Gratitude.

This Saturday is the first Lead, Learn, Lancs conference. It’s not-so-coincidentally my first attempt at running a conference. I’m going to take the opportunity to get my thanks in pre-event, because I know there’s a really good chance I’ll lose my ability to think straight come Saturday afternoon and I really, really don’t want to miss anybody out.

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First and foremost, thanks to my co-host Linda Hopkins. No matter how many times she says that up to this point she’s done very little, she’s been both an sounding board on too many occasions to count, and has bounced around classrooms and corridors with excitement right alongside me as people have stepped up and the conference has come together. Linda, we need to have a proper night out after all of this is over!

Secondly, to all of the speakers travelling the length and breadth of the country to speak at a small-ish, first time conference simply because I asked them to. From seasoned speakers to first timers, you’re all wonderfully brilliant and I wish I could attend all of your workshops. You’re also a little scarily weird en masse, which makes you a perfect fit for something like this! Some of you aren’t just tipping up on the day for a good time; you’ve helped me out enormously with the power of your social media following and helped to publicise the conference. Particular thanks to Martin Burrett for including us on the new UKEdChat app.

Thirdly, to all of the delegates who are also travelling the length and breadth of the country to attend. There are bigger and more well-known conferences taking place on Saturday, and heaven knows Saturdays are sacred and shouldn’t be used for CPD, but I’m so grateful that you’re taking the time to come to my school and take part in #LLL16. I hope it’s truly worthwhile and that you come back again next year.

Our sponsors are amazing. Lancashire NUT have provided the lion’s share – they recognise that this event will be great CPD not just for our members, but for teachers across the North West and beyond. I’d have simply been unable to put together the programme that we have without their support. EPSL Educational Printing are a very local company who got in touch one day via social media. Paula is lucky that I didn’t actually squeal in her ear when I rang her to follow up the message! Every delegate will receive a little something in their goody bag from EPSL, and on top of that they’ve also donated a raffle prize to the value of £200. ClassCharts are also coming along at their own expense, and will be demonstrating their new products. As well as the demo, they’ve also given us a £100 restaurant voucher for the raffle. Innovate My School aren’t to be forgotten – there’s something for every delegate from these guys as well. Honestly, gratitude just doesn’t begin to cover it.

Lastly, thank you to my school for hosting the conference and taking a chance that I could pull this off. Having a venue, paying overtime for support staff, our lovely student helpers, using school resources – none of this would have come together if it wasn’t for Rhyddings.

Hopefully I’ll get through all of that in a coherent fashion as we finish up on Saturday. I wouldn’t put money on that actually happening! Gratitude seems too small a word for how absolutely blessed I feel to have the support of so many wonderful people. Thank you.

And thank you again.

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