The Wakefield Partnership, Third Annual Conference
Burntwood Court Hotel and Conference Centre
30 June 2010
The Open Futures 'Wakefield Partnership Third Annual Conference' got off to a wonderful start with a musical welcome, directed by Geraldine Gaunt and Phil Needham of the Wakefield Music Service. All 106 delegates were encouraged to participate in singing a rousing version of the Open Futures song.
Lucy O'Rorke of the Helen Hamlyn Trust and Peter Carne OBE welcomed delegates and introduced the conference programme. Peter was appointed Open Futures Programme Director in May 2010. He has had a distinguished and varied career in education including being a key figure in establishing the Growing Schools programme and national Champion for Learning Outside the Classroom.
The aims of the conference were to:
- Celebrate the achievements of the Wakefield Partnership.
- Consider how Open Futures can support the delivery of the new primary curriculum.
- Plan the role of Partnership schools in the ongoing national extension and development of Open Futures.
Delegates enjoyed a morning programme celebrating Open Futures in Wakefield 2008 – 2010. Representatives from the five Open Futures Cluster Groups (Southdale, Gawthorpe, Throstle Farm, Moorthorpe and St James) shared their experiences of supporting skills and enquiry through each of the four strands (growit, cookit, filmit and askit) and across the curriculum as a whole.
Several pupils from Towngate Primary School attended the conference to take part in a Cooking Bus activity with a World Cup theme. They informed and delighted attendees with their knowledge of South African fruits and vegetables, using PowerPoint and a quiz. After which they prepared five dishes on the Cooking Bus, conveniently located within the hotel grounds. The students – following traditional South African recipes – used a mix of skills, technical ability and creative talent to produce delicious 'taster' plates for all the conference delegates later in the day.
Pupils from Towngate on The Cooking Bus
Delegates took the opportunity to visit The Cooking Bus throughout the event and everyone was impressed with the confidence and self-assurance of these pupils.
Whereas the morning programme celebrated Open Futures in Wakefield 2008 – 2010, the afternoon programme marked the beginning of the next chapter in Open Futures development...
David Leat (Professor of Curriculum Innovation, Newcastle University), Rachel Lofthouse (Lecturer, Newcastle University) and Roger Sutcliffe (President of SAPERE) formed a panel to update and inform delegates on recent developments within primary education in the new political climate. Rachel also provided helpful insights and information relating to the M.Ed module 'Developing Innovative Curriculum through Student/Pupil Enquiry', offered by Newcastle University.
Martin Dell (Assessment and Data Adviser for Wakefield LA) facilitated a stimulating and thought provoking workshop on 'Assessing Skills and Enquiry', using examples of a variety of techniques collected from Wakefield Open Futures schools.
Peter Carne outlined the development and national roll-out of the Open Futures Programme, from September onwards. He described what the programme can do for new and existing Open Futures schools and how the Wakefield schools can continue to be involved. Joseph Sivell (the new Open Futures Online Community Manager) described plans for the online community and its benefits for schools. Wakefield schools were invited to join the new Open Futures Network and to identify ongoing training needs (using forms in the Conference packs).
Preparing to serve 'taster' plates of South African food.
The conference closed with the children of Towngate Primary School sharing their South African dishes with delegates. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to sample and experience their delicious 'taster' plates. Thank you Towngate, for participating in the conference and for your invaluable contribution to its success.