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Crown Buildings, Bancyfelin, Carmarthen, SA33 5ND,
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+44 (0) 1267 211345


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Andy Cope

Andy Cope is the author of the famous Spy Dog books, a trainer and keynote speaker. He is an expert in positive psychology and happiness, which led him to develop The Art of Being Brilliant. This is delivered in various forms as workshops for businesses, conferences, teachers and teenagers. It has also informed the thinking behind his brilliant books.

Click here to listen in on Andy’s podcast with Pivotal Education - ‘Being Brilliant!’.

Connect with Andy


Publications by Andy Cope

The Art of Being A Brilliant Primary Teacher

On a good day, being a primary school teacher is…

The Art of Being a Brilliant Teacher

Teaching is an art; with the right techniques, guidance, skills…

The Art of Being a Brilliant NQT

Everything a NQT always wanted to know about starting their…

The Art of Being a Brilliant Middle Leader

The Art of Being a Brilliant Middle Leader by Gary…

The Art of Being a Brilliant Classroom Assistant

The Art of Being a Brilliant Classroom Assistant is a…

Author Blog


September 14 2016

We often get asked (sometimes even heckled) on our sessions, "Is this just about positive thinking?" The really short answer is "no".

But to prove ‘positive psychology’ is very different to ‘positive thinking’ we set Andy W a challenge – lose three stone, get fit and do the Great North Run. Here’s his report...

I can summarize it thus: My legs hurt like hell, I’ve discovered muscles I never had and I don’t think my nipples will ever recover? Yet, what an amazing feeling! 57,000 people all with the same purpose.

And that’s the difference between positive psychology and positive thinking.

Stop thinking and telling everyone you are leading a fab life on social media - it’s eating away the fabric of how human society should be. Get involved in life and STOP documenting it because you are missing the essence of what a human being needs to be happy.

We all stood together. I didn’t have any safety pins so Johnny gave me two of his, we chatted, sang, cried, bled, and most of us made it. A few didn’t.

The only sadness for me (apart from the raw nipples) was that some people had ear phones in.

Anyway, I’ve learnt happiness is about people.

Lots of people have asked me what time I achieved and I tell them, ‘I finished after Mo Farah and before the guy with a fridge on his back.’


Positive psychology is about relationships and giving people the ingredients they need in life to flourish in our crazy world.

Positive thinking is about thinking your life is great when sometimes it isn’t.


There's still time to contribute to Andy's fundraising effort for the NSPCC

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The hierarchy of hugging

September 07 2016

When starting at my new school in April, my head asked me if I would do him a favour – teach Early Years. Surprised, daunted, scared... I said yes, I couldn’t really say no! But I’m so glad I said yes! Early Years is a magical environment, the children are beautiful and my teaching has developed so much more. Every teacher, especially Key Stage 2 teachers, should have a go in Early Years – its amazing CPD!

As part of my development I attended an Art of Being Brilliant talk and learned about the ‘seven-second hug’. Simple science. It takes seven seconds for love to transfer. Andy made it sound very comical, but I immediately knew it made perfect sense.

A couple of months later, I drove to work, parked up, stepped out of my car and heard my name being called out. Screamed out, actually! It was one of the little ladies I taught in Early Years. Thinking about it now, I’m sure she’d qualify for the Olympic sprints. Her eyes were so wide, she ran with such purpose and whoosh, she gave me a ‘run up hug’ full of power, excitement and happiness. I just remember smiling and then giggling. Her little feet crushed my toe because she had run up with so much force but then that teaches me I shouldn’t really wear peep toes in a school setting.

I tweeted @beingbrilliant, sharing my joy about receiving a ‘run up hug’ – the best kind of hug. From this, Andy had written a lovely post about his aspirations of being a grandad who hopes to receive run up hugs.

However, I’m always looking to raise the happiness bar (inadvertently I might add), so let me introduce you to the best hug of all, the crème de la crème of all embraces (drum roll please)... the ‘pick up and swing around hug’. Being petite, I’ve had my share of these hugs. Sometimes, very unexpectedly. Friends taller than me sometimes seemed to have just got caught up in the emotion, they decide to lift and swing. I suppose I’m lucky in a way.

So, after some thinking I’ve thought up a hierarchy of hugging. Normal hugs are good. Level one. It’s as far as most people ever get. A ‘seven second hug’ takes you to level two – it’s a sincere, genuine transaction of love and care. Level three is the ‘run up hug’ - a euphoric, outburst of affection. And the pinnacle of the hugging hierarchy is the ‘pick up and swing hug’ where, because of the transaction of affection, you feel like you’re gliding on the wave of happiness.

I can imagine Andy asking you all to experiment with your hugging – an invitation he could use at his next talk maybe? A word of advice though, it’s important to match the type of hug with the person, so a ‘pick up and swing’ might not be appropriate for your manager, but would be spot on for your niece... or someone of a smaller stature, so you don’t have the risk of breaking your back.

Hugs are important. Whatever form they come in they all have the same universal meaning. One of my ongoing goals is to create a community of huggers. To me that shows the children in my class are developing an important form of intelligence – emotional intelligence. It’s human to hug. Hugs make you happier and help you connect. Hugs are universal – everyone needs them and just like the ‘pick up and swing’, they make the world go around.

Kiran @KSunray3

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