The North of England Education Conference, the country's most prestigious education conference, has been running for over a hundred years, and has always attracted the key professionals from education. However, since the introduction of Children's Services Departments, the NEEC is now aimed at all the professions within Children's Services, the major partners who help deliver Every Child Matters, key politicians as well as those engaged with research and higher education
The Conference was chaired by Sir Michael Bichard who recognised that within us all is the potential to learn more, grow spiritually, contribute to society and build communities. This potential needs identifying, developing and nurturing in young people. It is the responsibility of all the professions who work with them to foster this potential and enable young people to value who they are and to be comfortable with themselves and others. Such professionals are rewarded by seeing young people grow, and by learning themselves about the joy of education and a future full of hope.
The Conference theme "unlocking children's potential"focused during the morning on developing a deeper understanding of poverty and well-being, imagination and writing and poetry and assessment for learning. Professor Jonathan Bradshaw's session on 'Understanding Child Poverty and Child Well-being' provided some real challenges. Andrew Motion, the previous Poet Laureate's session on imagination, writing and poetry, explored the urgent need to reinforce the requirement that all young people are emmersed in language, writing and poetry to stimulate the imagination and create human beings who are rounded and literate. My morning finished with Dylan Wiliam, Deputy Director of the Institute of Education,'s session on Leadership and Learning in a Changing World which actually was all about school improvemnet and the key role of assessment for learning an professional development.
It was great to see so many old friends at the Conference and to spend such a stimulating and enjoyable morning in York.