School conference focuses on MK Futures

Sep 27, 2019

FOR many years it has been our tradition at Shenley Brook End School to hold an off-site Team Leader conference on a specific theme and where possible at a venue that supports that theme writes Shenley Book End school headteacher Chris Holmwood

Two years ago we went to Bletchley Park to plan for ‘D-Day’ (well, Ofsted). Last year we converted a barn, wedding style, to celebrate our partnership within the 5 Dimensions Trust and this year we were hosted at the offices of professional services firm Grant Thornton in Central Milton Keynes.
Our theme was MK:2050 and a chance to learn of the exciting ways in which the MK Futures project is set to transform the city. 

Our school opened in 1997 to meet the needs of a rapidly growing MK and has itself grown from 120 to 1700 students. We therefore felt it important to refresh our perspective on the school that we need to become if we are to fulfil our role as powerfully as possible in supporting our young people in growing up in this changing place. 
Floor 4 of the Grant Thornton offices was the perfect venue, directly opposite the land on which MK:U, the city’s new university will be built. Grant Thornton were especially generous in allowing us conference and break out facilities for 25 people for a charitable donation of £100 – my thanks also goes to Deb Foster at SEMLEP who made this possible. 

As a group we looked at the future growth in MK, the opening of the Institute of Technology and MK:U, the dynamic of the Oxford – MK- Cambridge arc and had the chance to reflect on the educational standards and provision that we currently have and the way this will need to change. 
Central to this is an emphasis upon ensuring students develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge that educators and employers will require in a rapidly changing world. We therefore worked with Deb at SEMLEP to invite seven people to inform our discussions and to explore future opportunities. Our guests were from a range of backgrounds; international agencies, local start-ups, people-centred work, highly technological and innovative businesses… a really interesting mix. 

This part of the day will certainly inform the career guidance we give in school as well as lead to more projects engaging young people with the real world.
In the afternoon we took the opportunity to visit the MK Futures exhibition in Middleton Hall. This supported the morning’s focus superbly, deepening our understanding of the coming changes and growth in MK but also challenging us as educators to consider how we should respond in our planning and delivery. 

If you are reading this and considering how to partner up with school that is looking to the future in this way, please get in touch.

Finally, having expressed our gratitude to Grant Thornton, I would also like to mention that although it was great to be out of school for the day, we do also have our own first class conference centre, the Leadership and Training Centre. If you would like to consider a school-based day in a truly reflective environment please do let me know.

CHRIS HOLMWOOD Headteacher, Shenley Brook End School

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