Teachers and leaders empowered at C Change Conference in Wirral

The long-awaited C Change Conference 2023 proved to be one to remember. 

The pioneering conference, held in the Floral Pavilion Theatre in New Brighton, Wirral, invited almost 200 individuals to hear from notable figures and keynote speakers across the education sector and participate in unique workshops for its second year. 

Part of the national Creativity Collaboratives research programme, C Change is the only North West collaborator, proudly formed by Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust and based in St Bernard’s RC Primary and Nursery School. Alongside ten other educational institutions, C Change works to push the boundaries of teaching innovation, focusing on creativity and system-wide change. 

Throughout the day, keynote speeches and workshops encouraged attendees to think about how they can help students feel more excited and inspired in the classroom. By taking a creative approach to teaching, educators can create an environment where learning is more than a workbook on a desk.  

Amongst those welcomed to the 2023 event were Sir Nick Serota, chair of Arts Council England and BBC Board member; Professor Bill Lucas, professor of learning and director of the Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) and Dr Debra Kidd and Hywel Roberts, teachers, authors, storytellers and speakers. 

The event began with an impactful opening by poet and writer, Ashleigh Nugent, followed by Sir Nicholas Serota’s discussion on transforming the education system through creativity and Professor Bill Lucas’ encouraging keynote about the work happening across the world to make creativity a reality in schools.  

After an inspirational keynote delivered by Dr Debra Kidd and Hywel Roberts about the power of storytelling and a humane curriculum, attendees had the exciting opportunity to attend two workshops of their choosing. 

This included Dr Chris McClean’s session about the School Citizen Assemblies approach, which empowers everyone to tackle challenges together, Andy Ash’s exploration of creativity and maths and the link between them, and LYFTA’s showcase of its interactive 360° learning spaces for memorable lessons. 

Rosie Clayton of Rethinking Assessment hosted a workshop about the significance of digital portfolios whilst Hywel Roberts and Dr Debra Kidd delivered a lively and engaging lesson to a group of Y8 students. In her hands on workshop, Cathy Cross portrayed the importance of physical, creative spaces. 

The afternoon also consisted of round table conversations facilitated by students from St Mary’s and St John Plessington Catholic Colleges, led by Professor Louise Stoll. These included an exploration of partnership, utilising powerful examples in two communities – New Brighton, where C Change is producing exciting work with Rockpoint, Wirral council and local schools, and Ellesmere Port, where Creative Practitioner Cathy Cross has been working to produce incredible results with local primary schools, encouraging delegates to consider how they could work with businesses and organisations in their own localities. 

Later in the day, attendees had the opportunity to hear about Wirral’s ambitions for the Borough of Culture initiative, which it is hosting next year on behalf of the Liverpool City Region.  

The event ended on a high as Ashleigh Nugent returned to perform live poetry, along with students from the day who helped him perform the piece.  

Businesses and organisations from near and far were also present on the day, engaging with attendees in the lobby where everyone had the chance to network, sharing further ideas and conversations about how to creatively transform education, bettering it for current and future generations. 

During a time of uncertainty due to the unfortunate recruitment crisis within the education sector, the event acted as a pillar of support in uplifting teachers from across the country, bringing them together and reinforcing a collective love of learning. 

The C Change Conference 2023 was highly empowering for those who attended, with some individuals even taking to social media to express their appreciation of the day and how inspired they felt.  

Emily Reid, C Change project lead, commented: “On behalf of everyone at C Change and Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust, I would like to thank all who joined us for our 2023 conference. It was a pleasure to connect with so many like-minded individuals and share important conversations and experiences about education.” 

Andy Moor, CEO of Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust, added: “It was fantastic to hear from different voices in the sector, particularly those of our young people. The conference was all about doing things differently and giving our young people a genuine voice to shape the future. We look forward to coming together again next time to explore these ideas further and work towards creating a more creative and inspiring education system for all.” 

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