This year's North of England Education Conference is being jointly hosted by Wirral Council and the University of Chester and will take place on January 7-9. Presiding over the conference will be Baroness Estelle Morris, education secretary in 2001-02. Joining Baroness Morris will be Liz Railton, who has a background in social work and is director of national programmes for Serco education and children's services. Ms Railton and Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, will be talking about leadership and management in children's services. Sir David Watson, of London University's Institute of Education, will be discussing lifelong learning, and Dame Gillian Pugh, chair of the National Children's Bureau, and Christine Davies, chief executive of the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes, will be speaking about "narrowing the gap" for underachievers. Completing the line-up of speakers, Dr David Colin-Thome, the national director of primary care, will be talking about health in children's services and the relationships between GPs and professionals working in children's services.