Education in South Yorkshire will take centre stage next year as a new festival comes to Sheffield Hallam University.

The Sheffield Hallam University Festival of Education, which will take place in June 2019, will combine a festival-style atmosphere, celebrating recent achievements and developments in education in the region, with provocative and stimulating debate about current and emerging challenges to the young people in the South Yorkshire region.

The festival, which is sponsored by Tes, will bring together over 100 speakers, groups and organisations from local, regional, national and international education systems – with hundreds of teachers, early years practitioners, head-teachers, education policy makers, business leaders and politicians expected to attend over the two days.

Speakers – who are being announced in the lead-up to the festival – will include Sameena Choudry, Founder of Equitable Education and a national leader of #WomenEd, David Weston, Chief Executive of the Teacher Development Trust, Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, Ann Mroz, editor and digital publishing director of the Times Educational Supplement (TES), and Matt Hood, inaugural director of the Institute for Teaching.

Professor Sam Twiselton OBE, director of the Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE) at Sheffield Hallam said: “At the festival’s heart is a mission to celebrate and showcase the fantastic practice happening in our region. We want to share the expertise of our education professionals and stakeholders right across the sector, debate their different perspectives and shine a light on the brilliance of education in South Yorkshire in a way that is both profound and creative.”

“But this is not, I repeat not, a conference. With music, art, performances, good food and other cultural events throughout the two-day event across our City Campus, we’ve got the festival feeling well and truly covered.”

Speakers will appear alongside a range of partner groups and organisations who work towards improving access to education and supporting education practitioners and settings. These include three partners who will curate strands at the festival: #WomenEd, a grassroots movement which works to connect existing and aspiring leaders in education; Firm Foundations, which focuses on the early year’s sector; and the HEPPSY programme, which works to increase the number of young people who progress to higher education.

Sean Cavan, festival director and Head of Business Engagement at SIoE said: “This is a much-needed opportunity to bring together a wider range of professionals working in early years, schools and our regional employers who can really make a difference to the achievements, aspirations and futures of the children and young people in our region.”

The concept for the festival originated from the University’s social mobility partner South Yorkshire Futures, which has seen Sheffield Hallam take a leading role in bringing together regional stakeholders to collaborate on raising aspirations and educational attainment in South Yorkshire.

The flagship project, backed by the Department for Education, aims to improve attainment and raise aspiration for those from disadvantaged backgrounds across all age groups, whilst developing a dedicated workforce to support them.

Sheffield Hallam University is the most prominent university in the UK for driving improvements in education and championing social mobility.

From early years through to higher education, the SIoE at Sheffield Hallam provides over 1,000 qualified teachers each year to the education system regionally and nationally.

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