Contact Us

Stronger Learning for Stronger Lives