It has felt like a lifetime since we have all been able to get together and carry out face-to-face networking with our colleagues, so the Learning & Wellbeing Psychology team jumped at the chance of not only attending but also presenting at the Schools & Academies Show that took place in Birmingham last month.
Hall 1 of the National Exhibition Centre was packed to the rafters with stands, ranging from innovative software companies (designed to streamline administrative tasks, increasing teacher contact time) to catering options (we sampled some wonderful mac ‘n’ cheese balls) to wellbeing monitoring and interventions. Walking around the venue, we were struck by the creativity and flexibility demonstrated by our colleagues. The impact of COVID (and the push for us to change our way of doing things) was evident from the many technology companies present. However, rather than feeling upset, down-beaten or resentful of the past 2 years, seeing how people have used the pandemic as an opportunity to learn and grow was inspiring. So many more products now exist to meet needs that might have always been there but had not yet been identified.
Alongside exhibitors, the Show boasted a long list of speakers including Baroness Baron MBE who presented the Keynote Speech and a hot debate around the future of education through the contributions of The Rt Hon. Lord Knight of Weymouth, The Rt Hon. David Laws and The Rt Hon. Baroness Morris of Yardley. Spread around the room, the individual stages included friendly panel discussions, all the way up to large, purpose-built lecture theatres. And despite the competing choices for which presentation to listen to - plus the many stands to visit - near enough every theatre was full to capacity with additional onlookers placing their tote bags full of freebies and flyers down by their feet as they reserved their space around the edge of the stage.
When the time came, we headed over to the SEND Theatre, where we had been invited to speak about Learning & Wellbeing Psychology’s SEND Health Checks. It was encouraging to see so many people in the audience and we took away from this that schools’ Senior Leadership Teams really do appreciate the importance of reviewing and evaluating the SEND and Inclusion provisions within their schools. Following our presentation, we were whisked away for an interview with Teacher Talk Radio as well as Alex Wallace (the Show's Content Producer) before heading to the Speakers' Lounge for a well-deserved lunch.
It was absolutely wonderful getting the change to meet so many educators in person and we can’t wait to do it all again at the Schools & Academies Show in London next year. In the meantime, you can watch a recording of our SEND Health Check presentation completely for free!
If you were able to catch us at the Show and would like to book us in for a Health Check, do drop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or book a free initial discussion. Plus, for every Annual Contract of 15 days or more taken out in 2022/2023, we’re offering a Health Check completely free of charge!