The Magenta Principles



Mike Hughes is best known as the man behind The Magenta Principles. He first coined the phrase back in 1994 and since then has introduced countless teachers to the approach through both his workshops and Magenta publications. He continues to offer Magenta training both face to face and remotely. His new book, Embedding Magenta, will be available from December.

A former secondary headteacher, Mike is currently working freelance and over a period of many years has developed a deserved reputation as an inspirational and innovative trainer/facilitator. He is widely regarded as a leader in the field of learning. 

Mike has recently written his first children’s story, Emba the Elephant, which is available as both a picture book and a children’s musical. It is a story with an important message about inclusion making it ideal for both assemblies and as part of a wider PSHE programme.

Welcome to Mike Hughes Education Training and Support.

Mike Hughes is a brilliant balance of thought-provoking and practical. Simply excellent.

Paul Wainwright – Assistant Head Teaching and Learning, Archbishop Blanch School

Following our inset day looking at the Magenta principles, I have noticed an immediate impact. There was an overwhelming feeling that the ideas made sense and because of which they were achievable for all teachers regardless of their subject area or experience.

John Naylor – Deputy Head, Brinsworth Comprehensive School

It was then I came across the Magenta Principles and we have never looked back.
For me, Magenta is a culture. Not only that, the approach is practical and real and provided us with a vehicle that enabled us to translate vision into practice. 

Susan Campbell – Principal, Clonturk CC, Dublin

Mike Hughes has worked with us closely for ten years and has had a major influence on our practice. His work with us has been inspirational and helped make us a teaching school before Teaching Schools were thought of.

Adam Chedburn – Executive Headteacher, Whitley Bay High School

The best bit about Mike’s event was that it reminded me why I became a teacher and what I love about teaching.

Justine Connolly – Carlton Le Willows Academy

One of the key strengths of working with Mike on coaching has been that his knowledge and expertise in this area meant that he could tailor the course to meet our specific needs. The coaching training that he has provided has not only changed the way in which we approach CPD but has had a real impact in improving the quality of teaching and learning.

Yvonne Adshead – Assistant Headteacher, Simon Balle School

The annual conference with Mike is frequently referred to by both NQTs and their mentors as the highlight of our NQT training programme.

Geraint Bevan – Carmarthenshire LA

My birthday was spent at a voluntary twilight inset with Mike Hughes… worth it? Yes! Inspired? Absolutely.

Sabrina Handy – Coventry TLP

Professional dialogue has simply erupted since we started working with Mike.

Sandie Roberts – Head Teacher, Mount Street Primary School

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Buy Now - Mike Hughes ETS Education, Training, and Support - The Magenta Principles

Emba the Elephant

Mike’s new children’s story, available as both a picture book and a children’s musical is available here.

The Magenta Principles™

“if our goal was to make learning an engaging, student-centred experience then the Magenta Principles was the vehicle that enabled us to get there.”

Adam Chedburn, Headteacher – Whitley Bay High School 1993–2014

Buy Now - Mike Hughes ETS Education, Training, and Support - And the main thing is... Learning
About Mike
First and foremost Mike is a teacher having taught in secondary for 18 years, most recently as a secondary Head. Indeed, anyone who has read his books or attended one of training sessions can immediately see that he has spent a considerable amount of time in the classroom. Not surprisingly, he has a widespread reputation for being both practical and realistic.

In addition to teaching, Mike has also found time to:

  • Work in an advisory capacity for Gloucestershire LEA (teaching and learning)
  • Facilitate on the New Visions programme for recently appointed headteachers
  • Work as an NPQH trainer
  • Be a PGCE course leader
  • Train as an Ofsted inspector
  • Write an extensive range of educational publications and resources
  • Provide training and support to a huge number of teachers and schools both in the UK and abroad

Mike’s work is hugely varied and tailored to fit the needs of the individual school / teacher. Anyone considering working with Mike is invited to contact him to discuss their requirements and explore possibilities.

To give you a flavor of his work…


He works predominantly in three inter-related areas:

  • Teaching and learning
  • Leadership development and leadership for learning
  • Coaching

Group size

Anything from 1 to 500+ For example:

  • whole staff groups, clusters and networks
  • teaching and learning working groups
  • coaches, senior leadership teams, middle leaders
  • individual teachers, NQT conferences,
  • Headteacher organisations.


The possibilities are endless: keynote address staff training day twilight inset a programme of on-going support. Some schools invite Mike to run an inset day while others have worked with him for a number of years.

The Magenta Principles

“Children should leave a classroom at the end of a lesson knowing, understanding and being able to do more than when they came in.”
Mike Hughes – Lessons are for Learning 1997

Improving teaching and learning

  • Getting to good
  • Good to outstanding
  • Beyond outstanding
  • From knowing to understanding
  • Focusing on the things that make the difference

Engagement, pace and challenge

  • The engagement triangle
  • From occupied to engaged
  • The importance of task
  • The zone of challenge

Consolidating learning

  • Metacognitive questioning
  • Memory techniques
  • Worthwhile and effective plenaries

Developing active, independent learners

  • From answering to asking
  • Curious children
  • Teach less – learn more

Engaging reluctant learners

  • Dealing with “I can’t do” attitudes
  • Behavior for learning
  • The keys to motivation

Quality questioning

  • Planning for better questions
  • Managing classroom dialogue
  • From ping pong to pinball
  • The importance of elephants

Developing professional capacity

  • Thinking on your feet
  • Self-reflective practitioners

Observation for improvement

  • Observation tools and templates
  • Using video to aid self-reflection
  • From feedback to dialogue
  • Information Driven Dialogue

Leadership for Learning

Leadership for learning

  • Keeping the focus upon learning
  • Creating a learning culture
  • Teachers as learners
  • Promoting professional dialogue

Leading CPD

  • From event to process
  • Making CPD effective
  • Making the most of internal expertise
  • Using video as a self-reflective tool

Effective observation

  • Observation tools, techniques and templates
  • Feeding back to move forward
  • From feedback to dialogue
  • Information Driven Dialogue

Leadership styles

  • The leadership spectrum; red, blue, purple
  • Done to done by done with
  • Achieving the carrot/stick balance
  • Style for context

Leadership tools and templates

  • Strategic thinking
  • Identifying the barriers
  • Productive effort

The leadership skill-set

  • Coaching for leaders
  • Challenge and support
  • Avoiding the ABC
  • Developing leadership skills – listening and language

Creating effective leadership teams

  • From group to team
  • Developing leadership throughout the organisation
  • Developing the key middle leadership tier

Working with people

  • People and change
  • Managing change
  • Working with reluctant colleagues
  • Challenging leadership


  • Introducing and embedding coaching
  • Coaching: Why? What? How?
  • The coaching spectrum – where coaching fits
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • When and when not to coach

Whole school models and approaches

  • Developing a coaching culture
  • Getting started
  • Organising coaching
  • Coaching as an integral part of CPD
  • Coaching as an ongoing process

Coaching skills

  • Structuring a coaching session
  • Developing specific coaching skills
  • Listening differently
  • Coaching language
  • Questioning
  • Dealing with limiting beliefs
  • Working with reluctant colleagues
  • Coaching masterclass – advanced coaching skills

Coaching tools and templates

  • Observation for coaching
  • Observation tools
  • Establishing reality
  • Information Driven Dialogue


  • Developing professional communities
  • Teachers as learners
  • Action learning sets
  • Coaching and action research
  • Coaching and video analysis
  • Coaching students
  • Developing coaching skills in students
  • Coaching as a teaching tool
  • Coaching as a pastoral tool
Contact Mike
Mike’s work is hugely varied and tailored to fit the needs of the individual school/teacher. Anyone considering working with Mike is invited to contact him to discuss their requirements and explore possibilities. Please include the name of your school in your enquiry.


+44(0)7833 030 987

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