Gillian Hunt, City of Edinburgh council reflects on our conference

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A wealth of leadership talent was evident at the SELMAS Conference this year. Especially impressive were the young leaders from Preston Lodge High School. Three S6 students did a presentation on how they learn with and through technology. Their style was informative, engaging and inspiring. From the slides they presented to the activities they are involved in at school they provided us with ideas, challenge and awe. They were polished and confident, engaging and engaged in their learning. They left me wanting to find out more.

Craig Munro challenged our concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ schools. How often have we heard people, particularly parents, talking of good schools based on no evidence other than it’s in a nice area, and the same of ‘bad’ schools in more challenging areas? He also talked about leadership of schools and the ‘belief that those who follow you are better than you’ – well the pupils from Preston Lodge certainly give us that assurance!

I found Carol Craig’s reflections refreshing in that she stated ‘I am a generalist and there’s a need for speculation and ideas’. We too often spend so much time looking for and reporting on evidence that we miss speculating and putting forward ideas. We don’t need to wait until something’s fully formed to talk about it. What better way to get an idea fully formed than to open it up for speculation and debate, to see if it resonates with others and to add their speculation to your own? Carol also challenged us by saying ‘just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist’. I am still surprised that we measure what is easy to measure and spend considerable time doing so to the detriment of not speculating about what’s not easy to measure.

And that was only the morning…

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