Education on show at the NEC

Written by: The Education Show | Published:
Getting together: Last year’s Education Show at Birmingham’s NEC (image supplied)

This year’s Education Show takes place from March 16 to 18. We preview the free event, with a look at some of the CPD, exhibitors and other attractions

Every year, the Education Show offers school leaders and teaching staff the chance to discover new ideas, try out the latest products and services, find useful resources, and improve their practice through the range of CPD on offer – all for free.


The CPD programme runs throughout the three days of the event. You may want to start by reserving your seat at some of the free CPD sessions in the Central Feature Theatre and the Early Years and Special Educational Needs Theatre. There is also a Learning Through Technology Theatre offering sessions focused on using specific products and types of technology in schools. The show’s website has a full listings of the CPD on offer across all three theatres. All are quick-fire, 30-minute sessions and you can reserve your place for free online. Selected sessions are previewed below.

Alternatives in Teaching Modern Foreign Languages: At 2:30pm on the first day of the show, Thursday, March 16, in the Early Years and SEN Theatre, Magali Ellis, headteacher of Trinity School, will be sharing her insight into MFL and discussing the most effective way to teach MFL in primary schools. An open discussion will cover how frequent and how long the lessons need to be, which teaching method to choose and how to untangle the complexity of setting up your language provision.

Mastery or Mediocrity – How to Overcome the Challenges for the KS2 SATs: For those of you feeling the pressure of key stage 2 SATs, the CPD session in the Central Feature Theatre at 2:50pm on the Thursday maybe worth a visit. Nasir Quershi, director of SATs Companion, will address the key issues teachers are facing with the new assessments, including curriculum coverage, saving time and money, differentiated resources, gap analysis and the new question styles. He will suggest some solutions and techniques to overcome these challenges.

Assessing Computing: In the Central Feature Theatre at 3:30pm on the Thursday, the renowned and inspirational Miles Berry, principal lecturer in computing education at Roehampton University, will be helping school leaders with assessment, specifically in computing. This session will look at some of the challenges faced by leaders in assessing skills, knowledge and understanding in computing.

Including Refugee Children in Your Setting: The last 18 months have seen the biggest migration of people across borders in living memory. If the current issue of embracing refugee children effectively at your school applies to you, the session at 3:50pm on the Thursday in the Early Years and SEN Theatre may be relevant. The session, delivered by Alison Prowle and Janet Harvey from the University of Worcester, will explore the implications of global migration on children’s wellbeing and development, with emphasis placed on how schools can support positive outcomes.

How to Recruit the Right Teachers for Your School in Three Steps: The problems of staff recruitment are well-documented, with 79 per cent of schools in a 2015 National Association of Head Teachers’ survey reporting that they found recruitment “problematic” and that they always recruited “with some difficulty”. At 11:20am in the Central Feature Theatre on Friday, March 17, Mark Robinson, CEO of FindEd, will cover the dos and don’ts of recruiting the right teachers for your school, providing a framework for both assessing and improving your current processes.

Two Top Priorities for Good Practice in the EYFS: With so many changes to EYFS policy and practice over the last few years it is difficult to clear the fog and stick to what we know is exemplary practice for young children. Di Chilvers, an early years specialist with YPO, will lead this session at 2:30pm on the Friday in the Early Years and SEN Theatre, focusing on practitioner/teacher professional development.

Managing Mental Health – A Resilience Toolkit: At 10:40am on the Saturday, March 18, Robert Whitelock, a teacher of mathematics at Garforth Academy, will warn of the shocking statistic that 25 per cent of school staff are likely to suffer from mental health problems. His presentation in the Early Years and SEN Theatre will provide a toolkit for managing mental health in any school, and advice on how teachers can build emotional resilience.

Creating Autism Champions Through Developing Peer Awareness: At 11:20am on the Saturday in the Early years and SEN Theatre, Joy Beaney and Kay Al Ghazi, who are consultants for the Autism Train, will consider the changing attitudes to autism. They believe it is vital to increase awareness and sensitivity towards children with autism and look at how children can support their peers.

What Kids Are Reading: Launched in February, the ninth annual What Kids Are Reading report – independently authored by Keith Topping, professor of educational and social research at Dundee University – is the largest study of its kind, and explores the selected book-reading habits of pupils from years 1 to 11 in British primary and secondary schools. In this session in the Central Feature Theatre at 10:40am on the Saturday, Lauren Shapiro, a former teacher and senior programme manager at Renaissance Learning, will discuss some of the key findings.

Getting together: A scene from last year’s Education Show at Birmingham’s NEC (image supplied)

The exhibition

Rather than spend hours searching online for new systems, products and resources you may need, without the ability to ask questions or evaluate the product, the Education Show gives visitors a chance to see the latest resources, ask the suppliers questions relating to your specific needs, trial and compare the relevant products, and even negotiate the best prices.

However, what is interesting when you speak to visitors is that chatting with other school leaders and teachers at the show is often the most valuable aspect. Striking up a conversation, sharing ideas and experiences can be the most valuable part of your day. The exhibition space at the NEC features more than 350 suppliers and a full, searchable listing can be found on the Education Show website.

Examples include Language Magnet on stand N14. This company provides a foreign language service for primary schools offering personalised language coaching for non-specialist teachers as well as schemes of work and resources.

Cloudtrainer on stand F91 will be sharing its experience of empowering teachers to take control of their own CPD. Its system allows staff to access and share CPD internally, while a central library of content allows schools to access (and contribute to) a wider range of learning resources. Or on stand J68, Open Futures, an accredited CPD programme, will be on-hand to show you how they help teachers to build children’s ability “to think and to do”.

Meanwhile, Inspiring to Inspire on stand G85 is an advert-free website designed to fulfil Ofsted’s requirements to engage parents in their child’s mathematical learning.

And of course Headteacher Update will be at the show on stand M78. Do come and say hello, pick up free copies of our latest editions and supplements, and speak to the team.

Further information

The Education Show takes place from March 16 to 18 at the NEC in Birmingham. You can pre-book online for free admission to the show and a seat at any number of CPD sessions, all of which are free of charge. Visit

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