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James Taylor - SuperStars

James Taylor Photo

Since graduating from Cardiff Uni with a degree in Psychology, James Taylor has launched SuperStars – a business which “helps primary schools to raise standards of learning through the use of specialist subjects.” The business has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2005.

James explains how the business got started. “I had £1,000 for my 21st birthday to go travelling, but instead I chose to spend it on setting up the business. So I got some kit together, managed to get some coaches to come and work for me for free initially, so we could go around schools and start building up the desire for our service. At the time I was living on my friend’s sofa because I didn’t have a couple of pennies to rub together to pay rent anywhere.  We soon started getting contacts with schools. I was running holiday courses, but I needed to find a way to get into schools in curriculum time.”

It was at this point that James came across a new law stating that teachers are required to have 10% of their time away from their class to plan, prepare and assess.
“Head teachers were faced with this headache then of how they were going to cover for the teachers when they’re away doing their planning and preparation”, James explains. “That’s when I went round to the schools and said to the head teachers ‘don’t see this as a headache, see it as an opportunity to get specialists into your school in curriculum time’. So it went from that, five years ago, to a point where we’re working with over 100 schools, working with around 25,000 children a week, as well as running holiday courses”.

James has always been passionate about helping others through the work that he does.
“I’ve worked with children all over the world. Whether it be in America with millionaires’ sons and daughters, or in Africa on a voluntary basis, with children from deprived backgrounds”, James explains. “It was always the buzz that I got from seeing the kids grow and develop directly from the work I was doing with them within sport. I could see I was having that impact on 20 or 30 children at a time, and I wanted to have that impact on thousands and eventually millions of children. And to do that I knew I needed to create an organisation that would attract people that share my passion and belief in developing bright futures for children”.

Although James feels that “to be successful in what you do, you have to have a huge amount of passion for it or it doesn’t work”, he also feels that hard work is key.
“You’ve got to be prepared to work harder than anyone else, and to not necessarily reap the rewards of all your hard work to start with”, he explains. “Work harder than anyone else and take the odd risk. But more than anything, just keep that belief in what you’re doing”.

As well as running the business, James has appeared on BBC’s The Last Millionaire, and is the face of the Welsh Assembly’s marketing campaign for Graduate Start Up Support. Despite being busier than most, James is still keen to expand his empire.
“The plan is to take it nationwide, so we’re currently edging further into England”, he explains. “We’ve also set up a link with Africa where we send specialists out to Africa to help educate children and people in the communities out there about sexual health and AIDS awareness and different things like that, through sport and through drama. So really our aim is to just continue to grow”.

More information on SuperStars can be found at:

www.super-stars.org.uk