In such a fast-moving sector, CPD has never been more important for education leaders. Educated Yorkshire brought together heads, business managers and teachers together with experts from around the country to share expertise, experiences and discover something new.
From 3D printing to healthy eating, there was something for everyone in the exhibition hall. We got a taste of space from Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, learned about safe routes from Sustrans and found that Prevent was the biggest e-safety worry for teachers talking to LDD Group.
Ahead Partnership presented on their education and business partnership programme, Make the Grade. CEO Stephanie Burras brought together a panel including Brandon Jones from First Bus, Annette Hall, CEO of White Rose Academies Trust and Neil Clephan, headteacher of Roundhay School. The panel discussed how partnerships can mutually benefit schools and businesses, bridging skills gaps and forming relationships. Make the Grade started with a handful of schools in Leeds, Burras explains, and has now expanded from Yorkshire into the West Midlands and London. Partnerships are tailored to the individual parties involved and involve 18,000 students.
L-R: Brandon Jones, Stephanie Burras, Annette Hall, Neil Clephan
Annette, from White Rose Academies Trust, said that partnering businesses with three schools in Leeds – described as being based in “challenging communities” – had a profound effect on students’ outlook: “We shifted perspective on what was achieved in the community.” Brandon, offering an employer’s perspective, said the benefits were certainly mutual, as “there is a clear link between a prosperous community and a prosperous business.”
Another highlight of the day was learning about the coding revolution happening in schools across the country. Software engineer Linda Broughton explained the concept of Code Club, a nationwide network that pairs volunteers with schools to teach their specially-developed projects in their own time. Linda sees coding as an integral part of tomorrow’s careers, saying: “I want everyone to be part of conversations on our future world.”
Code Club’s enthusiastic ambassador is Jill Wood, head of Little London Community Primary School in Leeds. Jill tells delegates that if they do one thing as a result of the conference, it should be to set up a Code Club. It’s totally free and based on both the school and volunteer giving their time. Her year five and six students attend the club, which is oversubscribed, and is proud to be helping develop the “workforce of the future”.
Overall, it’s an inspiring day and, despite teachers’ increasing pressure on workload, #EY15 was time well spent.