Roxanne Escobales previews this year's Education Show - an action-packed event that will help every classroom professional to keep up to date, whatever their specialist area
The 2003 Education Show is putting teachers at the top of its agenda. The theme is "Something for the Teacher", supported by seminars and exhibitor stands to ensure today's professionals are up to date, whatever key stage or specialist area they teach.
With 61 seminars and 600 exhibitors, this year's show - at the NEC in Birmingham, March 13-15 - aims to be a "one-stop opportunity for teachers, home tutors, heads of year, deputy heads and headteachers".
Special zones within exhibition stands focus on a variety of educational concerns, while Inset seminars and lectures offer detailed views into maximising educational potential.
The biggest zone, the Publishing Village, is the largest UK assembly of educational publishers under one roof. There will be readings, book signings, presentations and interviews, as well as launches of books, CDs, posters, websites and other services. The Secondary Book Prize Draw will enable one school to win books worth pound;3,500.
Along with a handful of Inset seminars on aspects of literacy, the Longman keynote lecture is a practical session on how to bring challenging texts alive in the classroom, delivered by former school inspector and author Gervase Phinn.
Although ICT is now a classroom staple, choosing appropriate software packages can be daunting. Along with a collection of suppliers, the Software Centre provides advice on curriculum software from the evaluation service Teachers Evaluating Education Multimedia (TEEM).
Lord Puttnam will deliver the LearnPremium keynote lecture on "New technologies: why we must raise our game" on the final day of the show. He will argue that in-school technology must be at the heart of change, and that digital content must be compelling and spur that change.
The former film producer is currently chair of the National Teaching Awards and an adviser to the DfES. He is also involved with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
While it may seem that secondary schools receive much of the attention, the Early Years Centre shines a much-deserved spotlight on primary education.
Specialist suppliers represent the latest on offer for early-years development, pre-school and primary education. The seminar sessions on the final day are geared towards the early years and primary education.
In the Special Needs Village, the National Association for Special Educational Needs will offer information and guidance. Seminars on the opening day will concentrate on raising awareness of special needs concerns, such as inclusion, behaviour management and teaching pupils with learning difficulties.
The recent formation of the DfES's new leadership college has focused attention nationwide on the need for refined leadership skills and management within education. Heads can use the Headteachers' Lounge as an essential point of contact for discussing strategy.
The Headteachers' Prize Draw, sponsored by BESA, gives primary and secondary heads the chance to win resources worth up to pound;5,000 for their schools.
The National College for School Leadership will conduct sessions on management, with NCSL director and chief executive Heather Du Quesnay delivering the BESA keynote lecture on "Transformational Leadership", urging radical change from within.
The Association Village within the conference covers teaching, training, professional development and employment issues. Free advice and guidance will be on offer from teaching unions and associations.
The Policy in Practice zone will host key education policy-makers - including representatives from the DfES and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. They will answer questions on current and forthcoming initiatives.
Other special areas of interest include the School Journeys Zone for school trips; the Sports and Recreation Zone, with PE funding, advisory bodies and equipment suppliers; and the Performing Arts Zone, which can offer information and advice from suppliers on putting on a professional show.
With all parts of the curriculum represented in exhibitor stands and seminars, as well as operational and administrative concerns addressed, The Education Show 2003 promises to be an all-inclusive event that has something for every teacher.