ASCL Annual Conference
provides excellent CPD opportunities for current and aspiring leaders in all phases of education.
Naturally, we would say that, so we asked previous delegates to share their experiences of last year’s ASCL Annual Conference
and what they got out of attending the event.
Here then, in their own words, we share the thoughts of a primary headteacher, an assistant headteacher in a secondary school and a leader in post-16 education.
Headteacher, primary education
“My overall experience of attending ASCL Annual Conference as a headteacher from a primary school was brilliant. Being at the conference across the two days gave me an injection of personal development which has proved invaluable.
"I know many people feel that ASCL Conference is geared towards those from the secondary phase but from my experience I would say that isn’t the case. I got so much out of every element of the event and found all of it very relevant to me as someone leading in the primary phase.
"I very much enjoyed and benefited from how the event flowed. I found the keynote speakers both informative and entertaining, and the mix of serious content and light-heartedness was a strong plus point as it gave me important thinking time to digest and process what I was learning.
"I also found all the workshops I attended very useful and, in particular, I liked the fact that they provided opportunities for conversations with others working in different phases. For example, I attended a session on curriculum leadership which focussed on the integrity of subjects and had relevance regardless of whether you were planning learning for year one pupils or A level students
Positive impact on pupils
"Attending the conference has been integral to the work that we have done this year on school improvement. The seeds planted in Birmingham in March have been used by me and my team throughout the year to develop our school which has had a positive impact on our pupils.
"When money in schools is so tight, it’s easy to forgo CPD but going to ASCL Annual Conference completely rejuvenated my thinking and gave me a lot of inspiration, as well as knowledge and ideas to share with every member of my team.
"I’ll be attending the next conference as my governors have seen the value. The outcomes I bring away from the event are linked to my own performance management because it has such strong links to the development of the school.
"The level of CPD you get at ASCL Annual Conference isn’t available locally and although there are good events available through various networks, the conference offers something different, including brilliant opportunities to network and collaborate with other leaders facing, and solving, similar challenges in other areas.”
Assistant headteacher, secondary education
“Attending ASCL Annual Conference has benefited me as an assistant headteacher in many ways. I am fortunate to have attended with other members of SLT and being together at the event means that we have time not only to develop our thinking but also to put in place plans that enable us to develop our strategy.
"The enthusiasm and variety of the main speakers is inspirational, and it is also great to be able to get more detailed knowledge from the workshop leaders. My colleagues and I chose different workshops and then shared the outcomes, notes and ideas that we took away so between us, the school got the very latest insight into data, governance, school improvement, curriculum, budgeting and more.
"Being at the conference also gave me the opportunity to dedicate time on my own development. We get so little time and with CPD budgets so tight I do not often give myself the chance to focus on myself. But through the conference, I’ve found I have become more ambitious as a leader and I am more willing to try out the ideas I picked up. This undoubtedly helps my school and most importantly, the students.
It’s very easy to get jaded with all the demands placed on you as a school or college leader. Attending ASCL Annual Conference is the perfect way to remind yourself why you do what you do and get a much-needed boost of enthusiasm for the future.
Senior leader, post-16 education
“This was my first time at ASCL Annual Conference and as someone working with post-16 students, I was sceptical about how much I would get out it. I think there is a perception that ASCL Conference is very schools-focussed, but in reality, I found it very engaging as it dealt with many of the challenges we are all facing regardless of our institution or the phase that we are working in
"It was interesting to hear from the political speakers and Ofsted and I did get a sense that through ASCL they were starting to understand the challenges, but for me it was the other themes that ran through the event that were particularly valuable
Preparing for the future
"I was impressed by the prominence given to equipping young people for the future, something which in my sector we are constantly revisiting. Considering the impact of technology and highlighting vocational pathways was heartening and informative as someone who’s professional life in immersed in both areas.
"I also found the focus on mental health in young people a bit of a watershed moment as I had expected the conference to be focussed on the hard business of accountability, funding and governance. To see the profile that ASCL is giving to all the issues that young people and school and college leaders are facing was excellent.
The workshops gave me the chance to pick topics which were particularly relevant to what I do but also gave me the opportunity to get a taster of areas where my previous knowledge was limited such as SEND.
"As a post-16 leader I found the experience very good. I got practical updates on a range of issues which I’ve passed on to my team, and it also helped me reconnect with making sure that everything I do is focussed on the young people that I impact each day
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