Re-imagining School – Learning Exchange (LEX) event 24th June, London

 Centre for Personalised Education Learning Exchange (LEX) – Alternative Educational Futures Series:

Re-imagining School.

  Saturday 24th June 2017 1000 for 1030-1700

    Twitter: #AlternativeEducationalFutures

                         Venue: Imagination Lab:The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High Street, London, SE1 7AG

After our enormously successful Alternative Educational Futures Conference last June at Birmingham City University and our Walsall College Learning Exchange (LEX) in March 2017 join us for our latest LEX event –

                     Re-imagining School.

We are grateful for the support and collaboration of the Institute of Imagination and the Potential Trust. For further information about them please see the end of this event text

We have a diverse lineup and interesting themes running throughout the day. Come along and listen, question, contribute, talk, network and enjoy!

       “Change that counts in revolution takes place first in the imagination” Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark.

Learning Exchange (LEX) Format

Join us for a day of imagining and discussing the future of our education system. Hear from pioneering educators from within the school system as well as those exploring alternative approaches and alternative settings.

We are aiming to create a day that fosters discussion and connection.

We will have our speakers in the morning sharing their experiences and approaches of creating engaging and inclusive environments, followed by a brief discussion of the ideas that have been raised.

In the afternoon, we will split into three discussion groups, so people can delve deeper into their specific area of interest and meet other people working towards similar goals.

Finally, we will all come back together for a concluding mini-panel where we’ll attempt to summarise what’s been discussed and directions we could move in.




 Elaine Bennett. Early Years, Foundation Stage, KS1 Practitioner. Freelance Consultant.

Elaine is an experienced EYFS and KS1 practitioner, currently teaching in Southend, Essex. She has also worked as an EYFS adviser at Southend On Sea LA, where her particular focus was raising the profile of maths in the Early Years and into KS1.

Elaine is the co-author of the popular Storybook Maths Series and Everyday Maths Through Everyday Provision and The Building Blocks of Maths. She has written a series of articles focussing on promoting creative approaches to maths. As a consultant, Elaine worked with schools and settings, led courses, INSET and also delivered keynote speeches and workshops at conferences. She also started the Facebook page Keeping Early Years Unique which is fast approaching 30 thousand members, through this amazing community she is working to promote the extension of a play-based early years’ curriculum up to 7.

“Keeping Early Years Unique (known as KEYU for short) is more than a just another social media group.  It’s a movement passionate about the vital role of all-consuming play in promoting holistic, child-centred learning”

Emma Cairns, Bridgemary School.

Emma is a teacher at Bridgemary School.

Emma Cairns will be sharing her school’s, vision of using the STEAM approach to increase the enjoyment and engagement of the students.
“In my opinion, Art is not just a subject, but a way of life. The Arts allow creative and diverse thinking and the challenging of concepts, which fits naturally into the STEM subject areas. As a STEAM team at Bridgemary we have been able to inspire children through our enthusiasm and passion for our subject areas by connecting learning through creativity. The ability to think innovatively is key to tomorrow’s economy and jobs. I am very passionate and excited about STEAM within education and the endless opportunities it offers our young people. Delivering cross-curricular STEAM based projects has engaged, enriched and excelled our students through the ability to transfer their knowledge from one situation to the next, which supports student’s progress. STEAM additionally highlights Higher Education and career pathways which students could pursue in the future, which is of immense importance due to the diverse opportunities for STEAM based employment in the City of Portsmouth and along the south coast.”

Nikki O’Rourke, Curiouser & Co.

Nikki’s Twitter feed states she is an education geek and slightly neurotic mum to two lovely/lively little boys. She is also a qualified primary, early years’ teacher. She has had varied experience in state education from nurturing to less so. Nikki stopped teaching 7 years ago, when she became a mother. She later tried to set up a free school. Nikki is currently a home educator and working looking to set up the ‘Curiouser & Co Pop-up Learning Space / Re-imagining School / Self-directed Education. Nikki is a trustee / director of the Centre for Personalised Education. Facebook Groups – Centre for Personalised Education.

Rowan Salim, Inside Out School, The Phoenix Educational Trust

Rowan spent eight years working in the Middle East and North Africa in international development and humanitarian settings with a focus on education and protection in emergency contexts. She returned to the U.K. in 2013 amidst concerns about the continuing top down nature of the development agenda and the spread of the Global Education Reform Movement, only to find that education in the U.K. appears to suffer from the same phenomena. She now spends her time freelancing for the Phoenix Education Trust, supporting the start-up of Free We Grow, a new democratic education space in London, co-running the Inside-Out School, a South London community led alternative education think tank and experimentation lab, and learning to garden in the newly established Putney Community Gardens.  

Karien Stroucken, Institute of Imagination.

As an experienced project & programmer manager, Karien specialises in bringing to life projects that combine creativity, technology and education. She was formerly General Manager of the Creative Learning Lab, Waag Society, Amsterdam and is founder of the Tipping Point Network.


Peter Humphreys, Centre for Personalised Education

Peter is Chair, trustee and a director of the Centre for Personalised Education. Peter spent 25 years as a primary teacher, 10 years as Headteacher going on to work as an educational consultant covering roles in local authority advisory service, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) and Futurelab. He is a visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University in teacher education. Peter co-authored the 2005 Futurelab Report: Personalisation and Digital Technologies and the Learner’s Charter for a Personalised Learning Environment following in 2006 with his own article Towards a Personalised Educational Landscape. Other writing includes: Personalised Education: A Framework for Evaluation and Educational Reconstruction, in Taking Choice Seriously, Webster, M (2008); a Futurelab report:  Fountaineers: Exploring the impact of a whole-school co-design project Emerging issues and implications for pedagogy, curriculum and learning space design (2009).  He was editor of the CPE-PEN Journal 2004-2016 writing regularly throughout this period. Peter’s most recent work includes Rethinking Learning and Lives 2040: Educational Technologies and Personalised Learning Landscapes (2014) and Neoliberal Schooling, Dehumanisation and an Education (2017) in Rudd, T. & Goodson, I. F. [Eds.] (2017). Negotiating Neoliberalism: Developing Alternative Educational Visions. Sense Publishers. Rotterdam/Boston/Taipei.

Sean McDougall, Centre for Personalised Education and Stakeholder Design.

Sean is a trustee and a director of the Centre for Personalised Education. He is internationally acknowledged as a pioneer in the field of co-design and stakeholder engagement and works as a consultant for governments, think-tanks and social service providers around the world. He first came to prominence while running a campaign on the design of secondary level learning for the Design Council. His work on user-led design of primary learning then won Futurelab’s 2006 innovation competition. More recently, he worked as lead designer on Project Faraday (a UK initiative to conceive and prototype a new approach to science teaching and learning). He presently holds a visiting lectureship at Trinity College Dublin in user-led design of public services.

Discussion Lead


Derry Hannam

Derry Hannam is a retired head teacher and long-term school inspector in the United Kingdom. He studied educational science at Oxford University and is a consultant, researcher and advisor to the Council of Europe and the governments of the United Kingdom, Malta and Finland in Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC). He has been described as a ‘bridge person’ who tries to bring about dialogue between the democratic education movement and state or public school systems, a role that he has played in Finland, Puerto Rico, The Netherlands, Bavaria and, most recently, Spain and Poland.



Rowan Salim,

Katrien Stroucken

Nikki O’Rourke




Michelle Melson,

Michelle Melson and Pauline Hull are the lead campaigners of the Summer Born Campaign Group. Both are parents of summer born boys who didn’t want them to start school a few months after their 4th birthday, and believed that it was in the boys’ best interests to wait until they reached compulsory school age.

On January 15, 2014, they published their Summer Born Report titled, ‘Compulsory School Age in England has been Lowered to 4 through an Unfair and Unlawful Summer Born Admissions Process‘ (also see accompanying press release).

The report contains numerous examples of Unlawful and Unfair Policies and Practices; Evidence of Inconsistency, Contradiction and Errors in DfE publications and Ministers’ statements; an extensive Glossary of Legislation that relates to school admissions; an insightful and detailed Admissions History; plus, examples of Parents’ Experiences. Media coverage of the report’s publication can be found in the News section of our site.

Following their numerous submissions of evidence (all on website and final February 23 submission is available here), Pauline and Michelle were invited to appear as a witness during the Education Committee’s Evidence Check on March 4, 2015. Michelle attended and gave evidence on behalf of the Summer Born Campaign.

Elaine Bennett.


 Detailed programme for the day will follow shortly



  • Up to 100… Inclusive of academics, teachers, museum staff, other educators, students, parents and learners from the mainstream and alternatives and interested citizens.
  • Rather than talking within bubbles and siloes we seek to network these constituencies.  Learning with and from each other creating a shared dialogue, mutual respect and understanding whilst generating visions of a future personalised, educational landscape.
  • Come along and listen, question, contribute, talk, network and enjoy!


  • Imagination Lab: The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High Street, London, SE1 7AG
  • The Imagination Lab is walking distance from either Vauxhall Station (Victoria Line and mainline from Waterloo and Clapham Junction) or Westminster (Jubilee line).
  • Travel by train, bus, bike and car further details here

Car Parking

  • There is parking on surrounding roads, most is pay and display, you can get further details here


  • The venue is disability accessible with gentle ramps from the outside. The event room is ground floor.
  • There are disabled toilet facilities
  • Guide dogs are permitted.


  • We do not have a dedicated crèche and if attending, young children will be the responsibility of parents.
  • There is a large hall adjacent to the Lab, which if empty children can run are free to run around in.
  • There is also a small park about 2 minutes from the venue which children / parents / guardians could use.
  • Cultural attractions close by…. The central London location means you are very close to lots of attractions. The venue is just over the river from the Houses of Parliament and the Tate Britain. A little further along on south side of the river is Damien Hirst’s Newport Gallery. It is walking distance from the Southbank with its many entertainment and eating options.

Refreshments and Food

  • We try to keep costs to a minimum. Participants can choose to purchase their own lunchtime refreshments and food from local cafes. We are looking into potentially having some food on site tbc.
  • CPE will provide drinks (tea/coffee/water/ juice etc.) throughout the event and on arrival, lunchtime and at the end of the programme.
  • After the event, we would also like to invite everyone to carry on the discussions at the local pub opposite the venue.


  • All participants will need a learning exchange badge (collect on arrival) to move in / out and around the building. Please return these at the end of the day.


  • – Current paid up Centre for Personalised Education paid up members: FREE
  • – Non- CPE Members. We have a sliding scale. Our ticket price is £10, but if unwaged or this is a prohibitive cost for you we would ask for £6. If you are in a position to support the charity a little more we would greatly appreciate a donation of what you can give. (Children and young people free). CPE works on a shoestring budget.

BOOK NOW ON EVENTBRITE                 


Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

  • An ID badge will be available on arrival so that participants can move around the venue.
  • Children and young people are welcome. However, please see notes above.
  • Cultural attractions close by…. please see notes above.

What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event

  • Imagination Lab: The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High Street, London, SE1 7AG
  • The Imagination Lab is walking distance from either Vauxhall Station (Victoria Line and mainline from Waterloo and Clapham Junction) or Westminster (Jubilee line)
  • Travel by train, bus, bike and car further details here

How can I contact the organisers with any questions?

What’s the refund policy?

  • The Centre for Personalised Education runs on a small budget and fine margins and tries at all times to be as inclusive as possible. If unfortunately, you do require a refund please contact the organisers.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

  • It would be helpful but not essential. We will have records of attendees.

Can I update my registration information?

Is my registration fee or ticket transferrable?

  • Yes, but please inform the organisers.

Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends?

  • We’ll cope! If you can let us know that would be helpful. Contact the organisers.

    Event Partners

    The Centre for Personalised Education is grateful for the support and collaboration of the…

  Institute of Imagination

Imagination matters

Every child is born with the capability to imagine – bursting with curiosity, wonder and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. But children today have less time and space than ever to flex their imaginations.

We’re creating a climate where ideas can thrive. A new way to develop future generations of makers, not just consumers. And a public space that prioritises imagination.

To bring the Institute of Imagination to life, we’re working with experts, teachers, parents and – most important of all – children. All united by the belief that imagination matters.

Making it happen

We’re already working with organisations spanning the arts, science, technology and education, and we’ve carried out one of the UK’s largest ever pre-opening consultations with children.

We’ve sparked the imaginations of over 10,000 children and their families through our Imagination Lab and reached hundreds through our in-school Imagination Pods.


The Potential Trust 

The Potential Trust is an educational charity set up to provide, promote, and encourage whatever makes education more interesting and exciting for children of high learning potential, especially events and experiences that facilitate the children’s personal and social development, and their practical and artistic skills as well as their intellectual ones.

THE POTENTIAL TRUST (Charity No 326645)

Shepherds Close, Kingston Stert, Chinnor, Oxon OX39 4NL

Tel: 01844 351666   Email:

Trustees: Anna Comino-James, Richard Farmbrough,

Ron Lewin, Steve Ramsden, Denise Yates

Is there a Questor in your vicinity by any chance?

Some children make their presence painfully obvious by their driving inner need to pursue a particular topic or skill in greater depth or at greater length or with greater exactitude than anyone else around them.  Others are not so easy to recognise.  They may have the same potential for such a high degree of curiosity and persistence but, for a variety of reasons, are not motivated to achieve in any of the activities that officially make up their day.  Or they may be impeded from achieving – and may well also be discouraged – by some sort of disability or dysfunction, though not necessarily one that has been recognised or identified.

The needs of children like these are likely to be difficult – sometimes almost impossible – to cater for adequately in parallel with the needs of all the other members of their immediate environment at home or at school.  This is especially true in the case of those children who, for whatever reason, have not entirely come to terms with their own potential for learning, or whose behaviour makes if difficult for others to relate to them in a constructive way.

 However, these children still need their persistence and curiosity to be valued and therefore fostered and encouraged.  Children need to feel that learning can be an interesting and exciting process in which they can be active participants.  Where there is significant imbalance between high potential and the corresponding opportunities for motivation and achievement, frustration and boredom are likely to ensue…  with consequent problems for the child.  And these problems tend to spill over into the family, the school, and eventually society in general.  It isn’t always easy being a Questor.

We already had considerable experience of working in this field and, in 1984, setting up the Trust seemed the next logical step in being able to follow our dreams and extend our work to help more children – those taking part in the Trust’s activities being referred to as Questors.  No entry qualification or membership fee is necessary for a child to be a Questor, and we feel it is very important that the initial contact with the Trust can be made directly on the initiative of the family itself, at the suggestion of a school, or by any other organisation or individual.

 Every year until 1998 the Trust ran its own Quest Week summer schools based on the team’s experience of running similar events for the National Association for Gifted Children (now Potential Plus UK), with a few individual Quest Weeks in subsequent years also.  In addition, and continuing until 1997, the Trust produced a brochure describing other Quest-type activities which it felt Questors would appreciate and enjoy, and each year the Trust has funded and continues to fund a number of children to attend Quest Weeks or other appropriate activities, each choice depending on the needs of the child.

 Since 1991 the Trust has been hosting and facilitating Potential Conferences and Consultations for those whose work is in line with the Trust’s overall aims.  These events are professional retreats, giving participants an opportunity to focus on their visions for the future – for themselves and for their organisations.  They are an opportunity to exchange ideas, share current problems and concerns, explore solutions and effective ways forward, make new contacts and renew existing ones and, last but not least, an opportunity for participants to recharge their batteries so that – whatever it is they do in the field of education – they can do ‘more of it, better of it, quicker of it’

 The Trust sets out to complement the provision already made by parents and schools, other individuals and organisations, in co-operation with others working in the same field.  It poses to themselves and to others the questions:  How can we be supportive to these children and their parents and teachers?  Can we offer them appropriate opportunities, with no strings attached, for their own sakes not for ours?

 The Trust’s aim is to help children with special needs where those needs arise from a high degree of unfilled learning potential in one or more areas, whatever those areas may be.  But children have an infinite variety of needs, to different degrees and in different combinations, so the scope and implications of what we would like to achieve are extremely broad.  And in addition to drawing attention to the particular needs of Questors, we also work towards keeping an emphasis on the special needs that all children have.

This combination of a specific aim and a general aim may sound like a tall order for a small trust whose resources are surprisingly elastic but none the less definitely finite.  However, like the Questors, we too have a huge amount of curiosity and persistence and we have discovered that we can move mountains – small ones at any rate – by initiating and facilitating various exchanges of information and expertise as well as making a certain amount of direct provision ourselves.  So we make an open invitation to anyone interested in our work and our aims to get in touch with us at any time.


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