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Sheffield Hallam Festival of Education set to breakdown barriers

Sheffield Hallam Festival of Education set to breakdown barriers, raise aspirations and start conversations

A groundbreaking ground breaking new education conference, Hallam Festival of Education, is taking place on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June at Sheffield Hallam University. Organised by South Yorkshire Futures, a social mobility partnership committed to improving education and raising aspiration for young people in South Yorkshire, the theme of the Festival is ‘Transformative Change’, and how education has the power to change lives of young people. Some of the biggest issues in education will be discussed, including the Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework, the curriculum and teacher workload.

Schools are increasingly seeking support and advice on these topics as a result of Ofsted’s decision to make curriculum intent, implementation and impact a fundamental part of the new Framework, which launches in September. Primary curriculum expert, and director of South Yorkshire based Cornerstones Education, Simon Hickton will be speaking about how schools can create their curriculum, the process they need to go through, the strategic decisions they need to make to ensure they have a curriculum in place that is right for their school, and ways to reduce teacher workload.

Simon Hickton, Director of Cornerstones Education, said: “I’m really excited about the Festival and the ideas and aims behind it. Raising childhood aspirations is a real issue, not only here in South Yorkshire but across the UK education system. As a former primary school headteacher myself, I know how difficult it can be to engage and motivate some children and I strongly believe that a broad and balanced curriculum can be the key to unlocking a child’s potential.

When we recently spoke with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Amanda Spielman, she said “laying the building blocks of a Festival of Education logogood curriculum can genuinely ‘level playing fields’. A rich and broad curriculum can enable less advantaged children to achieve as much as children who have been born with every possible advantage”, something we couldn’t agree more with.”  

In a podcast hosted by Cornerstones Education Curriculum Developer, Caroline Pudner, Festival Director, Sean Cavan and Senior Lecturer, Sarah Williams, talk about the ideas behind the festival and what senior leaders and teachers can expect to take away from it. They explain that whilst the roots of the festival are in South Yorkshire, the region does in fact act as a microcosm of the rest of the country and the issues which South Yorkshire is facing, are also being experienced in other areas, meaning the festival will benefit any education professional or employer working with children and young people.

Sean Cavan, Festival Director and Head of Business Engagement at the Sheffield Institute of Education, said: “We are delighted that Cornerstones are one of our major partners for the Festival. They are completely aligned with our thinking that a solid educational experience can really make a difference to people no matter what socio-economic background they come from, which makes them the perfect partners.
We want the festival to be full of debate, collaboration and vibrancy, sparking conversations about the really big questions and challenges within schools and education across the UK.”

Festival-goers will be able to engage in meaningful debate about the exciting, challenging and impactful things happening in education and the talented and inspiring people who teach and work with them. Speakers will include Ofsted’s National Director of Education, Sean Harford; Baroness Estelle Morris; Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, OBE; and inspirational education trainer, Hywel Roberts.

There will also be learning and sharing zones, networking spaces, live performances and music from the region to create a real festival, celebratory atmosphere.

The Cornerstones Curriculum is taught in over 2000 schools to 500,000 children. Written and developed by Melanie Moore, a former primary school teacher with 20 years teaching experience, Melanie wanted to create a primary school curriculum that would develop the skills and knowledge required by the national curriculum, as well as being creatively stimulating and allowing children to explore their own fascinations. Realising that writing a curriculum was going to be a full-time job, she left teaching and established Cornerstones Education in 2010.



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