Festival Strands

Alongside our core content and keynotes, we will host numerous Festival Strands across both days at the Festival. Festival strands are curated in partnership with a variety of organisations from across the education community and take place in a dedicated venue.

Please find below a list of the Festival Strands that will be hosted at this year’s Festival of Education.

Line-up information for each strand will be published over the coming weeks (from late May) on the content page.

Strand Partners

Thursday Strands

Cognitive Science Strand

Cognitive science research has the ability to transform education and accelerate learning. The implications and applications range from primary, secondary, further and higher education, as well as mentoring and staff development. This strand, curated in partnership with InnerDrive, gathers together a range of experts that will explore the possibilities, challenges and limitations of cognitive science.

Weaving the golden thread of CPD

Over the past years, considerable resource has gone into reshaping teacher development from initial teacher training to national professional qualifications. The Teacher Development Trust has been at the heart of that work and have curated a series of sessions to help you weave the golden thread into a strong fabric that supports and sustains teachers throughout their careers.

AI from the classroom to the boardroom

Artificial Intelligence is making its way into every facet of schools’ provision. This series of sessions will take you from ethics to lesson planning, and from personalisation to making the most of your MIS data to drive up efficiency, drive down workload and inform your improvement activities. Become an expert today with our sector-leading practitioners.

Pride in Education

The Festival of Education is proud of its legacy in putting LGBTQ+ education at the heart of its offer. This year, Pride in Education return to host a series of sessions addressing the lived realities of pupils with diverse orientations and identities to help you better support their development through their formative years, working with them and their families to foster their wellbeing and sense of belonging.

Sustainability: Towards a net-zero education

The sector’s response to the climate crisis is a central pillar of the Festival of Education’s offer. From teaching and modelling sustainable action with young people and communities to reducing the school estate’s carbon footprint, the sector is vital to the nation’s green ambitions. This two-day series of sessions will take you from net zero to climate hero with practical advice, rich case studies and plenty of food for thought action.

Shaping stronger governance

With governance workload causing increasing concern and nationwide challenges in recruiting volunteers for this crucial role in school leadership and accountability, the National Governance Association’s series of talks promises to get to the heart of the problems facing school board rooms and set you on the path to finding local solutions to these national problems.

Buzzing about oracy

Oracy is the new buzzword in education. It’s at the heart of the Labour Party’s offer for schools, and former ASCL general secretary, Geoff Barton is leading a commission on its broad potential to drive attainment across the curriculum. Far from a fad, Voice 21’s series of sessions will show what best practice can deliver for your school – and inspire you with ideas to get started.

The Roundtables – with Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change

This curated series of roundtables will play host to some to the best-informed and most impactful leaders in education to tackle the most transformational developments facing the sector. Accountability, AI, assessment, behaviour, curriculum, data and more. Expect lively discussion on the global and national forces shaping education of the near future.

Wellbeing and retention

Addressing staffing challenges in the teacher workforce is as much about retention as it is about recruitment. This series of sessions from Education Support explores how to hold on to your staff with wellbeing activities that work and working cultures that foster environments where an increasingly challenging job remains sustainable.

Rebuilding a culture of attendance

Collated by Team Square Peg, this series of sessions explores solutions to a crisis rooted in ‘a breakdown of the social contract between schools and families’. With so many no longer seeing full attendance as compulsory and a generalised failure to meet need from services around schools, what can schools do to buck this deeply worrying trend?

What’s next for MATs?

With the majority of England’s schools now in a trust, the time is ripe to think deeply about the dividend trusts can secure for pupils, staff, and communities. Join CST for a series of panels and presentations exploring themes of school improvement, governance, system resilience & community anchoring.

Human rights across the curriculum

War in Europe and the Middle East. Online misogyny. Climate change. A raft of global issues with distinctively local impacts are affecting young people’s mental health and quality of life, and none more so than a feeling of voicelessness. Join Amnesty UK for a series of sessions on how to empower young people to become active and hopeful citizens who drive their communities’ solutions.

Education and the world of work

The national conversation about education is beginning to shift. From giving all their attention to schools, political parties are being driven by economic imperative to turn their eyes to education’s role in preparing the workforce of tomorrow. Is this the end of ‘knowledge-rich’ or the beginning of a third way to improve the school-to-workplace pipeline? Join us for a series of sessions on education, employability and the economy.

Great Teaching

What makes great teaching, and what does it look like in the classroom? Come find out! All sessions that form part of the strand are linked to the research evidence on the things that teachers know and do that have the biggest impact on learning. This stand is curated in partnership with Evidence Based Education.

Friday Strands

Cognitive Science Strand

Cognitive science research has the ability to transform education and accelerate learning. The implications and applications range from primary, secondary, further and higher education, as well as mentoring and staff development. This strand, curated in partnership with InnerDrive, gathers together a range of experts that will explore the possibilities, challenges and limitations of cognitive science.

Inclusion for all

Sir Lewis Hamilton’s Mission 44 exists to empower young people to overcome social injustice and succeed. In delivering that mission, the charity works with a broad range of schools and other partners to support inclusion for under-served and under-represented young people. Join them for an informative series of sessions to inspire action in your setting today.

Delivering change

Following on from their immensely successful manifesto sessions last year, the Headteachers’ Rountable returns with a day of policy-shaping, sector-changing, school-informed policies and practical ideas for implementing them to drive genuine improvement and overcome the many crises school leaders and their communities face.

Race to the top

Continuing a long and proud partnership between the BAMEed group and the Festival of Education, this series of sessions will explore how racial injustice continues to characterise many facets of the education sector from attendance and curriculum to exclusions and employment practices, and offer solutions to deeply ingrained and counter-productive practices holding schools and society back.

Sustainability: Towards a net-zero education

The sector’s response to the climate crisis is a central pillar of the Festival of Education’s offer. From teaching and modelling sustainable action with young people and communities to reducing the school estate’s carbon footprint, the sector is vital to the nation’s green ambitions. This two-day series of sessions will take you from net zero to climate hero with practical advice, rich case studies and plenty of food for thought action.

SEND: From inclusion to belonging

When the Secretary of State herself describes the SEND system as “lose, lose, lose”, there can be no doubt that it’s in crisis. What’s it like to be a SENCO in this context? What can we learn from neurodivergent teachers? What are parents’ priorities? Join us for a series of sessions to get under the bonnet and look for ways to get from breakdown to progress.

Engendering equality

All but three of the top 100 public sector bodies with the for gender paygap are academy trusts. Women between the ages of 35 and 39 are the largest group among the growing number of teachers leaving the profession – and often do not return. Join WomenED for practical solutions to this ongoing gender-based injustice.

The improvement journey

A new chief inspector is at the help and Ofsted has spent the best part of this year in Big Listening mode. Join the inspectorate’s top team to explore how they and the sector can continue the vital journey of school improvement, with insights into their latest research and developments.

Healthy schools: Adapting to absence

The attendance crisis is also in part a health crisis. From Long Covid to the Covid’s long-tail impact on mental health, schools are still adapting to a new normal of health impacts and disparities. Join us to hear from a range of educators and allied professionals on how to improve belonging and attainment for those who are absent and unwell.

Students first

The generational gap is growing. If children are living lives their older siblings don’t recognise, then what chance do teachers have to keep up? At the Festival of Education for the first time, the Global Equality Collective will explore ways to listen to, understand and intentionally include students beyond these differences and in a way that reflects the lives they live and aspire to.

Marking from micro to macro

These sessions will explore big themes in assessment reform, from microcredentials and learner profiles, to creative thinking and project qualifications.  Join a selection of speakers convened by Rethinking Assessment to explore how new dimensions of learning can be captured, validated and shared.

The Debates – with Public First

Public Frist research has been reshaping the conversation around every important topic in education from attendance tutoring and from accountability to teacher retention. Join them as they host a series of discussions on today’s most pressing challenges and how to solve them, with some of the sector’s most effective leaders.