Guardians of hopes and dreams

I have attended the Empowering Young People To Change The World conference for the past three years. Last year I felt honoured to present my Global Citizenship programme and jumped at the chance to talk about Embedding Wellbeing into Schools. The reason I wanted to attend on a Saturday 10-5 was because I knew the quality of speakers would be phenomenal. I was not disappointed.

I had never heard of the term dispersal town until I listened to @SwindonCofS @swindonharbour. Cristina definitely opened my eyes to how refugees are "processed". The impact of this session has been me sharing Sanctuary School status as a concept in my own school to students via assembly. It is a topic which affects us all as refugees under 18 do need a sanctuary as they start education. I have added The Lightless Sky to my reading list to broaden my own understanding of how we welcome refugees in the UK. Does your school break down hostilities and challenge unpleasant attitudes towards refugees? Does your school have a culture of hospitality, welcome, embrace and celebrate skills and diversity of each new refugee student? I wonder if the UK offers this in every community. As I returned to school I started to think this linked with our Righs Respecting School work with UNICEF but we can still do more. Can you?

@IvyMayBarbara and I completed a peer to peer review of a primary school a few years ago. I learnt much from the 2 day experience and had to sit in her session when she shared her vast experience of education. The tone of teaching - Children know by your very tone if you believe in them. Never walk past something that worries or bothers you. Make sure you poke about in your learning. Values  help you to poke about and access the meta cognitive layers of learning. We want our learners to investigate and explore, to use their natural curiosity. Don't put a lid on their learning.  Take time to slowly walk your school and listen to the script of your school. What is your script? Does your school script empower your students to be people of distinction? The script students hear at school can often be different to their home script. How do we bridge these different scripts to enable students to flourish and develop a script they own? Every child needs to have a relationship in school where there is a high level of trust and where they have a feeling of worth. I've added My fantastic elastic brain to my reading list and can't wait to catch up with Julie in the future.

@StephieWeissman ran a session about her Inside Out charity. Happiness fuels success - not the other way round! Using the 5 pillars of wellbeing this charity runs experiences for primary students to look inside, move outside, share more, be curious and be kind. opens a world of magical days and school tool boxes for wellbeing interventions. I'm looking forward to seeing their happiness index update as student impact is measured as well as the forthcoming school quality mark scheme.

At one stage I thought about leaving early but I knew @RWBAHolocaust would have an amazing closing keynote. Rob Ford from @WyedeanSchool was superb. Rob reminded us that as educators we are the guardians of hopes and dreams. Do the educators need educating? Do we narrow the curriculum and can we think of other opportunities? Rob asked us what we offer students outside of our curriculum. What do we recommend our students read, watch, see, visit, eat and experience? Do we offer this in September with our curriculum guides so parents are part of the enriching learning journey? Do we offer a stretch and challenge curriculum alongside a classroom based curriculum? What does it mean to experience our school? Students and parents need to have faith that our schools will provide them with the education needed to flourish. We need to make sure that we have a world class education with high performing skills on offer for all learners. We need staff who want to do things. Why were we all still at the conference at 5pm on a Saturday? We all want to do things! Rob reminded us to believe in the professionalism of our staff, to believe in the transformative power of education and above all else - as leaders we are the lightening rod to soak up the pressure from external sources.

After year three of #EYP2CtW I am still recommending this conference if it appears in 2019. Thank you Nic. I've learnt so much. My golden nugget is Sanctuary Schools.