Northern Rocks 17: Wonder Women

I have not met Debra Kidd before, but I have followed her on twitter and read her blogs for a while, admiring her from afar. As someone who organises a lot of large events, I take my hat off to her for the huge and very slick event she pulled off last weekend. I am even more impressed after seeing her in action and listening to her speak.

I have tried to get to Northern Rocks for a while but am normally in the summer season of hen do and wedding fever by June. Last year I booked, only to have to forfeit my ticket as I had my Headship interview on the Monday. This year I had my Ofsted call to give me 5 days notice of my Pre-Opening Ofsted Inspection, I was shattered and could have bailed but made a commitment to Jaz and Amjad that we would be travel buddies. So I found myself stuck in static traffic on the M1, in the blistering heat, on Friday night and I nearly turned around but I am glad I persevered and pushed on with my journey. Nothing was going to stop me getting there this year and it was worth it for the gin cocktails and night in a Hilton with Jaz!


I can think of only one other edu-event I have been to where there have been more #womened on the keynote panels then men. The ‘ Wonder Women’ panel represented a diverse group of women in education, all thought leaders who are prepared to stand up for what they believe in and be more than #10%braver in their convictions.


Session 1:

I went to Stephen Tierney’s session on Lazy Leadership. I love how practical and practical his sessions are – he is a Super Heart rather than a Super Head, he is a human who models the kind of values-led leaders we need in our schools.

Session 2:

I went to Debra’s session on Dilemma-led/ Conscience-led Curriculum. She posed lots to think about, challenging our thinking on what we teach, how we teach it and why we teach it.

Session 3:

I went to Hywel Roberts session which built on Debra’s re on immersive learning experiences. As a dramatist and a comic he entertained a packed out room and subverted a lot of the Twittosphere craziness.

Session 4:

I went to Dave McQueen’s session on BRAVE leadership. I have been followed Dave from afar for a while and heard him speak for the first time at #TMHerts earlier in the week. This session built on the themes and shared great practical tips for the leaders in the room.


For me the 3 young women who closed the event stole the show. They were impressive thinkers and speakers, holding their own on the stage. A politician, an engineer and a lawyer of the future, they represent the legacy of our profession.


Leeds is a long way from Oxford, especially when it is a heatwave, you have Jaz and Amjad in the car, and take a detour via Milton Keynes, but I am glad I went. I now understand the magic that has been created in the North. It was great to reconnect with lots of fab educators, especially Gill Kelly as we had a lot to catch up on and it was brilliant meet a few more of my PLN in the flesh – especially Chris Dyson and Stephen Logan!

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • The hope in our profession – anyone feeling low, overwhelmed, run into the ground book a  pair of tickets next year, bring a buddy and make it into a road trip

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • I have been sent several book parcels from publishers in the last few weeks  – I have a lot to read this summer!

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • Friends I have made through #womened #bameed twitter and the edu-events I have been to over the last few years.




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