Ian Wright

He brings radiance to his appearances as a TV and radio pundit and after-dinner speaker, Ian Wright has an electric personality and he will leave you believing you have known him for years.

He scored 387 goals for seven clubs in 581 league matches, his speed and shooting power devastated many defences. He is a legend at Arsenal, with whom he scored a record of 128 league goals in 221 games. The lethal striker also netted another 9 goals in 33 appearances for England.

Wright has tales about his playing days and fascinating chronicles relating to his experience in front of and behind the television camera and radio microphone. He has been awarded an MBE for his services to football and charities.

A very humble man Ian Wright will give you an insight into his life, the highs and lows the good and bad, and he uses these life experiences to motivate and encourage.

Afua Hirsch

To challenge our thinking on the wider issues enveloping education we have the author, journalist and broadcaster Afua Hirsch. Afua is a journalist and presenter at Sky News. She can currently be seen presenting Sky News World News, on Sunrise, and as Social Affairs Editor, reporting on issues ranging from radicalisation to immigration.

She previously wrote for the Guardian Newspaper, both in the UK and as a Foreign Correspondent, establishing the paper’s West African bureau and covering the war in Mali. She came to journalism from the legal profession where she was a barrister practising human rights law.

She regularly writes for the Guardian and Observer newspapers, hosts awards ceremonies and events.

Covering issues ranging from radicalisation to immigration she will speak widely on diversity, social justice and the media. She is the author of ‘Brit(ish)’ – a narrative non-fiction book about identity, published by Jonathan Cape. Afua has an authored documentary coming soon on Channel 4.

Workshop: Racial Diversity and the Sense of Belonging

This seminar will consider racial diversity and the sense of belonging – sharing her own experiences of growing up in Britain and the uncomfortable truth about race and identity in Britain today:

“You’re British. Your parents are British. Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British. So why do people keep asking where you’re from?”

This will give delegates the chance to consider the implications of this on our diverse classrooms and the individuals within it and how we promote tolerance and understanding for the benefit of all.

Paul Howard Jones


Paul Howard-Jones earned his degree at the Graduate School of Education at Bristol University. He has published many papers with his latest being ‘Ideational Productivity, Focus of Attention and Context.’ He spends his time doing experiments exploring creativity, and applying cognition and neuroscience to better understand child and adult learning.

Keynote Speech: Evolution of the Learning Brain

How did learning evolve and what does its prehistory mean for how we learn today? In this keynote, we will travel through 3.5 billion years of history in less than an hour. We will stop off along the way to visit some distant (and not so distant) relatives. We will discover if, and how they learn – and what this has to do with our own everyday learning processes.

You will hear about whole populations of learners that live in your stomach, why jellyfish are not the best students, and why we may have more in common with marmosets than chimpanzees.

Evolutionary science can now tell us the fascinating story of how we came to learn, and provide a uniquely long-term view that sheds light on our approaches to education today.

Workshop: The Science of Learning

Our scientific understanding of learning has advanced sufficiently to provide insights into teaching and learning in the classroom. At the University of Bristol, funded by the Wellcome Trust, we have been taking a research-based approach to successfully incorporating the Science of Learning in Initial Teacher Education. This workshop will present some key concepts about the learning brain, and provide opportunities for attendees to critically reflect and discuss what these mean for understanding their own everyday classroom practice. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • avoid common neuromyths
  • understand processes by which learning occurs in the classroom, based on state-of-the-art findings from cognitive neuroscience
  • inform your planning, implementation and evaluation of your teaching with an evidence-based understanding of the Science of Learning

Sarah Longville

CEO for Alliance of Leading Learning

Sarah is the CEO of The Marches Academy Trust and the Alliance of Leading Learning. She is a National Leader in Education and The Marches is a National Support School, supporting large numbers of practitioners and leaders across all age phases from maintained schools, academies and the independent sector.

Sarah is the driving force behind the Leadership Conferences – bringing together experts from across the education sector in motivational Professional Learning.

Sarah believes in outward facing and visionary leadership and she is intent on the Alliance of Leading Learning achieving its vision to embrace the school led system; working closely with lead partners, to provide gold standard professional learning and school improvement projects nationally and internationally.

Professor Mick Waters

Professor Mick Waters works with the schools in the West Midlands in raising standards. This work began as part of the Black Country Challenge and has continued through the University of Wolverhampton’s involvement with the development of Academies and Teaching Schools. He works with schools in other parts of the country on innovative approaches to learning and on several other initiatives to push the boundaries for making learning better.

Mick is an Honorary Fellow of the College of Teachers and supports several educational causes. He is a patron of the Children’s University which offers a range of learning opportunities beyond the school environment and of SAPERE which promotes Philosophy for Children as a route to learning. Mick is also a patron of the Curriculum Foundation, which seeks to promote a voice for the power and potential of the whole curriculum. Mick supports the National Association for Environmental Education as a vice president and is also chair of CoEd, which promotes compassionate education.

During his career, Mick has been a teacher and headteacher before working at senior levels in Birmingham and Manchester Local Authorities. He worked at a national level with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority where he was Director of Curriculum.

Mick believes that learning should be treasured and valued and that it needs to be shaped to fit with children’s lives. People in schools need to set understandings of their children alongside the learning they should meet to create learning that is irresistible.

Mick believes in being close to teachers, children and schools, and is often to be found in the classroom working with children. He has written books on the curriculum, teaching and learning, and leadership, as well as making presentations at numerous national and international conferences. Mick’s most recent book, ‘Thinking Allowed…on schooling’ was published in 2013. He is passionate about the role of education in improving life chances for pupils. He also enjoys asking adults to look at learning through the eyes of a pupil.