XMA is hailing its recent education-focused conference a success, with keynote speakers including top British astronaut Dr Michael Foale.
The firm organised the event on the back of research that claimed young adults in England scored the lowest results in the industrialised world in international literacy and numeracy tests, and the pending opening of 116 free schools next year.
XMA invited a group of industry leaders, school openers and education specialists to its event at the Corby Business Academy in Northamptonshire, to debate the issue and share experiences on what could be the biggest shake-up in the UK education system in 100 years.
The one-day conference focused on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics sector (STEM), which is suffering a skills deficit in the UK.
Speakers included Sir Greg Martin of the Durand Education Trust, and Nick Weller, executive principal of the Dixons Academies Trust, who spoke of how the ethos of free schools and academies can inspire and motivate young professionals. Another speaker was Sarah Chick, assistant principal of the Kimberley STEM College in Bedfordshire.
In his speech, Foale (pictured with organiser Guy Bates) encouraged the youngsters present to never give up on their dreams.
“I thought the only way to becoming an astronaut was to be a test pilot because that is what had happened in the past. I thought my dreams might be finished when an eye test prevented me from taking this route but I’ve realised that you should never look to the past to determine your actions, always strive to create a new way of doing things – you are the future and you are better equipped than anyone to see potential for change.”
Guy Bates, director at XMA and event organiser, said: “Ultimately, everything we do is designed to prepare youngsters for a world where IT and advanced technology increasingly influences every aspect of their lives. The success of the free school and academy movement is going to be underpinned by the performance of its resources, including a sustainable IT platform which enables students to learn in different ways.
“The conference is one of a series of activities we are undertaking in order to share best practice and see the challenges and opportunities from all perspectives, so that we can deliver a combined effort to help equip the engineers, scientists and business people of the future with the skills they need to succeed.”
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