Education on show at the NEC

Written by: The Education Show | Published:
Getting together: Scenes from last year’s Education Show at Birmingham’s NEC

This year’s Education Show takes place from March 16 to 18. We preview the free event, with a look at some of the CPD and exhibitors on show

Every year, the Education Show offers school leaders and teaching staff the chance to discover new ideas, try out the latest products and services, find useful resources, and improve their practice through the range of CPD on offer – all for free.


The CPD programme runs throughout the three days of the event offering ideas, inspiration and insight. You may want to start by reserving your seat at some of the free CPD sessions in the Central Feature Theatre.
There is also a Learning Through Technology Theatre offering sessions focused on using specific products and types of technology in schools. And there will be some SEN sessions relevant to secondary practitioners in the Early Years and SEN Theatre too.

The show’s website has a full listings of the CPD on offer across all three theatres. All are quick-fire, 30-minute sessions and you can reserve your place for free online. Selected sessions are previewed below.

Assessing Computing: In the Central Feature Theatre at 3:30pm on the Thursday (March 16), the renowned and inspirational Miles Berry, principal lecturer in computing education at Roehampton University, will be helping school leaders with assessment, specifically in computing. This half-hour session will look at some of the challenges faced by leaders in assessing skills, knowledge and understanding in computing.

Advocating Dance Fitness Within the PE Curriculum of British Schools: Elsewhere on the opening day of the show, retired ballerina Darcey Bussell will be headlining the Central Feature Theatre at 11:50am. Her session will be based on the speech she made at the Houses of Parliament in February advocating the performing arts, dance fitness and physical literacy in schools.

Including Refugee Children in Your Setting: The last 18 months have seen the biggest migration of people across borders in living memory. If the current issue of embracing refugee children effectively at your school applies to you, the session at 3:50pm on the Thursday in the Early Years and SEN Theatre may be relevant. The session, delivered by Alison Prowle and Janet Harvey from the University of Worcester, will explore the implications of global migration on children’s wellbeing and development, with emphasis placed on how schools can support positive outcomes.

Introducing Visigo: The CPD/exhibition aspects of the show often combine, as in this session in the Central Feature Theatre at 4:10pm on the Thursday. The session will explore the features and functionality of this new monitoring solution that alerts you to any suspicious or inappropriate behaviour, both online and offline.

How to Recruit the Right Teachers for Your School in Three Steps: The problems of staff recruitment are well-documented, with 79 per cent of schools in a 2015 National Association of Head Teachers’ survey reporting that they “found recruitment problematic” and that they always recruited “with some difficulty”. At 11:20am in the Central Feature Theatre on Friday, March 17, Mark Robinson, CEO of FindEd, will cover the dos and don’ts of recruiting the right teachers for your school, providing a framework for both assessing and improving your current processes.

The Role of the Arts in Education – Inspiration from Poetry: Former poet laureate Michael Rosen will be on hand at 12:40pm in the Central Feature Theatre on the Friday to lead this session. The arts offer a particular kind of experience to young people: a chance to explore a medium or a material in ways that are usually collaborative, experimental and inventive. Poetry takes these approaches into the use of language and the many motifs, genres, and types we have created over thousands of years. Michael will argue why this is all too valuable to neglect.

Creating Autism Champions Through Developing Peer Awareness: At 11:20am on the Saturday (March 18) in the Early years and SEN Theatre, Joy Beaney and Kay Al Ghazi, who are consultants for the Autism Train, will consider the changing attitudes to autism. They believe it is vital to increase awareness and sensitivity towards children with autism and look at how children can support their peers.

What Kids Are Reading: Launched in February, the ninth annual What Kids Are Reading report – independently authored by Keith Topping, professor of educational and social research at Dundee University – is the largest study of its kind, and explores the selected book-reading habits of pupils from years 1 to 11 in British primary and secondary schools. In this session in the Central Feature Theatre at 10:40am on the Saturday, Lauren Shapiro, a former teacher and senior programme manager at Renaissance Learning, will discuss some of the key findings.

The DofE – A Holistic Solution to Issues Facing Headteachers Today: The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has been popular in secondary schools for many years. Easily integrated within an education environment, benefits extend beyond pupils to the school or college, its teachers and wider community. While participants develop skills and attributes such as communication, confidence, leadership and resilience that will set them up for life and work, teachers and senior leaders can also develop their skill-sets by working with students outside of a conventional classroom setting. This session is presented by former headteacher Andy Buck, who is managing director of Leadership Matters, in the Central Feature Theatre at 12pm on the Saturday.

The exhibition

Rather than spend hours searching online for new systems, products and resources you may need, without the ability to ask questions or evaluate the product, the Education Show gives visitors a chance to see the latest resources, ask the suppliers questions relating to your specific needs, trial and compare the relevant products, and even negotiate the best prices.

However, what is interesting when you speak to visitors is that chatting with other school leaders and teachers at the show is often the most valuable aspect. Striking up a conversation, sharing ideas and experiences can be the most valuable part of your day. The exhibition space at the NEC features more than 350 suppliers and a full, searchable listing can be found on the Education Show website.

Examples include FindEd on stand F103, an education recruitment website. FindEd enables schools to connect directly with teachers looking for a job and receive immediate feedback from the people they are trying to attract.

If you feel your school’s staff need more training to effectively deliver the computing curriculum, a visit to stand D80 may be worth your while. is an online planning and training resource for the computing curriculum.

On a similar theme, Cloudtrainer on stand F91 will be sharing its experience of empowering teachers to take control of their own CPD. Its system allows staff to access and share CPD internally, while a central library of content allows schools to access (and contribute to) a wider range of learning resources.

Elsewhere, EdComs Teachers is worth a visit on stand M70. This online community rewards teachers for their contributions, insight and experience. All its resources are developed with the input of practising teachers.

If it is the hardware you are interested in, a visit to the XMA on stand FF89 might answer many of your questions. Education IT specialists XMA will have the iPad Pro and Viglen Chromebook, and Surface Pro 4 on stand.

And of course SecEd and our sister magazine Headteacher Update will be at the show on stand M78. Do come and say hello, pick up free copies of our latest editions and supplements, and speak to the team. SecEd

Further information

The Education Show takes place from March 16 to 18 at the NEC in Birmingham. You can pre-book online for free admission to the show and a seat at any number of CPD sessions, all of which are free of charge. Visit


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