‘The festival was a splendid thing. They should do it every year. It worked for Christmas.’


Live art by Squirl Art. Photo by Michael Shaw.

The title is a quote from Tom Bennett’s recent blog post about LFE- check it out! (See more links at bottom).

Just a quick note to say how humbled we (and the whole LFE team) are by the London Festival of Education feedback that continues to flood in days after the event. THANK YOU SO MUCH. To see what I’m talking about just check out #LFE2012 on twitter.

Getting to LFE..
Our team at Suklaa have worked in and with schools and educational establishments for many years. We’ve seen some wonderful stuff happening, amazing teaching and learning but too often it’s in isolation. We also seen how institutions across the country face similar issues and challenges. We’ve been to LOADS of education conferences which are often good, but we see the same faces and we get the impression that speakers are ‘preaching to the converted’. With this in mind we wanted to run a large-scale event connecting all the people in education with those running it, with parents, teachers, school managers, governors, businesses people and with anyone who cares about education.

In 2010 we got in touch with TedxLondon and together designed the Education Revolution which happened last year in the (wonderful) Roundhouse see the talks here. TedxLondon Education Revolution was great and we had some amazing speakers and a brilliant audience of 1000 who were lively and engaged. The TED format has strong features: a ‘sexy’ brand, visually bold, simple images used to support talks, tough time-keeping, long, regular ‘conversation breaks’ (a good thing to do for #LFE2013 by all accounts?!) However, a main criticism we took from the (largely teaching) audience who attended was around the lack of interaction. The lack of a voice for the experts in the seats facing the stage. (I’m not saying it.. I’m not saying it was too ‘sage on the stage’ aargh! too late, it’s in! and it was.. Well if the über cool Michael Shaw (@MrMichaelShaw) can say it I can too;). After TEDx we knew we wanted to do something else…but what?

It was therefore very exciting when we were invited by the Institute of Education and the LFE steering group to tender to be event organisers for this ambitious new event. It seemed like they were on board with our hope to create something BIG, an urban education festival. We wanted brilliant speakers, entertainment, interaction, inspiration, practical learning and inclusion of festival goers voices in the mix. Like the TedX event, prices had to be kept as low as possible and the London Festival of Education had to happen on a weekend so anyone who wanted to come, likely could. (This was not one just for the progressive deputy head that gets to go to all the edu-events, though we do love YOU too:).

We wanted the festival to be fun and inclusive. We invited young people, artists, poets, musicians and tv presenters to participate as well as leading academics, policy makers, journalists, authors and educators. We requested all LFE speaker sessions allocate decent time for audience questions and discussion. David Aaronovitch did this too by opening up the floodgates and bravely inviting his twitter followers to suggest questions for Michael Gove. Oliver Quinlan designed ‘ReconsiderED’ a teach-meet style session for festival participants to take the lead on.

For ease I thought I’d compile a list of blogs and links that we’ve come across so far relating to the festival. (If I’ve missed any please leave a link in the comments). Keep the conversation going. Let us know what you think by clicking “comment” below. And if you want to work with us.. we love a challenge, so get in touch.

Let’s finish up with a quote from Tom Bennett (another one, since he’s funny and generous with praise) LFE was ‘Good with outstanding features’. We’ll take that, that’s fair. Loads to learn. Loads to do differently next time. Loads of work. Loads of fun. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO TOOK PART IN LFE AND MADE IT THE EVENT IT WAS.

The London Festival of Education: Good, with Outstanding Features. Part 1

London Festival Of Education Part 2: Teacher Training, Flirtgate, and The Pale Rider
by @tombennett71

London Festival of Education #LFE2012 on Storify by @C01clem

LFE: What does an educated person look like? by brynll

The Makeroom at London Festival of Education
by @digitalme_

Some thoughts on learning technologies in the classroom by @dajbelshaw

Reconsidered: The discussion #LFE2012 by @oliverquinlan

London Festival of Education by @Annehtraining

London Festival of Education
by @bartlettucl

London Festival of Education 2012 by @dawnhallybone

Building a Trust Culture: It’s not all hugs by @headguruteacher

London Festival Of Education 2012 #Gove by @emmalwarren

London Festival Of Education Report #2 by @emmalwarren

Learning on the edge by @bridgetmck

Also big thanks to the v talented artists:
Greg Stobbs from Squirl Art who was live painting the canvases on the IOE’s stairs and created the signage for the event.
Laura Sorvala from Auralab who live illustrated several festival sessions.




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