Top up your energy

Every school needs a flow of energy, like a pen needs ink. Students need energetic teachers in front of them, modelling a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge.

But it’s hard; the job can take its toll.

I’m in my twentieth year of teaching and I know that there are times when one’s cartridge is running on reserve and we need a flick to find more ink. A good educational conference can provide just that. Meeting fellow teachers from other schools to share stories, magpie ideas and rediscover the creative teacher within can be a rejuvenating experience.

The Holmewood Festival of Learning in June is designed to be an energising couple of days, with some outstanding keynote speakers and workshop leaders who are sure to motivate and inspire.

Our theme is ‘The Future is Already Here’. Our current Reception pupils will leave full-time education in 2031 and will probably live to see the twenty-second century. The future is not in the distance or even around the corner, it’s here because the children are here. So how can we prepare them for it, and more importantly how are we enabling them to prepare us?

Another running theme for our Festival is ‘cross-sector partnerships’. We are very keen to bring teachers from maintained and independent schools together to share common issues and discuss pedagogy and practice that will ultimately benefit all of our pupils. Most of all, we want to help teachers to rediscover the reasons why they went into teaching: perhaps to make a difference, to unlock children’s creativity and to inspire a love of learning.

When you put a group of creative teachers in a room together, who knows what they can achieve? Making space for thinking bigger thoughts is what teacher conferences are all about. We hope to provide this space, and hopefully unearth some WISDOM too: What I Shall Do On Monday – practical, tried-and-tested ideas that can improve teacher efficacy and impact in the classroom.

Our keynote speakers include:

  • Claire Cashmore OBE – gold medal winning Paralympian
  • Jonnie Noakes – Director Tony Little Centre for Innovation in Learning, Eton College
  • Ross Morrison McGill – founder of Teacher Toolkit and award-winning teacher
  • Anthony Bouchier – Founder of Twig World and CEO of Itza Media
  • Samantha Price – Headmistress of Benenden School

Our workshop leaders include:

  • Chris Dale – Director of Teaching & Learning, Samuel Ward Multi-Academy Trust
  • Dr Kathy Weston – Consultant in parental engagement in schools
  • Neil Rollings – MD of Independent Coach Education
  • Tim Pitman – Head of SMSC, Westbourne House School, pastoral care consultant
  • Guy Holloway – Headteacher of Hampton Court House School
  • Mike Abraham – Experienced headteacher and leadership consultant
  • David Horton – Head of Digital Strategy, Orwell Park School and IT consultant
  • Dr Sean Warren – Educational consultant and author of Living Contradiction
  • Andrew Jeffrey – Maths consultant, magician, author of Be a Wizard with Numbers
  • Andy Samways – Director of Teaching School, Samuel Ward Multi-Academy Trust

You can find out more about the Festival on 14-15 June 2018, and take advantage of our ‘early bird’ offer for tickets, by visiting the website:

I hope very much to see you in June for some energising and enjoyable discussions!


Andrew Hammond

Teacher and Director of Research, Innovation and Outreach, Holmewood House School


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