National conference to tackle closing the attainment gap


Achievement for All (AfA), the award-winning education charity, has announced a national conference to discuss ways of closing the UK’s educational attainment gap.

The Every Child Included in Education conference will take place on 17 October 2018 at Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire, England. Organisers say it is aimed at anyone interested in building an educational system where every child achieves.

This includes schools, colleges, early year settings, parents, carers, children’s services, local authority leads and commissioners, businesses and public and third sector leaders.

Delegates will discuss what an education system that leaves no child behind can look like in practice, and the life-changing affect that a fresh approach to exclusions, parental engagement and wellbeing can have on today’s children, young people and their families.

They will explore the five priorities outlined in AfA’s Every Child Included in Education campaign manifesto:

  • Prioritising kindness and wellbeing in education, business and third-sector settings.
  • Ensuring education results in a meaningful destination for every child, beginning with the early years.
  • Greater focus on teachers as professional learners through recruitment, retention and CPD.
  • Reducing exclusion in education and closing the gap for those with special educational needs and disability (SEND).
  • Recognition of parents, carers and wider communities in education.

The conference will feature a wide range of speakers including Joan Deslandes, headteacher of Kingsford Community School and Chartered College of Teaching founding trustee; Brian Lamb OBE, SEND adviser and Chair of the Lamb Inquiry; Thelma Walker MP, Member of the Education Select Committee; representatives from the Department for Education and the Education Endowment Trust; and a number of leading headteachers.

Keynote speaker contributions will be interlinked with breakout sessions to demonstrate key issues and opportunities faced at core phases and stages in education.

Those attending the conference will receive:

  • Focused CPD, particularly related to working with disadvantaged, vulnerable and underachieving children and young people.
  • Up-to-date information on current policy related to education, social mobility and disadvantage.
  • Strategies to support school, setting and college improvement around the key areas of leadership, teaching and learning, parents and carer engagement and wider opportunities.
  • Practical advice on effective partnerships between schools, settings, parents and the wider community.

The conference forms a central pillar of the Every Child Included in Education campaign, which is backed by a wide range of organisations, schools and individuals including the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL), Academies Enterprise Trust, Best Practice Network, Enabling Enterprise, Fair Education Alliance, Teach First, Place2Be, British Science Association, CPDBee, The Good Schools Guide, Lord Lucas, Teacher Development Trust, Parentkind, NatSIP, The Earl of Listowel and The Nurture Group Network.

The campaign follows the publication of Born to Fail? Social Mobility: A Working Class View, which argues that a radical re-think to the country’s approach to social mobility is needed to avoid millions of children continuing to be lost within the education system, impacting on their work and life chances.

Professor Sonia Blandford, CEO of AfA and author of Born To Fail?, said:

Today’s education system is struggling to support at least one in five children, their parents and carers, leaders and teachers, and potential employers. The current system and its multiple layers are causing significant barriers to ensuring each and every child and young person is included in education — collaboration is the way to overcome this. 

The Every Child Included in Education conference is designed to facilitate this collaboration and bring together the expertise in education and social mobility from across the sectors. Leaders, educators, children, families and practitioners — who are working to overcome inequality every day — will share best practice and practical strategies in a collective ambition to enhance life chances and provide choices for every child regardless of their background, challenge or need.

Parents, carers and young people are invited to the conference free of charge.


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Special World, from Inclusive Technology, is a free website linking 125,000 special education teachers, speech therapists and occupational therapists in 150 countries. Special World readers and contributors work with children who have additional needs or special educational needs including those with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities.

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