The Independent Schools Physical Education Conference (ISPEC) returned to Bryanston School in April this year, after a year’s hiatus to Tonbridge. The conference proved to be very successful, with delegates able to fulfil continuing professional development across more than 20 sporting disciplines and forums over the span of the two-day event.
The organisers of ISPEC, all of whom are teachers in the independent sector, pride themselves on providing the most competitively priced CPD course for independent school sport in the UK. Set in delightful grounds and making use of the excellent new sporting facilities of Bryanston School the full programme of ISPEC, designed for senior and prep schools, lived up to its billing of being unrivalled in the opportunities that it offers its delegates.
Whether it was the traditional school sports of rugby, hockey, cricket, football or netball, or more niche games like badminton, volleyball or handball, those attending this conference had experts in their chosen fields delivering the various sessions. That could have been in the form of current England rugby coach Russell Earnshaw, Surrey Storm netball coach Dani Mugridge, former Great Britain decathlete Darren Hatton, or any of the other coaches; such was the wealth of knowledge on hand to impart to the delegates.
The cost of the conference to delegates is kept as low as possible each year through the generosity of companies who pay to take part in the trade exhibition which is a mainstay of the event. The exhibition allows those companies access to a wide variety of schools, and provides an excellent chance for them to widen their networks. The exhibition, coupled with the black-tie dinner which follows it, extends that networking opportunity, and it is no surprise that many companies return year-on-year to take part in ISPEC.
The generosity of sponsors also helps keep costs to a minimum, and special thanks this year have to go to OPRO, Gilbert, Absolute Performance and MSG Tours for their contribution in helping ISPEC 2018 be the success it was. Delegates at the 2018 conference were also given exclusive access to a kayaking and coasteering experience, provided by the conference partners Land & Wave.
ISPEC is organised for teachers by teachers, and has been since its inception almost 50 years ago. Current Chairman Ben Moir has seen the development of the conference into its present incarnation where, as well as the practical elements of coaching being catered for, delegates are able to take part in forums where they can discuss challenges and opportunities they face as well as share good practice. Keeping ISPEC current and relevant to teachers is a vital part of the programme and the conference relies on delegate feedback to plan future events.
Looking ahead to ISPEC 2019, Ben Moir along with the rest of his team, is hopeful of a major event to celebrate the conference’s golden anniversary – 50 years of excellent CPD for teachers. That event will take place at Bryanston once again in April 2019, between the 15th and 17th. It would be brilliant to see as many teachers as possible there enhancing their professional development, having fun while doing so, and building their networks as well as their expertise. It promises to be an excellent opportunity for many.
To learn more, visit: ispec.co.uk