The Schools & Academies Show

Thousands of education leaders descended on the ExCeL in London to attend the Schools & Academies Show 2023, to meet, discuss and tackle current and future challenges faced by Schools, MATs, Local Authorities and the wider education sector.

The Schools & Academies Show is a bi-annual event which takes place in London in May and in Birmingham in November, and this year’s London iteration of the show saw over 2,500 attendees take part in the UK’s largest education policy event of the year.

With over 150 innovative education suppliers, seven themed content theatres, five interactive show features, a Main Stage and 160+ inspirational speakers, those in attendance had a wealth of opportunities to learn best practice, gain advice, meet like-minded peers and leave with practical takeaways to implement back in their organisation.
 
The show opened with Keynote Speaker; Baroness Barran stating in her address that sector leaders have warned the Department for Education that introducing MAT-level Ofsted checks on top of school inspections would create a “huge burden.”

However, Baroness Barran continued that while ministers had decided that MAT inspections would not be helpful “at this point”, the idea could be looked at in the future.
 
Following the keynote address, Chris Russell, National Director at Ofsted addressed the audience at the Show amidst recent calls from the sector for changes to the inspection process, and Chris stated, “We don’t want people to prepare for inspection. We just want people to do their work as a school and we just come in and inspect.”

“We understand that people like a bit of a feeling about when that’s going to be, so we’re just finalising that work so we can give particularly outstanding schools, but other schools as well, more of an idea about when an inspection might be likely as we run up to this period of 2025 as this sort of Covid delay works out of the system.”

Throughout the hours of CPD-accredited panel sessions, case studies and presentations dispersed across the content theatres, attendees of the show could enjoy gaining practical and 1-2-1 advice from multiple teams from the Department for Education who were located at the Government Education Village. Attendees could also chat to a host of leading education suppliers on the conveniently zoned exhibition floor, from recruitment and MIS suppliers, through to edtech solution providers, construction companies and suppliers of wellbeing and SEND solutions.
 
At the heart of the show is the Business & Finance Zone, and in-keeping with this theme, the Strategic Partner for the event; Amazon Business, hosted a keynote session, where Chun Jiao, Head of Education and Eugenie Teasley, Head of Impact shared how Amazon Business digital procurement solutions simplify the purchasing journey and drive cost efficiencies for schools and multi-academy trusts.

This was followed by an inspirational session from everyone’s favourite Gold Medallist; Sir Mo Farah, who highlighted the importance of teachers and school staff in his education journey to achieving gold, stating “Be ambitious, be adaptable and most importantly be happy.”
 
The other themed theatres at the event included the SEND Theatre, Business & Finance Theatre, Safeguarding & Wellbeing Theatre, School Improvement Summit, Trust & Trustees Theatre, Sustainability & Estates Theatre and newly the introduced Teaching & Learning Theatre.

Throughout the day, these theatres hosted some unbelievable content, including a session including the Rt Hon Matt Hancock at the SEND Theatre titled ‘Getting Pupils with Dyslexia the Support they Need’.

After such an eventful show, and a jam-packed day of content, the day ended with a networking hour, giving all attendees the chance to summarise and absorb the day’s information.
 
The next Schools & Academies Shows take place on 22nd November 2023 at the NEC in Birmingham, then 1st May 2024 back at ExCeL in London.

Supplier Focus

Iplicit

An award-winning accounting solution for MATs of all sizes, iplicit for Education has a modern, user-friendly interface that will resonate with busy finance teams and senior leaders. As you grow, iplicit empowers you to add schools quickly and efficiently.