Jamie' dream head, John d'Abbro, reveals his TV motivation – 'the missing 47%'
John d'Abbro and Jamie Oliver'TV head' John d'Abbro with 'chair of governors' Jamie OliverWhat if your staffroom is home to household personalities like Cherie Blair, Professor Robert Winston, Jazzie B, Daley Thompson and Rolf Harris? Not only are they teaching 20 challenging young people aged 16-18 who have not got the best out of their own education, but your TV school is being exposed to millions of viewers through the fishbowl prism of ‘reality TV’?

That was the daunting credibility challenge taken on by John d’Abbro, 'headteacher' of Channel 4’s forthcoming Jamie’s Dream School series. “It was, and still is a nightmare as well as a pleasure,” says John d’Abbro. “But whatever the challenge – and on one occasion I was reduced to tears – I could always rely on backing from my ‘deputy’, Jamie Oliver.

Jonathan BoyleJonathan Boyle, deputy headteacher at Madeley Academy, Telford(Update below) One of the coldest UK winter's in memory wasn't enough for teacher Jonathan Boyle. He's jetted off to Arctic conditions in Russia to spend halft-term supporting teachers in Moscow and Samara with CadCam (computer-aided design and manufacture) and distance learning techniques.

"The weather was minus 25 degrees on arrival and the warmest here was minus 18," he says. "Walking about was outrageously cold but fun for a few minutes. The air has crystals of frost in it that fall and blow in the wind. Winter lasts around nine months and then there is extraordinary heat – last year 45 degrees – so there are two extremes."

Derek Robertson
Games-based learning in Scottish schools is world class, and one key factor is Derek Robertson

At the heart of everything Derek Robertson does in his day job is a calculated attempt to engage with what he describes as a child’s own “cultural framework”.

When students strutted their stuff in the computer games ‘Dragon’s Den’ at the Scottish Learning Festival (SLF) in 2009 observers were stunned by the richness and quality. In 2010 Derek, one of the UK’s top education innovators, demonstrated how children are now producing their own games within the Curriculum for Excellence, work that is supported from the classroom right up to the cabinet secretary for education.

Ollie Bray: Innovator

Twitchy about Twitter? Scared of social networking? Check out Learning 2.0 with Ollie Bray

“It’s funny how these things work out,” says Ollie Bray, depute headteacher, Scotland’s national adviser for learning and technology futures, youth expedition leader, kayaker and mountain bike rider. If there was a ‘Most Influential UK Educator’ award he would be on the shortlist.

As happy using Google Earth mashups to teach geography as exploring the depths of Alaska with students or cycling across the United States, he left England for Scotland to improve his outdoor education qualifications. Twelve years on his peers hail him as a visionary for his pioneering work using internet Web 2.0 and gaming technology to enhance teaching and learning.

John Galloway talks to one of the UK's leading designers for special needs

'The space in between is where you learn'"Innovation can be as simple as using the wrong tools because you don't have the right ones to hand," suggests Wendy Keay-Bright (pictured), Reader in Inclusive Design at Cardiff School of Art and Design.

It is this ability to take what we have and to find new ways of using it, to find fresh purposes for existing objects, that makes everyone a potential innovator. "Starting from what we have and looking at it in a different way," she explains, "and just looking at it because it has particular attributes of it's own, values of its own, without the necessity always to be functioning or problem solving."