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Leo Winkley, BSA Chair and Headmaster at St Peter's School

Full steam ahead

The preparations for the annual BSA Conference are underway, so BSA Chair, Leo Winkley, looks at what the event has in store

Posted by Hannah Oakman | December 23, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

It’s ‘full steam ahead’ for the BSA’s Annual Conference for Deputy Heads and Heads of Boarding. The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) brings together like-minded individuals from member schools who aim to inspire, enlighten and connect with issues that matter within the sector. This particular event has been running for the last 20 years and typically attracts over 120 delegates who are committed to ensuring their boarding school community is the very best it can be. 

The event begins with an evening registration on Wednesday 25th January, followed by a drinks reception and an informal dinner where colleagues have the opportunity to network. BSA Chief Executive Robin Fletcher will lead the agenda on Thursday 26th January with his presentation titled ‘The Big Boarding Picture’ where he’ll offer analysis of the sector. The Headmaster of Eton College, Simon Henderson, will then present the aptly-named ‘Steering a Super Tanker’ talk which will shed light on how his esteemed institution has been able to manoeuvre so successfully into the 21st century. 

As mental health and wellbeing are always top of mind in our schools, Deputy Heads and Heads of Boarding need to deliver strong leadership and the ability to create a mentally resilient school; a sentiment that is echoed by Caroline Hounsell, Director of Partnerships and Business, MHFA England. As the BSA represents over 75,000 international boarders, it continues to support the growing market of overseas boarders by providing information and guidance. For those schools with a foreign cohort, or looking to expand their reach, Phil Hardaker, Principal of International College Sherborne, will share valuable advice.  

Other discussion groups include senior boarding with Chris Seale, Deputy Head, Millfield School, and prep boarding with Annie Lees, Headmistress, All Hallows Prep. Relevant and timely topics such as abuse and radicalisation prevention will be on the agenda, as well as advice and guidance on how to protect your school’s valuable reputation and how best to manage a crisis situation. 

The Boarding Schools' Association brings together like-minded individuals from member schools who aim to inspire, enlighten and connect with issues that matter within the sector

The future of boarding, home and abroad, will also be discussed by Barnaby Lenon, Chairman, ISC, who will close the conference on Friday 27th January. 

The conference is one of the first major undertakings of the new year; the BSA is also actively promoting the #iloveboarding campaign in 2017 with the world’s first boarding bus – a literal boarding room on wheels. The bus debuted in November at the Independent School Show and was a resounding success; parents and children alike took in the built-in bed, desk and refrigerator as well as ample shelf space for personal items. 

Decorated as a boarding room (think photos, plush pillows and sweets) potential boarders hopped up onto the bed, sat at the desk to put puzzle pieces together and eagerly asked their parents what boarding options are available. 

Good, modern, British boarding is admired the world over and this year we thrilled to take the BSA boarding bus on tour around the UK to celebrate our #iloveboarding campaign. Students report that boarding enhances their school experience, develops soft skills such as tolerance and collaboration and helps them make friends for life. 

We’re taking that message on the road.

Visitors were keen to learn that the BSA promotes ‘good modern British boarding’ with over 550 member schools in the UK and overseas. The bus, decorated just as colourfully on the outside as it is on the inside, will be touring the country next year as staff attend numerous county shows to share the benefits of boarding. 

In addition to the conferences and social media campaign, the BSA also hosts a number of day seminars through the year with expert speakers and thought leaders in their field. 

For more information or to book on to an event please visit www.boarding.org.uk 

W: www.stpetersyork.org.uk 

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