Exciting Minds Conference, Manchester, Creative partnerships

On Monday this week I drove to manchester to be a panelist and speaker at the Exciting Minds conference run by Creative Partnerships. I was talking about Building Schools of the Future – BSF. As part of a four strong panel we covered a large range of specialisms. Martin from Nottingham was involved in running BSF projects there and planning ways forward for schools – visioning, basically. Abe, from Sussex was an architect who had recently completed a school extension and was focussed on sustainability and ‘green’ issues. Brenda was from Manchester and worked as BSF co-ordinator, seconded from a secondary school where she is deputy head.

A stimulating discussion from each of the panel members, it struck me that there is a huge task being undertaken by lots of schools and not nearly enough people able to support them and talk sense about the issues they are going to face. Many in the audience simply wanted answers to issues they have got, but that simply isn’t enough. We need to look ahead – beyond the next few years – to what the vision is for the school. Creating buildings for the next 60 years will simply keep us in the same rut we are now in, albeit in 60 years from now (or more likely just about 10) – we need to think far more creatively about education and how to use buildings more creatively, and look at how technology can be used to link people and places more effectively.

This is going to be a recurring theme over the next couple of years, I think!

It was delightful to meet up with author and broadcaster Michael Rosen again – the last time I talked to him was when I was a teacher about fifteen years ago. He was an inspirational influence on me then, and I used his books regularly in classes I taught. I don’t suppose he remembers me from that time, but none the less it was good to share a few words and share a common ideal within the world of education.