Teachers are urged to 'hit new heights' as Sir Ranulph Fiennes visits Stoke-on-Trent
TEACHERS preparing for the new school term have been inspired to become leaders – thanks to a pep talk from one of the world's greatest living explorers.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes was in Blurton yesterday to address staff from 11 Stoke-on-Trent schools and sign copies of his latest book.
In a training day at Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy, Sir Ranulph, who lives in Cheshire, spoke about his life as an explorer and told of his struggles and achievements.
The 68-year-old was the first person to completely cross Antarctica on foot.
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In 2003, three months after having a heart attack, he then ran seven marathons across seven continents in seven days and three years ago he climbed to the summit of Mount Everest.
Sir Ranulph, who was taking time out of his 2012 tour Everest, Eiger and More, said: "The audience was concentrating on the word 'leadership' and 'inspirational pioneering' so the talk was autobiographical about my adventures over the last couple of decades.
"I have made a living through expeditions, some of which were failures which I consider lessons learned."
The visit was organised by the Beaconsfield Drive academy.
Staff from 10 feeder primary schools were also invited.
Academy Principal Mark Stanyer, below, said: "Over the last couple of years we have been working with the feeder schools in our area because we want to improve the life chances of young people in this area and improve our partnership with each other.
"So we decided to have a joint training day because we want to make sure we have outstanding lessons all the time and we thought we needed someone to inspire us all before the beginning of term."
The academy has introduced a house system for its pupils with all houses being named after great explorers, including Sir Chris Bonnington, James Macarthur and Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Mr Stanyer added: "The academy attempts to teach learning through adventure in the classroom and who better to inspire us than Sir Ranulph.
"He was absolutely phenomenal and is a very inspirational man.
"He has been an intrepid explorer for over four decades and has pioneered some of the most impressive explorations the world has ever seen.
"We want our staff to believe that everybody has the ability to be a leader."
Staff also listened to talks from Stoke City chief executive Tony Scholes and Sir Stanley Matthews's daughter, Jean Gough, as part of yesterday's staff training day.
Sir Ranulph also signed copies of his book Beyond the Limits.
Details of his latest expedition are due to be unveiled at a media launch later this month.