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SSAT National Conference 2017

30 November – 1 December
Manchester Central

Illuminating learning

How do you really know that what’s happening in your school is making a difference? Are your leaders as effective as they can be? Are you confident that your teachers are having the biggest impact possible and how do you develop them further?

The SSAT National Conference 2017 is all about shining a light on what happens in our classrooms. As school leaders, you have more evidence than ever before about what we know makes a real difference to young people’s learning, and about how your students are progressing as individuals. How do you make sense of this evidence and understanding to improve outcomes for all learners?

Over twenty years ago, Dylan Wiliam described the classroom as a black box; with little clarity about what goes on inside. And yet despite the new evidence available, how much has this metaphor actually changed. How do we illuminate the process of learning in every one of classrooms, across our schools, and across our trusts and collaborations?

The SSAT National Conference 2017 will explore how school leaders can be truly evidence-informed in making strategic decisions, how a culture of evidence and research can be embedded across a school or MAT, and the implications of some of the latest research on what we do in schools.

At the heart of the conference is a commitment to being solution focused, by systematically and strategically analysing what will really make a difference for young people. Solution-focused leadership requires both an analytical and creative focus creating radical, empowering solutions.

What you’ll take away from the conference:

  • An understanding of how evidence and research can help you make strategic decisions as a school leader
  • Insight into innovative educational approaches to make the biggest difference to student outcomes
  • An understanding of what is happening in our schools

Over the two days you’ll have the chance to learn from sessions including:

Main stage speaker sessions this year will include:

  • The formidable Professor Paul Kirschner debunking various myths and perceived orthodoxies that persist in education
  • The new chief executive of the College of Teaching, former headteacher Dame Alison Peacock, considering how we can build a truly evidence-informed profession
  • Brent Frey, director of education development and professional learning at technology giants Apple, giving insight into measuring impact
  • Professor Phil Scraton, who led the recent enquiry into the Hillsborough disaster exploring how he went about uncovering decades-old evidence and why it was a matter of social justice to do so
  • Headteacher Mark Emmerson looking at the concept of marginal gains in education

And our conference partner humanutopia’s founding director, Graham Moore, will be working directly with students over the conference.

View speakers

Workshops and seminars

School-led workshops will focus on how you can build a culture of evidence engagement and action-research across your school, how leaders are changing school practices and policies to better support learning and outcomes, and innovative solutions to help particular groups of students. Sessions include:

  • Researching what works – 45 minute workshops focused on exploring new and emerging research and supporting evidence-driven approaches in the classroom
  • Implementing what works – 45 minute workshops focused on in-school practice that has addressed a problem or made an impact on student outcomes
  • Morning seminars – 45 minute sessions led by SSAT partner organisations
  • Pick ‘n’ mix – a series of 10 minute round-table discussions led by a range of contributors

SSAT full secondary member schools are entitled to one free delegate place at the conference, and discounts on additional places. All other SSAT member schools including Primary and SEN are entitled to a discount on the full cost.

SSAT National Conference 2017 evening dinner programme

SSAT welcomes all delegates to join us at the National Conference evening dinner on Thursday 30th November from 7pm. The price per person is £85 + vat, to include a drinks reception, 3 course meal, and keynote speaker presentation.

If you would like to attend the dinner, please select the dinner place option on the booking form.

For delegates staying in Manchester overnight and not wishing to attend the evening dinner, here are some recommendations for restaurants around Manchester Central to choose from.

SSAT National Conference 2017 Prices

Membership type Price
Secondary school members – Thurs 30 Nov and Fri 1 Dec Complimentary place included in SSAT secondary membership package
Secondary school members – additional delegate(s) – Thurs 30 Nov and Fri 1 Dec £300 + vat
Secondary school members – additional delegate(s) – One day only £175 + vat
Primary, Special, UTC, iNet Wales, iNet Global members – Thurs 30 Nov and Fri 1 Dec £300 + vat
Primary, Special, UTC, iNet Wales, iNet Global members – One day only £175 + vat
School Business Manager from any SSAT member school – Fri 1 Dec SSAT members attending the conference are invited to bring their SBM to the conference with them for free on Fri 1 Dec
Evening gala dinner – Thursday 30 Nov £85 + vat
SSAT non-member – Thurs 30 and Fri 1 Dec £895 + vat
SSAT non-member – One day only £450 + vat

Book Now


Manchester Central

Manchester information

View accommodation information

View travel information for Manchester Central

Student input opportunities

We are currently looking for applications from SSAT member schools and students to contribute to the programme for this year’s conference.
Find out more about how to participate

School workshop opportunities

Applications have now closed.

Conference times

Thursday 30 November:
Doors open 9am
Conference sessions 10am – 6.15pm
Drinks reception 6.15pm – 7.15pm
Optional conference dinner 7pm – 11pm

Friday 1 December:
Doors open 8.45am
Conference sessions 9.45am – 3pm
Conference close 3pm


Read about our conference speakers and their sessions


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