The Independent Schools PE Conference returns this year from 11th-13th April. The conference has been running since 1970, and is organised by teachers for teachers, focusing on bringing physical education & games teachers from preparatory and senior schools together for a series of professional, developmental workshops.
The main aim of the conference is to allow teachers to experience a range of activities, delivered by experts in their field who understand and can relate to an educational environment as opposed to just working with elite athletes.
ISPEC looks to cover the major sports being delivered by all parts of the independent sector, as well as curriculum areas such as gymnastics, cheerleading, physical literacy, volleyball, strength & conditioning, athletics, and squash.
The committee has worked hard to establish relationships with a large and varied group of highly qualified and experienced coaches, and recent Conferences have seen Tosh Askew, Karen Atkinson, Keith Medlycott, Brett Garrard, Ben Ryan, Paul Holder, Caroline Park, Darren Hatton, John Ireland, and Sarah van Wely deliver the CPD sessions to the delegates.
The ISPEC committee consists of teachers representing all areas of the independent sector, in terms of age range and gender. Currently the committee is made up of teachers from Longacre, Dolphin, Bradfield College, North London Collegiate, Reed’s, Bancroft’s, and Reigate Grammar. This wide range of teachers from across the spectrum of independent schools is key to the conference’s success in providing a balanced programme for all.
ISPEC is a fantastic networking opportunity enabling PE and sports teachers from around the country to meet and share good practice.
Over recent years the Conference committee have been working to develop relationships with organisations such as ISA, IAPS & ISFA to gain further recognition and support from national bodies. Fran Hide (IAPS) shared the following comments:
“ISPEC had an extremely warm and welcoming feel throughout, which reassured me that our IAPS schools would be welcomed and feel at home right away at future conferences. The conference programme was diverse and would certainly cater for the wide range of schools we currently have in membership at IAPS. I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience at ISPEC and hope to work with Ben and the ISPEC committee to encourage more IAPS schools to attend in future years.’
In addition to the lectures and workshops, the Conference also includes a trade exhibition, allowing nearly 40 exhibitors covering all aspects of the sporting industry, including clothing, software and photography, and equipment to show their wares. The exhibition also provides an environment for networking for both delegates and exhibitors.
ISPEC has also attracted a number of high profile sponsors, including OPRO, Serious Stuff, Travel Places, Impulse Ski Racing, and Absolute Performance, all of whom are invaluable to the conference, as they allow the committee to deliver an extensive & comprehensive programme at an affordable price.
Since its inception, ISPEC has been a non-profit organization, and this in addition to the fact that this two-day residential conference allows delegates to cover CPD for up to seven individual disciplines, is also cheaper than the vast majority of one-day conferences that cater for just the single subject area.
All involved with the conference are very much aware of the value in providing contemporary and up-to-date coach education, and academic physical education opportunities, as well as unrivalled networking occasions, as espoused by a prep school Director of Sport:
“ISPEC is a fantastic networking opportunity enabling PE and sports teachers from around the country to meet and share good practice. The workshops and CPD sessions on offer are of an extremely high standard and I always come away from the conference with a multitude of new ideas and techniques to try out in my lessons.”