Public Speaking Testimonials

John Hoskison is, without doubt, the most inspirational and thought-provoking speaker we’ve ever had the good fortune to hear. His story is enormously powerful, and he tells it with such evident passion and sincerity that one could not fail to be deeply moved by it.

If it was physically possible for John to speak to every young person between the ages of 11 & 18, he could prevent so many people from taking a wrong turn in life. His talk truly makes a difference.

Kendal Mills - Head of Middle School - Stamford School, Lincs

I cannot recommend John’s talk highly enough. I can safely say it is one of the best talks, if not the best talk, I have heard in the last five years. I would go so far as to say his talk was worth hundreds of classroom lessons and pastoral hours. The students and staff were, without exception, captivated and left the talk all the better for listening to John’s words.

Jonathan Arscott - Head of Year 11 PSHE - Tonbridge School, Kent

My students, colleagues and I were moved beyond expectation by what John had to say. His advice and inspiration on how to reach the top of any profession, the importance of hard work and determination and not giving up when things are not going your way were hugely valuable. John’s talk was meaningful, emotional and very powerful – I recommend him as one of the most valuable speakers that we have welcomed to our school.

Kate Dodd - Head of Sixth Form - Badminton School

John Hoskison is a truly captivating public speaker. His frank and honest account of his life is spell-binding and his ability to read and adapt to an audience is second to none. Our year 12's were silent throughout, hanging upon John's delivery, and the question and answer session afterwards proved how much Johns' words had moved the audience and made them think. At MTS we have over 40 speakers every year and John's talk is now going to be one of my highlights; I am already looking forward to next year!

J.S.Bown, Assistant Head of Upper School at Merchant Taylors' School

It was our best attended lecture, with well over 100 students and a significant number of staff attending too. John spoke with passion and enthusiasm and had every member of the audience totally gripped with his fascinating story. His message was extremely well delivered and pitched at exactly the right level. Everyone who attended, left the hall thinking very carefully about how one action can have such devastating consequences. A truly inspiring speaker, whose message should be heard by all! I would whole heartedly recommend John as a speaker.

Tara Smith – Head of Thinking Skills – Northwood College

I would like to thank you personally for an incredible speech that you presented to us the other week. I am sure cases such as yours are rare but you highlighted the reality of what can happen when a person says ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’. I have leant many valuable lessons that I will carry very close through the rest of my life. The benefits of you sharing your experiences so openly with us are vast, and your effect on the school will be felt for a long time.

Head Boy - Tettenhall College

Thank you for coming to Eton and for speaking so eloquently. Your message was perfectly pitched and was received fantastically well by the students and staff. It was invaluable to have your concrete life experiences presented to our pupils in such a riveting way. I do hope you will return next year to help us develop and enrich our boys with your profoundly important life-lessons.

Lawrence Court - Head of Speaker Programme – Eton College

John Hoskison is one of those rare breed of speakers who tells a hugely powerful personal story with no sentimentality but which hits the audience hard. Well delivered, well timed, and with some humorous moments, it’s the story of a life-changing experience which could so easily happen to most people. Having listened to some hundreds of speakers over more than two decades, I highly recommend John Hoskison who spoke over four sessions to parents, staff, and the whole school.

John Thornley - Sixth Form Speaker Co-ordinator – Eastbourne College

I listen to various speakers on a weekly basis because I run the sixth-form lecture programme at Bedford School and I have to say that John’s account of his life engaged me right from the start in a way that very few speakers manage. To speak, as he does, without a single note and hold the audience of seventeen-year-old boys rapt is a strong testimony to his exceptional quality.

Andrew Grimshaw – Head of Lecture Programme - Bedford School

Quite simply it was excellent. Hugely memorable and thought provoking, he really gripped the attention of the girls. "The best one yet" was the opinion of quite a few - including some staff. He really made you think how very quickly your whole life can be transformed just through one careless action, and I suspect hugely opened their eyes about prison conditions. He spoke very bravely, openly and eloquently and there were many salutory lessons for us all. Brilliant - just what they need.

Mrs K Piggott – Head of Lower Sixth – Headington Girls School

John Hoskison spoke at the inaugural Principal’s Lecture at Elizabeth College, Guernsey. His message was poignant, challenging and relevant to everyone in the room, from Sixth Formers to seasoned members of the Common Room. I would recommend John without reservation to speak to any audience. His message about preparation, communication and the consequence of choices was perfectly pitched. He provided the perfect start to our lecture series.

Jonathan Shaw - Vice-Principal (Pastoral) - Elizabeth College, Guernsey

A truly inspiration talk that took our audience on an emotional rollercoaster through John’s life of epic ups and devastating downs. One could hear a pin drop as John examined the extra lengths that winners go to in search of victory and relived the implications of pivotal decision making in scenarios that will confront most pupils at some point. This talk is a must for school assemblies.

Andrew Day – Bryanston School

John Hoskison’s talk to our sixth form has made more impact than any other in this year’s programme of outside speakers. His messages are very valuable, and he is able to communicate with this age group in an impressively direct and engaging way. You could have heard a pin drop during the talk and the applause at the end was heartfelt rather than just polite. Staff who were present were very enthusiastic, and many of the girls commented on how much they had appreciated the talk. Since then, year tens have mentioned John’s talk in an RS lesson, having heard about him from conversations on the school bus – a genuine tribute!

Frances Hedgeland - Head of Sixth Form - Kent College School

John Hoskison’s talk on his life experiences hit the heart strings of so many of our students. One of our U6th lost her life in a related incident, and this naturally hit our pupils and community hard. John speaks in such a way that is heartfelt, but also honest and educational. I am positive each one of our students is now informed about the importance of being able to say ‘no’.

Kerry Walsh – Head of Speaker Programme – St Edwards Oxford

John visited us for the first time this year and we will certainly be inviting him back. Addressing 200 sixth formers on a Friday afternoon is no easy task, but from the outset it was clear that not only is he a very engaging speaker, but also that he has a compelling story to tell. He held the attention of our students for the best part of an hour, using his own experiences to highlight some important life lessons and giving a sometimes harrowing account of what it is like inside our prisons. His central message – that a seemingly perfect life can be turned upside down by one simple mistake – is delivered with great clarity and power. Our students were still talking about his presentation days later – endorsements don’t come much better than that!

Craig Woodgate - Head of Sixth Form - Kingswood School

John Hoskison mesmerised the Upper Sixth with his powerful talk - it is no exaggeration to say that you could have heard a pin drop. The talk is thought provoking, moving and is a must for any Sixth Form.

Matthew Hawkins - Head of Sixth Form - Blundell’s School

John Hoskison talked a lot about coping strategies when you are in a difficult environment and how to achieve the most from your life when everything seems to be against you. It was not just a lecture on ‘do not drink and drive,’ it was a motivational speech on how to deal with life when you make mistakes. Everyone really enjoyed this talk…It gave us a lot to think about and most felt that we could look back on it in the future when things go wrong for us and use it to help us get through difficult times.

Year 13 Pupil – Rugby School

John’s talk was wide ranging and thought provoking over so many different areas. It prompted discussions afterwards on motivation and determination to succeed, and I have found myself referring back to the dramatic impact of his lecture to encourage students to look at the “rule book” of examination technique.

Chris Rayfield - Head of Year 12 – Trent College

I can honestly say one of the best talks I have heard, not only from my time at the college, but also possibly ever. Extremely inspirational and emotional, I feel privileged to have heard John speak.

Upper 6th pupil - Lord Wandsworth College

This was without doubt the best talk we have had for some time. It is indeed an inspiring and thought-provoking presentation that we all enjoyed thoroughly. The lessons woven into his talk were taught with perceptive, gentle emphasis but every student took away something personally relevant and uplifting. We will be booking John again!

Sally Markowska – Head of Upper Sixth - Latymer Upper

Your talk could not have been more appropriate and inspirational. The boys warmed to your style, finding your life-story engaging and powerful. To combine anecdote, real life tragedy and humour within a talk is a real challenge. The boys were genuinely effusive in their praise and, from my perspective, it was an ideal sixth form lecture. You have now firmly established yourself as part of our two-year cycle of talks.

Jimmy Pressley – Head of Sixth Form – Royal Guildford Grammar School

John spoke to a large audience here at Leicester Grammar School. It was the story of his life told brilliantly. He had powerful messages to deliver and he did it in a way that will, I feel, have had a real impact. In simple terms we can all learn something from as John put it 'making one mistake' and 'being too polite'.

My students were full of praise for John, several told me that it was the best talk we have ever had here (and we have a lot). I would recommend John to any school.

Trevor Allen - Head of Sixth Form - Leicester Grammar School

In education we often wait years for that wow factor, pin drop silence. John’s talk gained that almost immediately. His sense of realism, mixed with humour and grace enabled all to access his message. This is an exciting and purposeful talk that I would highly recommend to any Sixth Form, The important messages could really make a difference.

Helen Semple – Head of Sixth Form – Ashford School

John’s talk made an enormous impact: he spoke to nearly 700 pupils in Years 10-13, and his personal accounts kept the attention of every one. His presentation included many of the important lessons he has learned through life: the consequences of an error of judgement; the inhumanity seen during his experiences in prison; and the power of forgiveness, among others. Both staff and teachers continued to discuss his talk well after John had left.

Ben Faust - Head of 6th Form Enrichment - Loughborough Grammar School

John Hoskison’s talk was moving and inspirational and one which will stick in the mind for years to come. The feedback has been brilliant. Yet to meet any of the 100 pupils that attended who did not find the talk fascinating.

Tom Sheddon – Head of Prideaux – Lord Wandsworth College

John Hoskison delivers a powerful and moving message with passion and personal humility. In the context of ‘life lessons’ learned through professional sport he addresses key issues such as the necessity of good preparation, of "knowing the rules" and the importance of confidence and communication skills. It was an extremely useful talk and we have already booked him for next year.

Kate Cayley – Head of Boarding - Marlborough College

John’s visit to address our Year 12 students was a terrific success. He is an engaging speaker who combines an aspirational message about how young people should strive to be the best they can be - with a salutary and moving account of his personal circumstances. The boys here were both intrigued by the story of his life and inspired by his achievements in re-building it. We will certainly be asking John to come and talk to us again!

Stuart Miles - Deputy Headmaster - The John Lyon School

I would have no reservations at all in recommending John as a speaker. He tells his story exceptionally well, and as one of his key messages is that preparation is always the key to success it is no surprise that every detail of his performance is well honed. I cannot imagine an audience that would not be moved by his story.

Tim Borton - Head of Sixth Form - Bishop’s Stortford College

John Hoskison’s talk to our sixth form really captivated the attention of the pupils and made them sit up and think. The openness and honesty about his life experiences has been a great contribution to broadening their horizons and I would have no hesitation at all about recommending him to another school.

Natalie Bone - Head of PSE - Millfield School

John’s story told to over 400 sixth form pupils about taking risks and the consequences was a powerful and moving one. Delivered in an engaging, genuine and thought provoking style it is so relevant and appropriate for our youngsters to listen to. It will touch everyone and make them think, long after he has left. You will not regret inviting him to address your sixth formers.

Dr A. R. Johns - Head of Sixth Form - Bromsgrove School

John, thank you so much for your inspirational presentation to students and staff today. As I hope you detected we were all entranced with your story and the manner and style of your delivery made your messages accessible and captivating. I thank you on behalf of the students who have had a remarkable experience listening to something that was both memorable and deeply inspirational.

Ian MacKinnon - Headmaster - Bristol Grammar School

John told his fascinating story to our U6th and then answered numerous questions – it took an hour which seemed to go very quickly. He spoke frankly about both the highs of his sporting career, and the lows he experienced when his life fell apart. Engaging and very thought-provoking – we will definitely be asking him back.

Owen Morris – Head of Sixth Form - Magdalen College School

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for sharing your inspiring life experiences with us. I am a competitive event rider and hearing you talk about your dedication to your sport and the hard work it has taken for you to succeed as a professional golfer has given me the confidence and incentive to keep working towards competing at the next level.

Your strength, determination and modesty can only be described as incredibly inspiring so thank you so much for your time.

Sixth Form Pupil at Badminton Girls School

John tells a very inspiring and thought provoking account of his life. I am sure all young people would benefit from hearing about his good and bad experiences. Well worth inviting him to your school.

Marianne Sunter - Head of Pastoral - Box Hill School

I would like to thank you for the inspiring and informative talk that you provided to our Sixth Form students. The opening phase of the talk clearly underlined the qualities required for success in achieving your life goals. It was then shattering to hear how one bad decision had such dramatic consequences. Your story provided a fascinating insight into prison life before ending with a wonderful example of how we can all turn our lives around if needed.

Tim Hoyle - Deputy Head pastoral – Warwick School

Mr Hoskison's lecture 'My Life' was enlightening and inspiring. Several of our sixth form students have already asked me if John could return to Colfe's again before the end of the academic year. This is praise indeed and highlights John's ability to engage a large group of young people and hold their attention. Thank you so much for sharing your philosophy and story with us. I look forward to seeing you again next academic year.

Craig Foxall – Head of Sixth Form - Colfe’s School

John’s talk had a profound effect on the students at my College. He showed the skills needed to succeed as a professional sportsman are also applicable to the world of an A level student. Then there was then a twist to the tale that left many of his audience a little stunned, as one girl later told me 'I had goosebumps' when he explained about the tragic accident that completely turned his world upside down and led to a prison sentence. John made his own life experiences very relevant to my students. Hopefully they will learn from his mistakes and remember his wise words well into the future.

Kate Palmer Enrichment Co-ordinator, d'Overbroeck's College

Your talk was very moving and powerful and has had an immense impact on our sixth formers. I hope very much you will come back next year to deliver your talk again!

Meg Fitzgerald – Head of Speaker Programme – Reeds School

It was a talk which most people and especially young people should hear to make them think about the consequences of certain actions that can have a split second turning point on the rest of their lives regardless of age, race or class. It was fascinating to hear a personal account about an issue which can seem so distant and so unlikely to affect your own life.

Pupil Y13 - Notting Hill and Ealing High School

John Hoskison recently came to Alleyn’s to speak to our sixth form. His talk was both absorbing and compelling, conveying the powerful message that the ability to say ‘no’ is something that everyone should learn to have. The students rated it as the best talk they had ever heard and I look forward to inviting him back next year.

Mary Nicoll - Enrichment Co-ordinator - Alleyn’s School

The articulacy and honesty of the lecture captivated the audience, whose questions showed how well they had absorbed his message. It was an extremely powerful talk and we will definitely be asking him back.

David Grossel – Senior Teacher – King’s College Wimbledon

John Hoskison held the pupils attention immediately with a very compelling and thought-provoking story and everybody was extremely focused. I was especially impressed with the added sudden stillness in the room when, in just a few words, his story changed direction. John spoke clearly and articulately to 125 potentially restless boys without the need for a microphone or any other presentation material – it really was most impressive.

Gilly French – Head of GCSE Year – Westminster School

Thank you so much for last night – the pupils were moved and inspired by your talk. It was especially good to be able to combine the positive message about how much hard work it takes to succeed as a professional sportsperson, with the redemptive role that sport can play in young people's lives. Adding to this, the key messages about learning to say ‘no’, your talk offered a great deal of education in the very broadest sense of the word. We will definitely be inviting you back.

Karen Davies – Deputy Head – Cheltenham College

John’s engaging delivery of his extraordinary life story had the students captivated from the outset. He put his message across with considerable clarity without any hint of talking down to, or hectoring the audience. We have had an enormous amount of positive feedback and would not hesitate to recommend this talk to others.

Mark Aldridge – Deputy Head Sixth Form – Trinity School

John’s address to pupils, parents and staff on our Speech Day in Truro Cathedral was both heartfelt and thought provoking – he set the scene perfectly. His message about preparation should strike a chord with all those preparing for exams - nothing takes the place of hard work and perseverance. It was also a very good reminder that it often needs courage to say ’no’ at crucial times in our lives.

Caroline Pascoe - Headmistress – Truro High School

John Hoskison delivered a powerful and inspirational talk to our sixth form. He highlighted the need for a positive attitude and how lessons learned in a sporting environment can be used within all aspects of life. His final words focused on the importance of having the ability and confidence to say 'no' and stick to what your conscience tells you.

A pupil from L6, said "I found John Hoskison's talk to be fascinating; hearing about the story of a normal man, his successes…and his time in prison. It was an experience that would make you think twice about acting irresponsibly."

Sandra Hayward – Head of Sixth Form General Studies – St Swithun’s School

This is a talk where sixth formers will really sit up and take notice. It starts off with a fascinating insight into the challenges of career progression, set in the demanding world of professional golf. The story then takes its turn with a terrible mistake and the severe consequences that follow. Our students were gripped by the story and this talk is an incredibly effective means of getting them to consider the results of their actions.

Paul Gillespie – Sixth Form Co-ordinator – Epsom College

The focused attention of the boys during your presentation was palpable and the feedback from students and colleagues of those fortunate enough to attend has been entirely positive. We would be very pleased to welcome you back to Victoria College

Alan Hamel - Deputy Head - Victoria College

John Hoskison was extremely impressive when speaking to our Sixth Form. The students were enthralled with the story of his life and for many it made them think about the potential consequences of their actions. The comments afterwards were very positive. I would have no hesitation in inviting him back to speak to the Sixth Form again.

Alison Saunders - Head of Sixth Form - King Edwards

John Hoskison speaks with passion and authority about his experiences both as a professional golfer and as an inmate in British prisons. He has an engaging style and the sixth form audience were wrapped throughout. His message is clear and the pupils responded with a great enthusiasm, following the talk with a range of interesting questions. I commend him highly.

Richard Salmon - Head of General Studies - Canford School

I really enjoyed the talk John Hoskison gave us. He was a very captivating speaker who was able to engage everyone in his talk. I learned a lot from his experiences, particularly how to achieve things by working hard and putting in the effort. It was great advice for upper 6th students who are working towards university and he should definitely be invited back next year.

Sixth Form Pupil – Woldingham School

Your personal account brought your experiences to life for the sixth form and coming from a similar background, they found it easy to put themselves in your position - and it shocked them.

Other members of staff have told me that they have received very positive feedback too, both back in the boarding houses as well as in lessons. Your talk has clearly been the subject of much discussion today.

When I asked my sixth formers if they recommend that I ask you back in future years they were unanimous and rapid in their response of 'yes’.

Pippa Nelson – Head of PHSE – Charterhouse

John Hoskison's message to our athletes and parents was truly inspirational. His 'Life Story' has certainly left a lasting impression on our community. I've had a number of parents comment on how impressed their children were with his heartfelt message. John's professional and personal life story will certainly open the eyes of many aspiring young athletes. The strength and courage it takes to stand up in front of a large audience and share this remarkable journey is impressive to say the least.

Dave Schuchter - Head of Sport - ACS Cobham International School

A truly inspirational speech to upper and lower sixth formers. It made me realise how privileged I am and the responsibility I have to my parents and the teachers. It was a brilliant speech.

6th Form Pupil - Colston’s School

John Hoskison speaks with passion and authority about his experiences both as a professional golfer and as an inmate in British prisons. He has an engaging style and the sixth form audience were wrapped throughout. His message is clear and the pupils responded with a great enthusiasm, following the talk with a range of interesting questions. I commend him highly.

Richard Salmon - Head of General Studies - Canford School

John visited our school to speak to the sixth form; I wish I’d invited all of year 11 too. His words resonated with every one there, staff and students. A potent mixture of personal experience and lessons for life made a lasting, memorable impression. ‘I will think about what he said every time I climb into a car’, said one student. His strong, direct messages were delivered in a charismatic and powerful way. Students and staff are still talking about the prison experience described. Invite him to your school. You will not be disappointed.

Gill Kinnear -Assistant Head of Sixth Form - Friends School

John tells a quite remarkable story of human fallibility and the spirit that is required to fight back from a place where all seems lost. In the most unassuming manner, he tells a story that is truly shocking and inspiring. He lays bare the simple fact that a seemingly marginal choice can destroy lives and begin extraordinary journeys. His desire to share his narrative with youngsters and to empower them to learn techniques that enable them to say no, when it counts, is inspiring. Having heard him speak, there was no doubt at all in my mind that young people making such choices need to hear what he has to say.

Richard Taylor-West - Deputy Head - Hurstpierpoint School

John came to speak to our sixth form of over 300 boys and had a tremendous impact. He held the audience enthralled for an hour during which he spoke with great passion and was simultaneously enormously entertaining, funny, erudite and challenging. His story is quite remarkable and I thoroughly recommend including him in any schools lecture program, he will certainly be a regular on ours.

Matt Perriss - Head of Lectures - Abingdon School

John Hoskison is a superb public speaker – he was so engaging, impressively spoke from memory and acted out scenes which really brought his story alive. He defied some of the preconceptions that students had about the subject matter and he cleverly tied in material that he knew the students had discussed previously such as whether prisoners should have voting rights. The atmosphere in the theatre as he spoke was extraordinary – the students sat mesmerised and he provoked a remarkable number of questions. His story is incredible and he manages to convey it with dignity and compassion and to leave his audience with a rare understanding of both the realities of prison, but also the risks of decision making and how one’s life can change in an instant. It is a salutary tale, beautifully communicated. We would like the students to hear him every year.’

Coco Stevenson – Head of Sixth Form – South Hampstead High School

Thank you John for coming to Shiplake and giving us such an inspiring talk. You could hear a pin drop in the hall, as you told us about your life and the lessons that you have learned. You have provided us with so much material to develop in PSHE classes. You really caught the pupils imaginations and got them thinking about the clear messages of the talk.

Rob Jones – Deputy Head – Shiplake College

John Hoskison visited our school for the first time in January 2012, to talk to our Upper Sixth. It was the end of a long day for the students and in many cases the last thing they wanted was to be dragged into a lecture theatre for an hour. However, as soon as John began to speak, without a single note or prop or gimmick, they fell silent and were hanging on his every word. After the talk, Housemasters contacted me to say how many students had returned to the boarding house discussing what they had heard, noting the clear impact John had had. John’s message is one that benefits all students about to face big changes in their life: don’t let peer pressure or a silly mistake cost you all the opportunities you have in life; and when things do go wrong, find a way of not giving up on life.

Jon Ross – Cranleigh School – Head of PHSE

As a contribution to the school’s Sixth Form Enrichment Lecture programme, it is certainly no exaggeration to say that John Hoskison’s talk enriched the lives of our pupils here at the Royal Hospital School. Rarely has the pupil body been so attentive. The talk began by lulling the audience into a false sense of security but, with the deft touch of an experienced speaker, John managed to electrify our pupils with the central revelation of the talk. It is a talk which covers so much of the ground which young people need to cover but it is a talk which is also full of humanity and humility. I cannot recommend this presentation highly enough.

Christian White, Head of Sixth Form, The Royal Hospital School

Prep School Testimonials

John Hoskison came to speak to our Yrs 6, 7 and 8 earlier this term. It was a very powerful talk that made a huge impression on all the pupils and staff. We will certainly be inviting him back and I would suggest that every Prep School pupil would benefit from hearing him before moving on to a senior school.

I particularly admired his first class delivery and his fine use of language. Few sportsmen are such good communicators.

Alastair Graham – Headmaster – Hall Grove Prep School - June 2011

John Hoskison’s lecture, given to some 150 boys (Years 6, 7 & 8) was entitled “A Winning Frame of Mind”. He drew on his personal experiences as a young, aspiring tournament golfer and described his setbacks and how he learned from them, emerging a better, stronger sportsman. John also illustrated clearly the parallels between working hard for success in golf and striving for achievements in other areas of life.

He stressed the importance of regular, purposeful practice and of analysing and learning from one’s mistakes. Throughout his presentation he spoke with passion and enthusiasm, with no notes and no visual aids, and he held the attention of his audience completely for thirty minutes; this was followed by quarter of an hour’s Q & A – which could have continued for a lot longer, such was the interest aroused amongst those present. For a self-professed shy man, John spoke with great confidence and eloquence! Without any hesitation I would recommend him to any school looking for an inspirational guest-speaker.

Andrew Bishop - Deputy Headmaster - Summer Fields, Oxford