Shaping Future Skills at Education Evolution 2020

Caterham School hosted its third Education Evolution Conference last week, this year in partnership with Croydon Council and Ada, the National College for Digital Skills.

The Education Evolution conference took place on Wednesday 25 November, and hosting it online enabled us to become an internationally-reaching event. Delegates signed up from all around the world, joining us from America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

Like previous years, the event continues to ask what schools and colleges need to do in order to best prepare students for the future of work. We were delighted to welcome so many high-quality speakers who were able to share their experiences of the evolving workplace, as well as their interactions with education.

The first speaker to present was Theo Blackwell MBE, Chief Digital Officer for London, who talked about the challenges and opportunity of building back better post-pandemic.

We then heard from Eddie Copeland, Director of the London Office for Technology and Innovation and a former teacher. He explained the skills that schools should be developing around problem-solving and collaboration, two things that we have put at the heart of our EDGE curriculum delivered to our first and second year groups, as well as the lower sixth.

Joanna Davinson, Chief Digital, Data and Technology Officer at the Home Office, also expressed the vital importance of the human touch in a digital framework. She gave an inspiring account of her own career and the work she does at the intersection of technology and the people it impacts upon at the Home Office.

Next came a short video interlude featuring two sixth-formers from Norbury Manor Girls’ School who imparted their thoughts around digital careers, introduced by Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed.

Chris Rothwell, Director of Education at Microsoft, offered a clear vision of what schools can and are doing to develop digital literacy in schools. Dr Vijak Haddadi, Head of Digital Innovation at London South Bank University, spoke about the challenges and opportunities for the education sector in a post-Covid world. Nick Hynes, co-founder of digital product agency SOMO, shared his strategy for running a successful digital company and the need to hire “T-shaped” people, who have deep knowledge of their own area, but broad understanding the roles of everyone else they work with.

The concluding panel discussion drew together much of what we had heard and applied it directly to the work being done in schools. The panel was chaired by Opama Khan, Head of Digital Place at Croydon Council, and included Mark Smith, the CEO of Ada, the National College for Digital Skills; Christina Cole from Amazon Web Services; Julia von Klonowski, Digital Director at Career Colleges; and me, Adam Webster, Deputy Head (Innovation) here at Caterham School.

The event, which was an inspiration to the diverse audience, aims to help develop the conversations happening between schools and the workplace; to find ways they can more effectively work together, but also to drive forwards the digital and innovation agenda in schools – something that Caterham School is proudly leading the way on.

Thank you very much to all our speakers and to the team at Croydon Digital. You can watch the conference in full, below.

Time Stamp – Theo Blackwell: 6:13, Eddie Copeland: 23:55, Joanna Davinson: 39:34, Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed: 1:00:09, Chris Rothwell: 1:09:22, Dr Vijak Haddadi: 1:28:12, Nick Hynes: 1:40:06, Panel Debate: 2:01:25,  Ceri Jones: 2:35:55.


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