Sheffield’s Hallam Festival of Education, to be held in June, is aimed at celebrating developments and sparking debate over emerging challenges.
Today, speakers are revealed to include the Children’s Commissioner for England, Yorkshire-born Anne Longfield OBE as well as former Education Secretary Baroness Estelle Morris.
The region is leading the way in developing new ways of thinking to give young people the best start in life, festival organisers say, as anticipation builds ahead of its launch.
There is much to celebrate about education innovation in Yorkshire, adds Baroness Morris, a life peer in the House of Lords.
“It is always a welcome initiative to bring people together, to share ideas and challenges about the future of education and the Hallam Festival of Education comes at a key time,” she said.
“Whilst there is concern about the funding situations in schools, there is also a great deal of good work and new ideas that must be nurtured so that they can shape our future school system.
“The festival provides an excellent opportunity to bring together academics, teachers and all those interested in education to learn from each other and for this to have a positive impact on the children and young people in our schools.”
The TES-sponsored festival, over June 14 and 15 at Sheffield Hallam University, is curated by social mobility programme South Yorkshire Futures.
This initiative is aimed at helping to improve attainment and raise aspirations for young people across South Yorkshire, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Described as the biggest and most ambitious social mobility project of its kind in the country, the project is backed by the Department for Education.
Some of its key successes have seen a collaboration over teaching training provision, a major focus on teacher retention, and the launch of talent banks to support school governance.
The festival, shining a light on such ideas, is aimed at sharing best practice and challenging ideas.
Additional speakers to be revealed today are Shadow Early Years Minister Tracy Brabin MP, Sir Tim Brighouse, former Schools Commissioner for London, former Schools Minister David Laws, and Amatey Doku, deputy president at the National Union of Students.
They will join over 100 other speakers, groups and organisations from regional to international education systems over the course of the two days.
Greg Burke, director of South Yorkshire Futures, said it was a huge boost to see speakers of this calibre secured for the festival.
“Our region is taking a lead in developing new ways of thinking and working to ensure we can give our young people the best possible start in life.” he said.
“The festival is a fantastic opportunity to bring together influential figures from the English education system, alongside our colleagues on the ground, to ensure we keep encouraging and developing innovative solutions for challenges around attainment and aspiration.”