Annual Conference

Review of the 5th BSO Annual Conference

The Grand Hotel Brighton, November 2016

Sponsors: The Buckinghamshire Learning Trust, Double First and Penta International

The 5th Association of British Schools Overseas (AoBSO) conference was held in Brighton, in the sumptuous surroundings of the Grand Hotel.  Around thirty delegates, including a good-sized cohort from BSME schools, assembled to discuss the future of BSOs and to hear from excellent speakers. Allied to this were very well-received long and short sessions in the Head to Head parts of the Conference.

After opening remarks, Peter Swift, DfE Deputy Director for Independent Education, addressed delegates and gave a timeline for the release of the new BSO standards, which, as all will now know, arrived in our inboxes the following week.  Peter is very supportive of BSOs and the benefits of the BSO inspection systems and his presence at the Conference was appreciated by Heads at the event.

A weather front called Angus  (and it certainly was beefy!)  ensured that none were tempted to take a stroll along the beach, but full attendance in all sessions would have been achieved in any case, due to the excellence of our presenters.  It also has to be said that we were extremely well catered for – in both food and beverage – by the Grand Hotel!

Dr. Kate Goodger presented on Chimp Management and the Chimp Paradox. Kate, originally a teacher, has worked with elite athletes for Team GB at five Olympics and was lead consultant for the British Olympic Association’s First Games Home Games project for athletes competing on home soil at London 2012.  As a result of Kate’s sessions, all of us are now aware of the need to control our inner chimp and to feed him – or her – appropriately!  This was fascinating stuff; recent research on the brain and our conscious and unconscious selves was woven into a whole that helps us better to understand relationships and meetings and (hopefully) to avoid some of the problems we all encounter as leaders.   http://chimpmanagement.com  will give you more insight into these concepts.

Our second, headline speaker was Floyd Woodrow MBE DCM LLB who at 22 became one of the youngest ever members of the SAS, earning a Distinguished Conduct Medal and rising to the rank of major. A final role in this phase of his career was as head of the Counter Terrorist Unit. After the forces, Floyd took on many roles including hostage rescue negotiations and assisting businesses to perform highly.

Using a mix of accounts of life behind enemy lines in the Gulf War and other aspects of his life, Floyd described his Compass for Life concept and applied this to a wide range of leadership area. We found that this brought a plethora of concepts into a satisfying framework that should enable leaders to analyse their own situations in a more focused way.  More can be found at http://compassforlife.co.uk and http://www.chrysalis-worldwide.com/associates/floydwoodrow

I found both of these speakers to be absolutely top class and hope to be able to work with them at BSME or at St Christopher’s in the future.

A very popular part of previous conferences has been the Head-to-Head presentations. These continued in this 5th conference with a number of heads addressing a range of down-to-earth matters relevant to us all. The audience greatly appreciated these and the input from Amanda Picillo, Head of the Buckinghamshire Learning Trust, and her colleague, Kate Rumboll; who reminded us of the power of partnerships. A final valuable input was provided by Tim Howarth from the charity United World Schools – which I recommend most highly to any BSME school. For more information head over to  http://www.unitedworldschools.org/

Finally – and vitally – I need to convey my deep appreciation to the sponsors of this event.

Buckinghamshire Learning Trust (with Mark Bignell and Roxanne Willis-Jackson taking the brunt of the work) sourced the hotel and negotiated speakers, printing, room prices, logistics and everything that goes into making an event successful.  Double First / Engage provided the necessary sponsorship to cover ancillary costs and the speakers’ fees.  Penta International, as always, gave their valuable support to AoBSO and the conference.  Without sponsorship this event cannot run!

And so to next year! The delegates decided that, although Brighton was delightful, it is better to be at the centre of things, leading to the decision to return to London next November. I expect the AoBSO Conference 2017 to be as valuable and successful as this one … perhaps even more so!

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Review of the 4th BSO Annual Conference,London, 2015

The 4th BSO conference was a great success.

Delegates were very pleased to welcome Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb MP, who addressed the conference and took the opportunity to announce that consultation had now opened on proposed revisions to the BSO regulations.  A lively discussion ensued!

The programme included excellent and inspirational input from the speakers shown in the programme, including peer-to-peer speakers, reinforcing the grass-roots nature of AoBSO and the annual conferences.

Derek Betts and Brian Johnson explained expertly the dual nature of UKTI / BIS interest in British overseas schools and Amanda Taylor-Hopkins explained the Buckinghamshire Learning Trusts work on sustainable school imporovement in British Schools Overseas.

Jeff Thompson gave a thoughtful and insightful talk that drew on his long and broad involvement in the international education sector and his ongoing research work.

Marcus Orlvosky, in inimitable style, alternatively drew laughter, surprise and tears in pretty equal measure and caused delegates to ponder if we really do understand the potential of students in our schools.

We are hugely indebted to our sponsors: Double First, Penta International, The Buckinghamshire Learning Trust and UKTI.  Their support was vital to the success of the 4th BSO Conference.

…… now to plan next year’s event!