VNET Conference: Developing the Whole Child

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VNET Conference:  Developing the Whole Child
Friday 8 November, 8.30am – 3.45pm @The Space, Norwich

Join us for an inspiring day which will provide strategies to support children to embrace diversity and equality whilst maintaining an emphasis on mental health and wellbeing.

Every member school or federation has two free places at the conference available on a first come first served basis until all 200 spaces are filled. So please book now! 

My journey from apartheid to freedom – Chris Lubbe

Chris Lubbe’s incredible storytelling inspires audiences to take action to bring about change within their personal lives, respective organisations and communities.

Born at a very difficult period in South Africa’s history, Chris made a decision early in his life to become an activist and to oppose the racially based system of ‘apartheid’. After Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990 and the fall of ‘apartheid’, Chris worked with Nelson Mandela until his retirement as a bodyguard and also got involved in the delicate negotiations with the ‘apartheid regime’ resulting in subsequent agreement and the drafting of the new constitution.

Apart from sharing his own personal story, Chris shares from the many important lessons and anecdotes that he learned from working with Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Sir Norman Lamb MP

Sir Norman Lamb MP has long been an advocate for improving awareness of and services for Mental Health. In 2017 he led a debate in Parliament highlighting the national strategy for improving children and young people’s mental health services – Future in Mind (2015) – which was published when he was Care Minister in the Coalition Government. In 2019 he announced that he will not stand at the next general election and has set up a Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund that will support the work of mental health and learning disability charities. He will share his experience of this journey and his work as a mental health champion in Parliament, schools and beyond.

Sanctuary: vision, values and curriculum – City of Sanctuary, Schools of Sanctuary and UEA, University of Sanctuary.
Ben Margolis, Deputy Director of the City of Sanctuary movement, Jake Rose-Brown, lead of Norwich Schools of Sanctuary and Deirdre Medler, lead of the University of Sanctuary at UEA, will show how we can continue to work together in Norfolk to develop more welcoming communities: tying in vision, values and curriculum.

They will give a context for Norwich as a City of Sanctuary and show how the sanctuary movement in schools can offer more than inclusion and welcome alone. We will hear from children directly about what sanctuary means in their schools and hear about the challenge of seeking sanctuary from refugees making their lives in Norwich.

Decolonising the Curriculum – Pran Patel, The Teacherist

Pran Patel is an experienced teacher and leader and a mental health and BAME advocate. He recently featured in a documentary ‘Why teaching is making me ill’ and ‘Black teachers are leaving the profession due to racism’. He joins us to talk about his work around ‘Decolonising the Curriculum.’

Inclusion and wellbeing in practice – a series of expert practitioners
This series of short presentations will be focussed around what has worked well for these expert practitioners to inspire you with tools to use in your own setting.

Supporting families in need – The Wellbeing Team, North Denes Primary School
Featured in BBC’s Panorama last month, the Wellbeing Team at North Denes in Great Yarmouth will talk about how they support families in one of the most deprived parts of the UK. Around half of their pupils are eligible for free school meals and it has set up its own food bank, one of many services it now offers to support those in need.

Tools and resources, the latest and best! – Jo O’Donoghue
Jo O’Donoghue has worked in a range of settings with pupils who have social, emotional and mental health needs. She will discuss tools for identifying and monitoring pupils’ mental health and wellbeing and consider a range of resources to support children in schools. Nick O’Brien (SENDCo and Mental Health Champion) will give examples of practice used in his school.

No Outsiders! – Alice Ndiaye
As part of the No Outsiders project, pupils are taught about the positive values of diversity, tolerance and acceptance, in a wide-ranging curriculum encompassing LGBT+ rights, same-sex relationships, gender identity, race and religion. Alice will share her No Outsiders booklist for Norfolk and give some context for the project

Engaging parents and carers – The Short Stay School for Norfolk
Rachel Thornberry, Head of Short Stay schools for Norfolk and Katrina Warren, Head of Specialist schools will share their experience of engaging with vulnerable and disengaged pupils and their families in order to improve outcomes for children and re-engage them in education.

and also……

Bookbugs and Dragon Tales

We’re delighted that Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, an independent children’s bookshop in the centre of Norwich, will join us at the conference. They have an unusual range of children’s books including the books that make up the No Outsiders list. They will be offering a 10% discount to members. VNET have purchased a set to loan out!


To request a place/s, please fill in the form below. You will then receive an email confirming the request. For Primary school colleagues you will also receive a link where you can book your workshop places on a ‘first come, most likely basis’

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