Malini Mistry (University of Bedfordshire)
One of the many facets of the Association of the Study of Primary Education (ASPE) is that it recognises and encourages professional development for all those who work in primary education. In that respect, my attendance at the annual International British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) conference 2018 in Windsor, UK was funded by ASPE. Next follows a brief overview of the highlights of this conference, which shares many aims with ASPE.
As an organisation BELMAS supports quality education through effective leadership and management, and the associated ideas and practices. BELMAS members are a mixture of practitioners in a range of settings as well as academics from many universities around the world. This shows both organisations are very similar in their vision and ethos in the way that they both aim to bring together practitioners and academics top share and apply good practice.
This year the theme of the BELMAS conference was education, policy and sustainability through global perspectives in educational leadership at all levels. Key note speakers opened and closed the conference. Perhaps a consideration could be to offer local speakers to offer key note sessions on different aspects of leadership and its application to education. In this way local skills and staff are showcased before international speakers are brought in. In between, there were a range of paper presentations from many presenters locally and from abroad, so there was a truly international feel. International delegates shared the findings of their research within their own global context which was inspiring in terms of seeing similarities alongside differences.
It was uplifting to see some local practitioners from the UK present their findings in relation to school based research. This showed a clear forum for emergent researchers to present their findings as a group. Maybe this could be emphasised more in the future to encourage practitioners to
Another approach for presentation of research findings was through and IGNITE session which I was fortunate to be part of. The aim in this session is a shorter sharper presentation of the impact of research that engages the audience in debating the issues presented. All presenters had 5 mins to showcase key issues from their research before a group debate and discussion took place with all presenters. What was interesting was that most ignite presenters were discussing school based research.
During the conference there was ample opportunity to see and catch up with friends and old faces as well as networking with new colleagues to share ideas and practice. Overall, the 2018 BELMAS conference in Windsor, UK was a wonderful learning opportunity for people in different aspects of educational leadership to come together.