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ISBA conference a resounding success

Technology and sustainability were the key themes of the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association’s (ISBA) annual conference at Harrogate International Centre this year

The two-day event, which ran from 7th to 8th May, and welcomed more than 430 school senior management staff and 113 exhibitors, focused heavily on professional development training as well as providing the opportunity for schools across the country to network with each other. The conference opened with an insider’s peek into

ABOVE: Inspirational educationalist Sir John Jones TOP LEFT: Journalist Lucy Siegle hosts the sustainability debate TOP RIGHT: Rohan Silva, former senior policy adviser to David Cameron

life at Downing Street from Rohan Silva - former senior policy adviser to David Cameron and George Osborne. Rohan brought technology and innovation into sharp focus throughout his presentation by highlighting the potential role that schools can play in building pupils’ technological dreams and skills in enterprise. Inspirational educationalist Sir John Jones

spoke to the delegates on the second day of the conference, asking staff to look introspectively at themselves and their reasons for working within schools. He defined their ‘commitment’ as physical, cognitive and emotional and highlighted ways staff could “write their own script” and build their capacity as a leader based on what he defined as three essential factors: staff commitment, staff quality and student expectation. A wide choice of break-out sessions were also held

throughout the two days on crisis management, governance, leadership and management, as well as updates on topical education and employment law issues, data protection, pensions, the UK economy and child protection. However, arguably the most eagerly awaited

session was a panel discussion on sustainability in schools facilitated by journalist and contributor to the BBC’s The One Show, Lucy Siegle and which also featured environmental activist and former

head of Friends of the Earth for England Charles Secret; Neil Jones, headmaster of St Joseph’s in the Park School; Dr Craig Lowrey, consultant for UX Energy Services; Carl Benfield, managing director of Prescient Power; and Paul Mote, bursar of the United World College of the Atlantic. The discussion explored the options available to schools to reduce their carbon footprint and make energy savings. “Sustainability is a moral compass,” said Charles Secret and the panel agreed that schools can stand as examples to drive societal behaviour change. Mike Lower, the ISBA’s general secretary, said:

“This year proved to be one of our best conferences yet. Our expert speakers really engaged with their audiences and the debates that ensued not only provided delegates with ideas and practical advice but will have also helped to shape the strategic thinking of many of our member schools. Feedback from the event has been very positive and we are delighted to be able to support the staff of our member schools with their continuing professional development.” Delegates also atended the association’s annual

dinner on Thursday 8th May where Dr Phil Hammond was the after-dinner speaker and amused atendees with his unique take on ways to de-stress from work. iE


More information on the ISBA’s annual conference can be found on its website:

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