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Spring Message From Our Chair

An Update From Our Chair, Deb Outhwaite

Hello everyone,

As the start of the Easter holidays beckon, I thought that I would pen another quick round up of what I have been doing, on behalf of members and Trustees, alongside the BELMAS staff team this term.

Spring term is always busy, and this one was no exception. This term has included a trip to Newcastle to look at their newly rebadged Centre for Education Leadership; discussions with Daniel Muijs from QUB (one of last year’s Conference Keynote Speakers) on what BELMAS’s continued relationship could look like with Education Leadership departments in Northern Ireland. I have attended a CCEAM Board meeting on their pre-ECER Day Conference in Cyprus on August 25th; held discussions with UCEA in preparation for their conference in November and organised the BELMAS AERA Symposium next month.

Next year the AERA/BELMAS Symposium will be advertised so that members can submit abstracts for it, with a contribution towards funding for those successful – so please do keep an eye on the BELMAS newsletter for that. But due to the short notice this year, we have put together a panel of professors who were already attending AERA, to talk about education policy and leadership in our potentially now ‘Dis-United Kingdom’. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof Chris Chapman for presenting on Scotland, Prof Tony Gallagher for Northern Ireland, Prof Qing Gu for being our Discussant, Prof Ken Jones for Wales, and Prof Toby Greany for England. Lizana Oberholzer will also give a practitioner input on England, and I will be Chairing. I look forward to reporting back to you all on that in my Summer update.

Alongside that, I have represented BELMAS at meetings of the New Visions Education Group (NVEG) and with The Foundations for Education Development (FED). We contributed substantially to the Academy of Social Sciences consultation document on the DfE’s proposed Advanced British (English) Standard, and Ryan and I continue to take turns in attending AcSS Chairs & CEOs termly meeting. I have also met with the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) Panel a couple of times this term – who have been busy organising our Summer Event & AGM – which will be at the NCVO offices in London and online. This is to become an annual event. This year we have Professor Anne West, from LSE, in conversation with Helen Gunter on Tuesday 18th June so please do keep this date ring-fenced in your diaries. You can see Anne’s latest thinking on education governance here, in her and David Wolfe KC’s new book chapter. There’s also the opportunity to join the new EduHub at LSE, here.

The summer term looks just as busy! I am representing Trustees and members at the Chartered College of Teaching’s Ethical Leadership event in the House of Lords at the end of April and have an in-person meeting with the AcSS Chairs and CEO group. Of course, we are all working hard and looking forward to our own BELMAS conference in Clydebank, Glasgow in July, and if you haven’t got your tickets yet, you can get them here.

In the meantime, I would like to thank the team in the office for their continued hard work and support of our Research Awards, Grant Funding and Events. We have had a wide range of members support our various Awards processes this term, so my thanks go to those of you who have given up additional volunteering time for this. There are plenty of RIG events online coming up next term, so thanks to those of you involved in those, and please do engage with these or let us know if there is anything else that you would like us to do.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible later next term at our annual conference, but remember if you are unable to join us, our Keynotes will be live streamed for members (more info coming soon).

I hope that you all have a very enjoyable Easter Break.


You can read more from our Chair here.