York - New moniker bids to capture the Zeitgeist

11th September 2009 at 01:00

The North of England Education Conference, traditionally one of the most important events in the education calendar, is no more.

January's event in York has been rebranded "NEEC2010 (formerly known as the North of England Education Conference)".

The decision has been taken despite the fact that the conference has retained its title for 108 years, although it has been held, on occasion, in those well-known northern English cities of Cardiff and Belfast.

So why make the change this year when the conference has returned to its traditional heartland in the north of England?

The reason is not to do with geography, but a recognition that local authority delegates now work in children's services departments rather than education.

"In common with many in the education world we are trying to capture the Zeitgeist," said conference manager Paul Murphy.

He hopes delegates will be attracted by speakers who include Sir Michael Bichard, chair of the Soham inquiry; former education secretary Baroness Estelle Morris; former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion; and newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai Brown.

The conference also aims to set the political agenda for 2010, which promises to be an election year. Invitations have been sent to Schools Secretary Ed Balls, his Conservative shadow Michael Gove, and David Laws, Liberal Democrat schools spokesman. WS.

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