Saturday, 14 February 2009

21st Century Schools - BSEC Conference and Exhibition

I was pleased to attend the BSEC Conference in Manchester this week which, by all accounts, just get bigger and better with literally hundreds of delegates attending. This conference is all about developing 21st century learning environments to support 21st century education.

Speakers included friend Professor Stephen Heppell as Chair, (who is always really good at pin pointing on the real issues) Tim Byles from Partnerships for Schools, and Johnny Ball, who was extremely passionate about education and great environments. The televised message about the Mr Jim Knight, Minister for Schools, was as ever, very upbeat about the real progress made recently in the BSF programme, despite the skewed reporting about the National Audit Commission report published this week.

International perspectives were given by a friend of mine, the highly regarded Dr. Frank Locker, Education Facilities Planner. Frank who is from the States who went through many exemplar designs from around the world, many of which he had been involved with. Even more interesting was the detailed school and education evaluation tool he had developed to support schools on the journey to true 21st century education.

The exhibition part was the largest yet with a whole range of suppliers and organisations from Partnerships for Schools, BCSE through to education consultants, building firms, architects, local authorities about to start BSF to suppliers of building materials promoting such goods as AstroTurf, strong plastic hollow kerbs that allowed services to run through them through to to furniture.

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