The Inspiration behind the Festival of Education The Inspiration behind the Festival of Education 1

On Thursday 29th June, our second Festival of Education will take place. We will be bringing together some of education’s brightest minds to inspire headteachers, teachers, business managers and students from primary and secondary schools around the country.

With the event just around the corner, we sat down with Executive Headteacher at The Marches School, Sarah Longville, to find out more about what attendees can expect from this year’s event:

Can you tell us a bit more about the theme of this year’s event, Leadership? Why was this the chosen theme?

“The Festival of Education encompasses a wide spectrum of leadership at all levels, from the children involved in the festival to the adults. We want to celebrate the concept of moving forward in your own learning and having the confidence to lead in every aspect of education you are in.”

“For us, it’s all about giving teachers and pupils the confidence and the toolkits, skills and strategy needed to further themselves personally and professionally.”

What makes this event different compared to other similar events?

“This event is a unique opportunity. The speakers we have confirmed at this year’s event are world-class.”

“Last year, we saw the fusion between young people learning and adults learning. The workshops that happen throughout the day happen in tandem – adults will be in their workshops and hear from keynote speakers and will come out and see active learning taking place with young people involved in similar workshops. This fuses the learning for everybody and makes learning extremely exciting and very vibrant. Everyone involved gets a real sense of happiness, and this positive stimulation is when you are at your optimum for learning.”

“The excitement you can feel at the event I can only describe as ‘lighting fires’, it’s an invigorating learning experience and everyone takes something away from the event that they can develop when back in their own environments – this is when you really see the impact of the event as learning can be brought to life and develop ten-fold afterwards.”


Why are CPD events like this so important for schools to attend?

“CPD events like this are important because they bring national speakers together in one space, on one day for teachers and young people to experience new thoughts, new ideas – to learn together rather than in isolation.”

“It’s especially important in the Midlands so that education professionals from across the region can come together and hear from world-class speakers without having to travel to London or Manchester. For this to happen in a semi-rural setting is not only unusual, but unique.”

Which speakers are you most looking forward to hearing from on the day? Why?

“All of our speakers are incredible in their own right. But personally speaking, it has to be Sir Robert Winston, Andy Buck and Will Ord, but there are also some fantastic business speakers like Robert Forrester from Vertu Motors. His journey to where he is today really stands out to me.”

“I admire and respect Robert Winston and what he has achieved though his life, improving the lives of young people by getting them to understand how the brain functions, to understand at a deeper level how important it is to help and support children’s development in the right ways.”

“Andy Buck’s latest book looks at leadership across a wide range of spectrums, discussing how effective leadership works – something that is extremely useful with all the challenges professionals in education face.”

“Will Ord specialises in helping schools master growth mindset and mindfulness – a hot topic in education as we strive to make sure young people’s mental health is looked after.”

Which single aspect of the event are you most looking forward to?

“It has to be the children’s workshops. There will be a live operating theatre in the Primary Zone (Operating Theatre Live). It’s essentially a portable operating theatre, allowing students to get hands-on with real anatomy in a clinical setting – I might find myself sneaking out of the main hall to go and see it! It’s fascinating.”

“Aardman Animations will also be re-appearing at the Festival this year. Seeing Shaun The Sheep created by lots of different young people was a highlight for me last year, so I’m sure it will be again this summer. The fun and the wonder that the children got from their team was brilliant.”

“There will also be ‘live’ dinosaurs wandering around on the day – delegates can expect to see them anywhere as they are not constricted to a zone, so be sure to keep your wits about you!”

“For older students and secondary teachers, Camp America and a host of Universities will be attending, looking at how secondary students can lead their own futures. There really is something for everyone.”

Why should headteachers / teachers / heads of department attend the Marches Festival of Education?

“The line-up is outstanding. If I could have made a wish list of speakers then this would have been it. It’s an opportunity which shouldn’t be missed because they are world-renowned speakers and their thoughts and ideas will make a significant difference to any teacher attending.”

“Everyone is sure to leave inspired and look at things differently and take away something valuable that can be shared with their colleagues.”


Why should business managers attend the event?

“Business managers should attend because they have the top people from the EFA attending their workshops as well as inspirational speakers such as Robert Forrester, the CEO of Vertu motors.”

“Robert’s journey is extremely interesting and there are lots of useful ideas to take away from his talk – so this is not to be missed.”

“Simon Morales, the Chief Executive of the National Association of School Business Management, will also be on hand to share the most current ideas which are sure to help school business managers navigate their way through what is a very challenging time in terms of funding.”

“Steven Oxenham, fellow of the NASBM, will give a talk looking at wellbeing for business managers and there will also be a whole range of exhibitors for business managers to meet. If that doesn’t sway you, business managers can also attend free with their headteacher – so the value on offer is exceptional.”

Who would your dream speakers be for next year’s event?

Brian Cox and David Walliams.

Pictured– Sir Robert Winston, Andy Buck, Will Ord and Robert Forrester.