On February 21st 2022, we welcomed teachers, experts, senior leaders, educators and influencers from all over the world, from all areas of education from EYFS to FE. All coming together for one purpose; to create change.
To kick things off we had our keynote speaker Gavin McCormack. Gavin’s presentation ‘it takes a child to raise a village’ was beautifully presented and had us all entranced from the very beginning; the chat box was going crazy! Gavin took us on a journey through his Montessori schools. The culture and learning environment they have created is awe inspiring and surely an idyllic place for a child to gain an education. Children are encouraged to take control of their own learning, to tap into their passions and creativity. Gavin’s ‘the answer is always yes’ mythology stirred up some response from our attendees who initially worried that this practice could create chaos and unrest amongst the classroom. ‘On the contrary’ as Gavin explained, by trusting your children you are allowing them to feel responsible for their own behaviour, to make their own decisions and choices, sure this takes patience and self control, to step back, but the results can be a harmonious classroom full of discussion, debate and with a buzz of energy where young minds are exploring and learning.
Gavin compared his classrooms to that of business giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, all alight with chatter and alive with creativity and ideas in a relaxed, informal environment where individuals can express themselves without restrictive timetables and rules. The purpose of our conference was to Create Change, allow all young minds to succeed in learning, Gavin McCormack is already achieving this.
Myself and Rebecca presented on ‘What is Creative Learning?’ We explored the many benefits creative learning can have as a teaching tool to staff and students. Creative Learning is cross curricular - take the topic of Space for example, this comes under the subject of Science, we use a stimulus that inspires discussion, speaking and listening, this comes under English. We may use a starter using number patterns and problem solving, this falls under Maths. Children are using Drama techniques and Dance skills to recreate the solar system and by working in a range of social groups demonstrating soft skills such as communication and cooperation, this falls under PSHE. There we have covered 6 curriculum subjects in 1 creative learning lesson. It is also this way of teaching which allows children to find their preferred learning method, each lesson has opportunities for visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners. What we are all in agreement with is that children need to take control of their own learning, by covering all learning styles all children are included, therefore feel safe, engaged and ready to learn.
Creative Learning is child led, mirroring Gavin’s discussion on stepping back, creative learning supports children to be left to discuss, think and create work completely independently. All children succeed, there is no wrong answer! Sure, the children have a learning objective and they will achieve it, however how they get to achieve this is their own journey, their own interpretation. We could literally go on all day aence to the conference and its title - Creative Learning supports mental health and well-being.
When you create a safe learning environment you are allowing for children to express their thoughts and feelings, they feel safe to share and perhaps open up around any worries they may have. All four strands of wellbeing are being met; Social through using a variety of social groups. Intellectual through teaching and learning a topic. Physical through using skills and movement to explore the topic and Emotional by encouraging children to be creative without fear of getting it wrong, you are ensuring that all children feel success in learning. bout the benefits of Creative Learning (which is why it is our business!) but in refer
Grow Your Mindset
Next we had the wonderful ladies from Grow Your Mindset. Gemma Sanchez and Liz Cronshaw are the founders of Grow Your Mindset, a company that motivates and inspires individuals to be the best version of themselves by embarking on an exciting journey of mindset development. Their presentation titled ‘Get the culture right and influence growth’ explored how changing the way you think, that in turn changes your emotions and behaviours to be more productive and positive. Whether you are 4 or 104, Grow Your Mindset tailor their work to meet your needs, with a range of exciting workshops, accredited training sessions or 1:1 coaching. Gemma and Liz couldn’t be with us live but sent a brilliantly made recording of the outstanding work they do with schools and businesses, they even got us all reflecting on our own mindset through asking thought provoking questions!
Following on from GYMs, we had Fabienne Vailes whose poignant, visual presentation again had us all focused on every word, her passion and care to make a change was so clearly evident! Fabienne who is an educator of FE, author of ‘The Flourishing Student’ and co- author of ‘How to grow a grown up’ a well-being expert and parent of 2 boys, presented on what makes students flourish and languish in education and in life. Fabienne shared with us her 7 years of research and hours of conversions on her Flourishing Education Podcast. After seeing first hand the affects the current system has on young minds, Fabienne is committed to create change.
Susan Hartley, co-founder and owner of Yoginis Yoga Training Ltd, joined us from her holiday abroad! Talking about well-being and mindfulness Susan discussed 'What is wellbeing?' what affects it and how you can improve your wellbeing. Susan closed her presentation by getting us all up on our feet and practising what was preached by joining in with some yoga inspired movement, leaving us all re energised for the afternoon!
After lunch we had Mr Kevin Holland. Kevin is the Director of Schools Network at the University of Bolton for Educational enhancement, Kevin is also an Educational coach for Mindspan. Kevin's presentation was titled ‘Developing student agency to support their development and well-being’ . Kevin spoke about coaching students to understand themselves, with a focus on their own wellbeing “because if they’re not at least 7/10 personally we cannot expect more than a 7 in school” This presentation was insightful and inspiring, underpinning the focus of the conference.
Amy Kovic is head of PSHE at The Winston Churchill secondary school. Amy shared with us the work she and her colleagues are doing at their school to create change, which is nothing short of outstanding!! Her presentation titled ‘Life after Levels’ demonstrated the work she is heading up currently in their school. As a school they have identified that in order to support each individual student they need to prioritise time - something schools are in short supply of! Amy and her colleagues have an incredible programme that tracks the students in specific development areas and have regular progress meetings with both students and parents, like Kevin's presentation, this allows students to take control of their own learning journey, reflect and make improvements themselves, by treating each student as an individual Amy and her colleagues are supporting their wellbeing and allowing them to flourish in education. We were all in awe of the wonderful work they are achieving through this programme. They are making the change right now, treating each and every student as an individual and allowing them to take control of their own learning journey, discovering their strengths to prepare them for ‘life after levels’
To close our conference we couldn't think of anyone better than the inspiring Jane Hannah from Healthier Happier You. Jane supports individuals, young people and businesses on their journey to becoming healthy and happier. Jane discussed the importance of something many of us forget ‘putting the oxygen mask on yourself first’, discussing the importance of self care! What a perfect way to end a perfect day. We all left feeling inspired, motivated, informed and re-energised, ready to continue our vision to create change; allow all young minds to succeed in learning.
We welcomed 5 innovative businesses who shared with us the unique offerings each of them have to make a positive difference to children’s lives! The passion shone through from each of them, thank you Andy Beeston, Lucy Bellingham, Katie Le Feuvre, Alex Murray and Marc Kings!
Thanks to our partners Succeedin Ltd and our sponsors without whom we couldn’t have made this happen; Paul Dorkings from Your Guardian, Adam Beecher from Yellow Brick Mortgages and Cavell Koo from Bespoke Health Insurance.
If you would like a recording of the entire conference, get in touch email@example.com