I am back in Belgium after a most refreshing two days in Milan for the Inspired Heads‘ Conference; this was the very first Conference for heads from across the group of schools, starting with the European and Middle East schools, of which there are already approaching twenty.
We met at St Louis International School which has a beautiful old building and classic layout. It was great to see how they had fused the traditional bones of the building with a modern, uncluttered and airy interior style. I came away with many photographs and ideas!
Since this was the first get-together of the Inspired Heads, we had a great deal to talk about! Our programme covered a wide range of themes, such as the Emilio Reggio early childhood philosophy, transforming today’s learners into global leaders and international academic benchmarking. It was also brilliant to hear from the executive board leaders, Nadim Nsouli, founder, chairman & CEO and Graeme Crawford, Reddam House founder & group president, as well as the European education directors, Clarissa Farr and Stephen Spurr. With so many education experts in the room, discussion was lively, impassioned and shaped by everyone‘s desire to do the very best for each and every student in our schools.
For me, it was also really exciting to be part of a schools‘ group again – one of my motivating forces for joining St John‘s International School was the fact that it was part of the Inspired network; having held various roles (teacher, Head of Department, Deputy Head, Head) for 15 years in two Girls‘ Day Schools Trust (GDST) School’s in the UK, I knew how powerful it was to be part of a larger network. There is a real strength to being part of a group with much to gain from the sharing of ideas and best practice, as well as benefitting from the inbuilt ‚stretch and challenge‘ which grows out from the comparison with the other schools. Opportunities for shared resources and economies of scale also mean that a group model makes very good sense.
So I come away from the conference, connected to all my counterparts across Europe, processing all the great things that I have seen and heard, with much to bring back to St John’s. I am delighted to be part of this network of great school leaders. This may have been the inaugural heads‘ conference, but it will most certainly be the first of many.