About Me

Until December 2019 I was CEO of the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust. A trust in Blackpool including Christ the King and St. Cuthbert’s Catholic Academies – primary schools – and St. Mary’s Catholic Academy is an 11-18 school.  Currently I engage with schools and school leaders as a speaker, author and tutor on the National College of Education Senior Leaders Masters Programmes. I was chair of the Headteachers’ Roundtable Group from 2014 to 2021.

My first book was titled Liminal Leadership and is available via John Catt Ltd or Amazon.  Liminal Leadership is based on my reflections of thirty years of leading and learning. A very personal book it describes my own journey as a leader and what influenced it. The book concluded with three key bridges – Beyond focus to flow; Beyond Informed to wise and Beyond Ethical to Humane. It is written for teachers and leaders who want to reflect on their current or future practice.

Click me to order

I had never intended to write a second book but during the first COVID-19 Lockdown, from March to May 2020, I completed Educating with Purpose: The Heart of What Matters from a whole series of notes that I had written over a number of years. The book is available from John Catt Ltd and Amazon. The notes looked at the “why” of education, via four key philosophies, and the curriculum impications as viewed through Dylan Wiliam’s Seven Curriculum Design Principles. I used these as a basis to reflect on the current direction of educational travel in England and propose key issues we need to address following the generational “Great Pause” caused by the pandemic. The video below highlights the four key philosophies underpinning the purpose of education.

My career started in Blackburn at Notre Dame Catholic High School in September 1988 with the school amalgamating the following year to form Our Lady & St. John’s Catholic High School. Following four years as Head of Science, at De La Salle in St. Helens, I was Deputy Headteacher at Our Lady’s Catholic High School, Lancaster. 

In September 2013, I became Executive Headteacher of St. Mary’s Catholic College and Christ the King Catholic Primary School.  These two Blackpool school’s first hard federated in January 2009.  Previously I had been the headteacher of St. Mary’s Catholic College from September 2000 and thirteen years of headship have been a real rollercoaster of a journey.  St. Mary’s is a hugely exciting place to work.  We know we need to go the extra mile with our students, staff’s generosity and willingness to work with and for students whilst supporting each other adds to the wonderful ethos that permeates the school.  Whilst at St. Mary’s I was very involved with the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust.

I am fascinated by leadership, learning, pedagogy and the curriculum and these elements have been intertwined throughout my professional life so far.

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” – Ralph W. Emerson

“Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose.” – G.K. Nielson



27 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Thank you very helpful you tube videos

    Posted by Lilian Ogunbiyil | January 2, 2015, 5:27 pm
    • Hi Stephen
      I heard you speak last week st the St Ninians conference. It’s the second time I’ve listened to you and I think you’re very inspiring. I asked about encouraging/improving reading. You said your schools have a list of books all pupils read. Could I ask you to send me a copy of the book list as a starting point for us please? Thanks Patty

      Posted by Patty Williams | March 28, 2019, 8:13 am
  2. Morning
    I love reading your blog / not in a stalker way
    As exec head of two schools facing the current issues in education , your realism and honesty are very helpful

    Posted by Sarah Lee | January 24, 2016, 8:32 am
  3. Good morning Stephen,
    I have been given your contact details by Teresa Roche who met my mum last night!
    I currently work in Sheffield but have a house in Ansdell so am looking to get into a school in the North West. However, this is proving to be tricky! I wondered if you would be able to help me please? I’m on half term from Fri 5th Feb – 13th Feb so would be able to meet with you. If not I can send you my CV or/and ring you.
    Kind regards

    Posted by Frances Lilley | January 30, 2016, 8:39 am
  4. A very forward thinking leader, it was a pleasure to work under Stephen Tierney at St Mary’s. An enlightened view of education should be at the core of everything teachers do, the drive mechanism should be progress informed by thinking, not by government meddling.

    Posted by stuart robathan | April 19, 2016, 9:01 pm
  5. Goodmorning.
    As a previous student at St. Marys I always think where I have come from and everything that I learnt.

    Now as a teacher myself I continue to look at your blog/twitter page and learn new things!

    I would like to thank you for giving me the foundations and inspiration to a great career. Without St. Marys I’m not sure where I would be today.

    Gemma Norman

    Posted by Gemma Norman | April 21, 2016, 9:17 am
  6. Hi Stephen,

    I can see how much you appreciate using data effectively and I’d love speak with if you had a moment.

    Our new website http://www.pinpointlearning.co.uk has been pretty successful since it launched in December and will look to be a key tool to help schools with the new 9-1 assessments and curriculum.

    A quick 30 second explanation.

    Schools or students upload the individual question marks from any past paper, new spec sample or specimen paper and we create:

    1) Personalised paper booklets for each student full of tailored 9-1 exam questions on their top 5 individual areas of weakness from each exam. (We are a big believer that paper based resources are still at the heart of good practice in schools).

    2) A page displaying class progress in each topic across all tests taken, categorised by AO1/2/3 strands, have a quick look here. Students also have their own page to pinpoint their revision.

    3) Personalised 20 minute retests on the 5 easiest questions students got wrong in any mock taken.

    I was just wondering if it would be possible to get 5 minutes of your time?

    Many thanks indeed,

    Dr Tom Quilter

    Posted by Tom quilter | June 14, 2016, 9:04 pm
  7. I have tried to print your Callaghan speech comment but cannot. I am running a seminar on the speech in the lords on 17th November. Please send me a postal contact address and I will send you our briefing – only in hard copy at present.

    Trevor Fisher

    COnvenor, Symposium on Sustainable Schools.

    Posted by trevorfisher2 | November 2, 2016, 7:29 pm
  8. Enjoyed reading the summary above and finding out about your contribution to leadership today at etc Venues. Anna

    Posted by Anna Savva | March 16, 2018, 7:31 pm
  9. Hi Stephen,
    Liking your blog and leadership/evidence based focus. I wonder whether you can spare a few minutes to look at materials we are developing to ensure DSLs have evidence at their fingertips and give us some feedback.

    A good starting point is safeguarding.network/resources – you’re welcome to browse, but the insights section is perhaps of particular interest.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Posted by John Woodhouse | December 26, 2018, 8:30 am
  10. Hi Stephen,

    I’m keen to get in touch with you to ask you about a speaking engagement we would love you to do.

    I don’t know the best way of contacting you hence trying this!

    Would you be able to email me and I can explain a little more to see if you’re interested.

    Posted by Rachel johnson | January 24, 2019, 11:42 am


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