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www.afaeducation.org               REPORT BY JANE EMERSON, LEARNUS COUNCIL

I was fortunately invited to attend this conference by Professor Sonia Blandford, CEO, Achievement for All. It was one of the most interesting conferences I have ever attended and also very enjoyable.

We were welcomed by Professor Blandford and the day was faithful in its aim of ‘Every Child Included’. She explained the vision was a plan in partnerships for Aspiration: I can, Access: I do, Attainment: I have, and Achievement: I am. Apart from the key speakers, a number of young people ,headteachers and parents were actively involved and spoke on the stage, and a children’s choir entertained us all in several lively and moving songs.

The first speaker was Sir Kevan Collins, CEO, Education Endowment Fund. He explained that the fund had invested one million in 70 schools and funded another 70 as controls for the interventions to give the most important gift of the ability to read and write. He emphasised that funding in education matters. He said that education is not like rocket science, it’s much more complicated.

Next, Ollie Forsyth, a young dyslexic entrepreneur  spoke, and he warned the audience to never bully a nerd, as they might end up working for one. He was badly bullied at school but has gone on to found The Budding Entrepreneur Club: 
HYPERLINK "http://www.tbeclub.com" www.tbeclub.com which has already built up an impressive network of young people and mentors.

After that, Dame  Alison Peacock spoke from the Chartered College of Teaching. She spoke of the spirit of kindness combined with Dialogic Learning to impart pedagogical subject knowledge and sharing across specialisations.

Next, Gary Wilson spoke about  his book on Raising Boys’ Achievement by breaking down barriers with a theme of Who Cares Wins. He spoke of BOBS: Boys On Borderline and how he had set up Peer Police to help boys. He spoke of calling out deliberately, ‘ You Stupid Boy! ‘ and 20 of the young men he was working to help, turned around. His mission has been to turn around the negative labelling of boys. Once he contacted a famous store asking them to remove the T shirts in their window which said ‘I’m Lazy and Proud of It! ‘ They did.

In the afternoon there were various workshops available, including a panel discussion led by Brian Lamb OBE. Later there was another panel about Looked After Children, led by Stephen Munday, CBE. True to the day, an adopted schoolboy spoke about his successful experiences so far.

The conference was inspiring and led one to follow up many new leads in the search for following one’s interests and passions in the field of education.

Jane Emerson
SENDCO Support Adviser
Member of Learnus Council