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Festival of Education: is it worth all the hype?

As thousands descended on Wellington College in Crowthorne for the Sunday Times Festival of Education, our intern Kristin and I turned up eager to see what the fuss was about and more importantly to hear what was being presented to teachers and students at the event. As a future teacher, Kristin was especially excited to have the opportunity to attend the Festival. She couldn’t wait to hear everything that all of the speakers would have to say and get a closer look at the education system in the UK.

Opening up our programmes we were faced with the huge task of deciding which seven seminars to go to out of the massive 98 being held on Thursday, and which seven to go to out of the 101 being held on Friday. It was not an easy feat.

Workshops, seminars and talks on creativity learning; grit; whether or not education is really preparing students for life after school and for the modern workplace; learning in the digital age; education in a globalised world; helping young people take positive social action; education overseas; skills; apprenticeships; and engaging the next generation (that’s just a fraction of the topics). The immense number of workshops and variety was so overwhelming it was hard to make a choice of what to go to. On the other hand there truly was something for everyone.

Teachers getting involved and sparking debate, students from different schools working with each other in the students’ zone and learning skills, the students who went around busking in an attempt to raise money for Marie Curie, and we cannot forget the man at the ice cream cart giving away the smallest ice cream cones we came across – definitely needed in the heat!

From a future teacher’s perspective, Kristin agrees that there were a lot of great things to be said. Lots of great ideas, strategies, research and techniques were presented throughout the event, leaving teachers with feelings of encouragement and inspiration to take back to their classrooms.

Overall would I recommend the event to teachers? Yes, I would. The content, and the opportunity to network and learn from their peers. Festival of Education, as L’OrĂ©al would say, you’re worth it!

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