Maximising Pupil Progress: Academic Conference at Downe House

Maximising Pupil Progress: Academic Conference at Downe House

27 March 2023

Independent boarding school for girls, Downe House, has announced it will host a high-profile Academic Conference on Tuesday 13 June 2023 at its campus in Cold Ash. The conference, which is themed around maximising pupil progress in secondary education, has attracted the attention of hundreds of the country’s most prominent headteachers and educationalists across both state and private school sectors, as well as The Rt Hon Nick Gibb (MP), the Minister of State for Schools, who will also attend the conference and address the delegates as one of the keynote speakers.

The Academic Conference will provide outstanding CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and networking opportunities for educators, who will also have the chance to attend a select number of breakout sessions throughout the day delivered by leading educationalists covering important topics such as, helping pupils to find their voice, building culture and values in school, putting effective principles of learning into practice and governance: learning across sectors.

Headline speaker Katharine Birbalsingh, CBE and Founding Headmistress at Michaela Community School in Wembley, spoke about the event: “I’m delighted to be supporting this conference because it’s all about how, as teachers, we should be ambitious and bold with our pupils so that they reach their full potential. It’s also wonderful that the event will bring together professionals from both the state and independent sectors; rather than focusing on our differences, this conference will show that by working together and sharing our best ideas, it’s all pupils who will benefit.”

The most recent examination results placed Michaela Community School as the top performing state school in the country, in terms of its value-added ‘score’ for pupils. Matthew Godfrey, Deputy Head at Downe House School, and the organiser of the conference, explained: “We are delighted that Katharine has agreed to speak at the event. Every school can learn so much from her. Although Michaela serves an economically deprived area and, as a non-selective school, accepts pupils with a wide range of abilities and an array of challenging circumstances, every year more than half of her pupils achieve a grade seven or above, across at least five subjects, which is a remarkable achievement.”

Alongside an impressive line-up of top guest presenters, Gemma Piper, CEO of Kennet School Academies Trust, based in Thatcham, will also speak at the conference alongside Andy Atherton, Director of Learning and Research at Downe House. Clare Wagner, Head of Henrietta Barnett School in north London, the highest performing girls’ school in the UK (based on its academic results), will also feature in the line-up of speakers.

“Downe House has always been a pioneer in education, and we are very pleased to be hosting what is going to be one of this year’s most anticipated educational events, getting to the heart of what every school can do to maximise pupil progress,” added Mr Godfrey.

The conference is open to Heads and teachers from both state and independent schools across the UK as well as anyone involved in the education of young people today. Tickets priced at £75, including lunch and afternoon tea, are selling fast – for more details and to book a place, please visit:

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