Festival of Education to take place online this summer

Organisers of the prestigious Festival of Education have announced that the event will take place online this year and will be free to view.

There had been some hope that the event could take place physically this year, but given the latest government guidelines, plans have had to be adapted.

The virtual Festival will take place online across two weeks, 16 – 30 June, and will feature internationally renowned speakers and educationalists.

This year’s event will host daily keynote speakers and two CPD days, known as “Friday Fests”.

Friday Fests will host over 50 individual workshops on Friday 18 & 25 June. These sessions will follow a similar format to a traditional seminar or panel discussion and will cover a wide range of topics within education.

Shane Mann

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Festival Director Shane Mann said: “we’ve spent months arguing with ourselves about what would be possible this year. We were hoping to be able to return to Wellington College this summer.

“However, we are excited to be able to provide a Festival of Education online this June and that it will be free for all to watch and join in.

“It has been an unfathomably challenging year for the educators, not just in the UK but around the globe. We aim to provide a fun and inspiring Festival across two weeks for educationalists across the world. Very much in-keeping with our tagline – where those who inspire find their inspiration.

“Thanks to the support of Wellington College, our headline partner Pearson, and other key partners, we’re able to offer this for free this year. A small gift to the education community.”

The Festival of Education was launched by Wellington College in 2010 and is now operated in partnership with Lsect, the publisher of the education newspapers Schools Week and FE Week.

Attendees at the Festival in 2019.

In June 2019, the 10th Festival hosted over 5,000 teachers and 300 speakers across the two-day event.

Master of Wellington College, James Dahl, said: “For over ten years, Wellington College has been the home to the ground-breaking EdFest. We were so disappointed that the event had to be cancelled in 2020 and, this year, if the grounds of Wellington cannot be flooded with a sea of white marquees, then we will deliver the next best thing and launch the event online. Just as importantly, I am thrilled that it will be free for all to view.

“It has been a remarkable year for all those involved in education and, at EdFest 2021, we are looking forward to bringing the educational community together again for what we hope will be an inspiring and empowering event. I do not doubt that the impressive line-up of speakers will not disappoint and that this event will continue to be the key forum in thought leadership and debate within the educational world.”

Akala speaking at the Festival in 2019.

Over the years, the Festival has hosted various leading thinkers and influencers, from Sir Ken Robinson to Carol Dweck, Akala to Piers Morgan and Rory Bremner to Matthew Syed.

It has also provided a platform for teachers to share their latest knowledge and best practice during thousands of festival workshops.

Festival organisers cancelled the 2020 event due to the pandemic. Organisers have confirmed that the event will return to Wellington College in June 2022.

Registration for the Friday Fest events is now open. Registration for keynote speaker sessions will open as and when sessions are announced.