If Not Now, When? By @TeacherToolkit

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This is a blog about resilience, tolerance, failure, revision and exam motivation. I take inspiration from @DrDanNicholls‘ blog, If not now, when? Raising Achievement and have used his blog to create an assembly based on these themes. I would like to thank Dan for his resources.

You can download my full adaptation here on this blog, for free.

The 1%:

I open my school assembly – designed for 14-18 year olds – I ask students if they are a Yes or a No person? This is supported by the following quote … and with two definitions of the word, ‘tolerance.’

“It’s an universal law, that intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education.”


If Not Now, When? Assembly Resource

I then share the 1% theory with students and take inspiration from Sir David Brailsford;

“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together” Dave Brailsford (2012)


Searle Brothers Relive Barcelona Gold:

The 1% performance is supported by the following video:


I share some of my own failures as a student.

If Not Now, When? Assembly Resource


I then share some of my own life-events and how this has shaped me as a person. How I have learnt to become resilient. How has the reader overcome difficulties? Your students?

I challenge students with two key questions taken from the Searle brothers’ video. Many students found these two questions very inspiring.

  1. If Not Now, When?

  2. If Not You, Who?

These two questions can be applied to all challenges in life we all face; revision and mindset.




I introduce Mindset to the audience with the following video.

Let’s Do the Maths …

I remind students that “There is NO such thing as a free lesson!” (especially sixth form students), and work out a few simple sums for the audience. This leads on to revision and memory, discussing concepts from Malcolm Gladwell (10,000 hours of mastery) as well as Hermann Ebbinghaus and his Forgetting Curve.


In the final part of the assembly, I pose a number of questions to students;

  1. What if you had no time left?
  2. What if superheroes believed they could reach their potential?
  3. What if you were more responsible for your results?


Exam Season Quote:

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

Muhammed Ali


I hope you find the resource useful for your own assemblies. Click the image to preview the full resource.

If Not Now, When? Assembly Resource

You can download my assembly here. Feel free to adapt. My only request, is that you respect my personal images.

Copyright Licence

Creative Commons License
@TeacherToolkit Ltd. by Ross Morrison McGill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on all work published at TeacherToolkit.me


In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

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