Monday, 30 March 2009

Creating Great Remodelled Schools

Chairing the Conference
I was honoured to be asked to chair BCSE's national conference 'Creating Great Remodelled Schools' in Nottingham last week. I have chaired a number of national conferences here and abroad - this was certainly a very busy one!

The 140 or so delegates enjoyed a very very packed fast paced agenda looking at many aspects of remodelled schools and other projects with several case studies! Along with a number of workshop sessions it was the first national conference on this really important subject. This is surprising really as 50% of BSF projects are concerned with remodelling not new build, and an even higher proportion of the Primary Capital Programme.

With input from CABE, architects, local authorities and more, there was variety, enthusiasm and passion .... As ever one of the real highlights was a short presentation by a group of primary students about their newly remodelled (and environmentally very friendly) school.

Even better was that as they finished a little early, as Chair, I asked them a totally suprise question about what they liked about their school. With almost no hesitation they each gave a totally different answer as I walked the mic down the line. This is quite unusual for an unprepared answer and showed a real ownership of all aspects of their school, what it was trying to achieve and what it stood for. Thery certainly impressed the audience! As I noted to the audience there should never be an education conference that does not hear from the students at some point - after all thats why we're here!

Evaluations of the conference were very positive but I think a followup should include more input from Headteachers and staff who have lived trough the whole process - again learning from peers.... but that is for another conference on another day (please!).

(Slides from the Conference will appear on the BCSE website soon).

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