School leaders gather for NAHT Early Years and Primary Conferences

School leaders will be gathering on 10 and 11 November for NAHT’s virtual Early Years and Primary Conferences to reflect on “the bright side and the joy of education”.

The programmes for the two events will be focusing on some of the educational positives that have emerged through the recent testing times.

Each day’s programme includes keynote speakers and partners from a range of settings across the country and external experts in the field of early and primary education.

Speakers at the Early Years Conference on Wednesday (10 November), include:

·  Gill Jones, HMI, deputy director schools early education, Ofsted

·  Jan Dubiel, executive principal, Little Lions

·  Professor Julie Fisher, independent early years adviser and visiting professor of early childhood education at Oxford Brookes University

· Rt Hon Dame Andrea Leadsom, DBE MP.

On Thursday (11 November), speakers at the Primary Conference include:

·  Will Hussey, award winning, best-selling author and keynote speaker, who specialises in “making a difference”

·  Shirley Clarke, a world expert in formative assessment, specialising in the practical application of its principles

·   Andrew Hammond, senior director at Learning and Community Discovery Education

·  Onjali Q Rauf, best-selling author, human rights activist and the founder of the NGO, Making Herstory.

Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary, said: “School leaders and their teams have gone to incredible lengths to protect and teach our children and young people in the most challenging of times. It’s not surprising that morale has got quite low at times for school leaders during the pandemic.

“An NAHT survey found that the top words used to describe this time are ‘challenging, exhausting and stressful’. Too many experienced leaders are looking to leave and too few middle leaders aspire to headship.

“We want to help our members find the joy in education again, and I hope our Early Years and Primary Conferences help to reaffirm that school leadership is still the most wonderful job in the world.”

Chair of the Early Years Conference, NAHT past president, and Yorkshire infants school headteacher, Judy Shaw said: “Heads are typically extremely positive, and very optimistic people. Before the pandemic, schools were feeling the pressure from lack of investment. Despite all the additional challenges that we have faced and had to overcome in the last couple of years, there are many joys to being a headteacher.

“Teaching is a wonderful job, and we must keep our positivity about it for the sake of those aspiring to lead our schools in the future.”

Chair of the Primary Conference and Birmingham headteacher, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, said: “The title is ‘The Joy of Education’ for good reason. We have had a shocker of a time for the last two years and a pretty awful time before that. We all came into the profession because of the joy that it is, it was and should be. If we are not careful, we won’t just run out of joy – we’ll run out of teachers and school leaders too.”

For more details and to view the schedule, visit:

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