State schools are invited to an annual high-level gathering of independent schools from around the world to be held in Scotland later this year.
The Principals’ Conference (HMC) and the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS) are jointly hosting the event in Edinburgh from October 5-7.
This year marks only the Third time in more than 150 years of HMC history that a Scottish President has been elected: Melvyn Roffe, Principal of George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, will take office in September, and he is keen to see as many as many pupils and teachers in Scotland as possible attend the first day of the event in October.
Enlightened Education will take place at the International Conference Center in Edinburgh, with the opening day on Friday 5 October – billed on Edinburgh Open Education Conference and supported by Tes Global – open to all schools and free for those in the UK and Ireland.
“How often do we get to talk to people doing a similar job but in a different industry or in a different part of the UK?” asked Mr. Roffe. Friday’s aim is “to bring together as many head teachers and other head teachers from independent and publicly funded schools across the UK and Ireland”.
Mr Roffe said: ‘From the very beginning, in the 19th century, the very idea of HMC as a ‘conference’ was that it should promote discussion, debate and dialogue among school leaders. Today is more important than ever.”
Opening of the event – being held in Scotland for the first time since being at St Andrews in 2015 – as widely as possible was important, Mr Roffe added, because “even school leaders are not immune to confirmation bias and we can very easily end up only listening to those who agree with we”.
Becoming too locked into a particular educational group or sector, he said, creates “the danger that professional dialogue becomes an endless process of responding to those who have power or influence over our jobs and our schools, rather than a real opportunity to meet colleagues, discuss the issues we all face and be inspired to face the future with confidence”.
Speakers for Friday’s event will include:
- Professor Sir Geoff Palmer, the human rights activist who works to tackle discrimination and promote equality and is now Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
- Sarah Brown, eExecutive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education and President of Theirworld.
- Dr Avis Glaze, the first recipient of the Scottish Robert Owen Prize for Education, is a member of the Scottish Government’s International Council of Educational Advisers.
The organizers also hope that there will be an address by Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations.
The Edinburgh Open Education Conference will be free to leaders of publicly funded schools and colleges across the UK and Ireland.
Mr Roffe also said that if he is well received, it could become an annual event.
From the three-day global HMC/IAPS event, IAPS Vice President Charlotte Johnson – headmaster of St Peter’s Preparatory School in Devon – said there was a “desire in our preparatory schools to adopt a forward-thinking, inclusive and enlightened practice and to work hard to achieve these goals”.
The Edinburgh conference aims to ‘move in this direction, to connect with schools on a larger scale, on a more global scale as well as with our local colleagues in the serviced sector’.
She added: “Headteachers have had incredibly difficult years leading schools through the pandemic, adapting quickly to change and moving their schools forward with confidence. We want this conference to empower school leaders to come together, share their experiences and hear from inspiring speakers as they look to the future.”
To book a free place at the Edinburgh Open Education Conference, click here.