Northern Rocks conference returns for a third time with more women speakers

THE ORGANISERS of a popular education conference held in Yorkshire say they are ensuring they have more women speakers this year to make it more representative of the teaching profession.

Emma Hardy-Mattinson at last year's Northern Rocks event. Photo: Jane Hewitt

Leeds will play host in June to the third Northern Rocks conference which was set up by two former teachers who were frustrated that most similar events seemed to take place in and around London.

Emma Hardy-Mattinson, a former teacher from Hull, said: “We thought it would be good to have people driving up the M1 for an education conference rather than driving down it all the time.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Myself and Debra Kidd were talking about the fact that we kept seeing events taking place in London and asking why there wasn’t more happening in the North of England. We decided to organise one for ourselves and it has just gone from there. Leeds Metropolitan University [now Leeds Beckett] University offered to host it and with Debra being from Manchester and me coming from Hull, it seemed like a good central location for the North.

“We have described the event as for teachers and by teachers. One thing which has really encouraged us is that some schools are buying tickets in bulk for their staff because they see it as continuing professional development for staff.” The event has a panel discussion which focuses on the politics of education and then a series of sessions from experts in different aspects of teaching.

For the past two years, the event has attracted big names from the education sector. Panellists have included Michael Gove’s former advisor Dominic Cummings, education journalist and campaigner Fiona Millar and former curriculum boss Prof Mick Waters.

Ms Hardy-Mattinson said: “One thing we have noticed is that the speakers at education conferences tend to be quite male-dominated and this is something we have thought about this year. We think we have something like 50/50 men and women because we want it to be more representative of the teaching profession.”

The event takes place at Leeds Beckett’s Headingley campus on Saturday June 11.

Tickets are available here: