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Welcome to the show

The Education Show 2006 promises to be one of the biggest ever, with a number of eye-catching seminars jostling for attention alongside more than 600 exhibitors and thousands of new products.

Hopefully, our guide will point you in the right direction towards some of the show's most interesting stands and sessions.

This year's big talking point is the Great Education Debate, what promises to be a captivating discussion between Professor Chris Woodhead, former chief inspector of schools, and Sir Ken Robinson, former chair of the National Commission on Creativity, Education and the Economy, on the subject of creativity in the classroom (see page 21). As well as the flagship debate, there will also be contributions from Tony Buzan, Tim Brighouse and Professor Stephen Heppell, guaranteeing that this all-day event will give you plenty to think about. Tony Buzan, described by the New York Times as "the biggest name in memory", will also be giving two one-hour seminars on the techniques behind mind-mapping. The classroom of the future is also discussed in an intriguing set of sessions that fall under the heading "Your School of the Future". Over three days of sessions, a host of speakers will discuss the impact of environment on pupils'

learning, and showcase new concepts in classroom and school design.

This is just a small sample of the seminars running at the show. You'll also find a whole host of continuing professional development sessions and workshops on a variety of subjects including special needs and literacy - with the latter seeing Pie Corbett and Garry Burnett demonstrate their unique story-telling methods.

This year sees the creation of a new outdoor play area, designed to showcase some of the best playground resources currently available.

Highlighting six leading suppliers of outdoor play equipment, the area contains accessible solutions and safe playground ideas.

The outdoor play area is one of seven zones at the show. The Early Years Zone features workshops from NES Arnold based around everyday numeracy, outdoor play with maths and talking maths for language development. The Art Design Zone houses a number of creativity workshops and seminars designed to back up the Great Education Debate, including sessions by photographer Ming de Nasty and a glimpse into art lessons at Robin Hood Primary and Alderbrook Secondary School. There are also half-day specialist subject association workshops on maths, design and technology, history and geography, not to mention practical ICT demonstrations within the ICT Software Zone.

Don't forget to pop along to The TESstand (F10) to pick up your free copy of the paper. As a key sponsor of the show, we'll also have plenty of other things to tempt you along. With the show running for three days, the challenge is managing to see everything before the shutters roll down on Saturday!

* The Education Show runs from March 9-11 in Halls 11-12 at the NEC, Birmingham Tel: 0870 429 4580

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