Blunkett looks forward to ‘cutting edge’ conference

FORMER Education Secretary David Blunkett has said that a major conference in his home city of Sheffield will give teachers and education leaders the chance to share ideas and challenge policy they think is heading in the wrong direction.

Labour’s Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP will be the president of the North of England Education Conference taking place in the new year.

The annual conference, which was held in Leeds this year, attracts leading experts, education leaders, head teachers, and academics from around the world.

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The conference being hosted in January by Sheffield Hallam University is entitled Mind, Brain, Community: Inspiring Learners, Strengthening Resilience.

It is being organised by Sheffield City Council and both Sheffield universities.

Guest speakers include leading scientist and Sheffield Hallam chancellor Robert Winston and Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw.

Mr Blunkett said the event will explore the cutting edge thinking, new ideas and innovative practice that will shape the future education landscape, “both in and out of the classroom.”

He said: “Over generations the North of England Education Conference has built up a reputation for both the quality of the presentations, and the depth and value of discussion and networking. Back in the 1990s when I was shadow Education Secretary and in the four years that I held the post in Cabinet, I was pleased both to contribute and to have senior members of my team...learn from as well as contribute to, the discussion,” he said.

“This is an opportunity for people to share best practice, to
initiate new ideas, and of course to be challenged to not only engage with further improvement, but also to question policy
and practice which is perceive
o be heading in the wrong direction.

“I certainly will want to offer challenges to local authorities and their children and young person’s directorate, to governing bodies and trusts, to head teachers as well as to central government.

“The future is ours to make or to break, and this conference offers an opportunity to open up those essential issues on which the future of our children, the development of their talent and the contribution they make to the wellbeing of our economy and prosperity will be built.”

The conference, now in its 109th year, will take place from January 16-18 at Sheffield Hallam University.

Last month Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and families, said the event would attract a host of internationally-recognised speakers has attracted top educational professionals, head teachers and academics from all across the UK.