AEWMAnother successful AEWM conference came to an interesting end on Wednesday lunch time as the Government announced the invitations to schools to consider a  move to Academy status.

Delegates gave the conference an overall value of “excellent” and the Hallmark Hotel in Handforth near Wilmslow provided an outstanding welcome with exceptional accommodation and food.  Some thought was given to breaking our existing protocol by returning to this first rate venue again for a second consecutive year in 2011.

The programme included the following presentations:-

Following his opening welcome to us as Director of Childrens Services Stockport, Andrew Webb spoke to us about “helping us to help schools” , with particular reference to the Common Assessment  Framework

David Moore a  retired HMI with particular interest in attendance and behaviour, spoke to us about his recent work in local authorities looking at CME and  EHE

Sue Gregory, a former senior manager in Childrens Services  reminded us  about the importance of Doing the simple things better

John Chowcat General Secretary for Aspect spoke on the theme of Looking towards the future.

For the second year, we have had a special presentation dedicated to the memory of Mike Davis, such an example of good practice in the world of Child Protection and Safeguarding. This year it was the turn of Andy McCulloch from The Railway Children who asked if he could do this having listened to Kaye Handman speaking last year.

We heard about the values of Early intervention to improve attendance –from  Maxime Froggatt  an Associate lead from Aspect

Whilst we had hoped that Graham Badman, author of the Badman review on EHE, would be with us but this was not to be and we were delighted that Ellie Evans – from  West Sussex agreed to come and share the recommendations  from the above report. Ellie proved to be an excellent replacement for Graham and such is her knowledge and expertise that she has been invited to join the NEC to represent this area of work.

The conference also heard from ‘some of our own’ with Ian Price discussing recent events in Bolton, Alan Cogswell facilitated  a discussion on ‘Support v Enforcement’ and Steve Martin showed some recent Safeguarding project work from Solihull. 

Following a well presented and delicious conference dinner, we listened to Debz Sladen from Cumbria . Debz talked about her life and the impact that Yoga has had on this. She then invited us to experience ‘NIA’ a form of yoga stretch to music..

Despite some late discussions, there was a good and lively turn out the following morning to listen to Albert Kirby QPM, a retired senior police officer .Amongst many things Albert was the investigating officer into the James Bulger case.

At the AGM  Jennie Clark was inducted as the President for 2010/11. Jennie asked for an invitation to all regional meetings in order to gain members input to the work of the NEC.

Ian Price was elected as President Elect and Jude Crabtree from Rochdale and Sue Harrison from Bradford were elected as NEC members.  Existing NEC members took on changes in their roles and full details will appear on the NEC page shortly.

A discussion was held leading to a resolution for the NEC to investigate further professional links to Aspect.  Members will be provided with more information following initial dialogue with John Chowcat and his colleagues.

TASC our IT colleagues and F & W Financial Advisors joined the conference for the three days to offer support and guidance on these import issues. 

Copies of the speaker’s presentation appear on the members forum.

Our raffle this year raised £126 for Red Balloon and an equal amount was donated to Water Aid.  Web links to both of these excellent charities and to the Railway Children can be found on our site.

As you will see the NEC is already considering next years conference and any suggestions Members have regarding content or speakers would be welcome.  Be sure to put the dates for next year in your diary 21st – 25th May 2011.

Discuss this on the Member's Forum.