About Us


We are former primary Head Teachers working together to support school leaders.

Between us we have been Head Teachers of eight schools, ranging from small village schools to large 3-form entry primary schools. We design and deliver leadership development programmes, provide school leaders with support, facilitate Head Teacher appraisals and generate really useful and practical resources for leaders at all levels.

We aim to offer solution-based approaches to leadership challenges whilst retaining flexibility in a rapidly changing educational climate.


We support leaders in schools to work
efficiently and effectively

We work with leaders at all levels with the intent of enabling leadership effectiveness to be enhanced and sustained. We create easy-to-use tools which have been tried and tested in schools, with up-to-date materials enabling schools to use them to provide high impact time efficient evidence.

  • Provide school leaders with workable, up to date and practical solutions for a range of leadership functions
  • Provide bespoke consultancy provision designed to enhance the quality of leadership across the school
  • Faciliate positive connections so that schools take greater responsibility for their sustained improvement
  • Practical solutions for a range of leadership functions
  • Tried and tested, simple effective tools to monitor quality of teaching over time
  • Expert resources and guidance from professionals in the field
  • Highlight areas for improvement quickly and efficiently

View all products

The Teaching Over Time
Evaluation Matrix

Gather, process and report on the quality of teaching over time efficiently and effectively.

Learn more

Need help to improve the quality of teaching in your school?

Alistair Shaw and Nicki Bell are former Head Teachers and accredited leadership coaches. Talk to them today to discuss
how OLS can help your teachers maximise their potential.


    alistair shaw

    Former Primary Head Teacher &
    Accredited Leadership Coach

    As a former primary Head Teacher of three substantive posts and one interim headship, I now enjoy my role in providing independent consultancy support and challenge to leaders at all levels in a wide range of context. I am former School Improvement Partner (SIP) across four Local Authority areas, Ofsted and Diocesan Inspector.

    I am an accedited and experienced leadership coach and employ a coaching approach to much of my work with the school leaders. I have trained many leaders to become effective coaches and facilitated the implementation of a coaching culture in a number of schools.

    I continue to facilitate and lead the review of Head Teachers’ performance since its introduction in 2001, across many part of the country. I am tuned into the needs of governors with regard to this and offer training to governors who are new to the process. I have assisted the development of governing bodies in many areas of governance.

    nicki bell

    Former Head Teacher

    I first became a Head Teacher in January 1995 and was  substantive Head Teacher of three schools and an interim Head Teacher of a fourth. Between my last two headships I worked for four years for a national training company in Cambridge that was, at that time, an affiliated centre for the National College. I was responsible for rolling out a number of a national programmes in the East region, including Leading from the Middle.

    I retired from headship in 2016. My final school was a three-form entry Infant and Nursery School in Birmingham judged by Ofsted to be an outstanding school. We were federated to our adjoining Junior school which was the lead school in a Teaching School Alliance, (TSA) and I was heavily involved in the CPD element of this.

    My career has offered lots of opportunities to do exciting things. I was a seconded National College Associate for four years supporting school leadership in the West Midlands. I have been lucky enough to write and deliver leadership training in many different places, the two most distant being in the Middle East and China.

    I now have two roles.  I am Director of Primary Education for a Trust for 40% of my time and the rest of my working life is freelance, frequently working with Alistair. We write and deliver training for leaders, at all levels, in primary schools and develop resources to support head teachers with many of the bureaucratic tasks of headship. Alongside this I do a lot of 1-1 support of schools, acting as an Improvement Partner, supporting HT performance management and providing CPD.


    “A real time saver – I can report on the quality of teaching as I am undertaking my monitoring work. It saves me hours of writing up.”

    Head Teacher from a Nottingham Primary Academy

    “TOTEM provides me with transparency and accountability across the school. The graphs and charts enable me to report to governors at the press of a few computer keys”

    Head Teacher from a Doncaster Primary School

    “I use TOTEM extensively because it is efficient and constantly “live”. I can instantly generate an overview of the quality of teaching in my school”

    Head Teacher from a Staffordshire Primary School

    “Teachers like TOTEM because they can see their up to date profile and they can see their next steps”

    Head Teacher from a Walsall Primary School

    Comments are closed.