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Conference to inspire healthy changes to the curriculum 28 January 2008

Leading figures in education should prepare to be inspired at a conference this summer.

‘A Healthy Mind in A Healthy Body’ is being hosted by the Department of Education at the Isle of Man College in July 2008.

The conference is for school and college leaders as well as leading figures in integrated services such as law and order, health, social services and leisure.

‘A Healthy Mind in A Healthy Body’ focuses on how the curriculum can be tailored to meet the needs of the whole child, both in terms of their academic achievement and wider health and well-being. It will demonstrate how these two factors are intertwined, showing a healthy lifestyle can make for improved learning.

Martin Barrow, Co-ordinating Adviser for 3-11 Education at the Department of Education, said:

‘It is vitally important that, as educationalists, we focus on the needs of the whole child. This not only means their academic development but also their physical, emotional and mental well-being. Research shows us that children achieve their full potential when we get all of the elements of this package right.’

The event builds on the 2006 ‘Freedom to Flourish Curriculum’ conference, which demonstrated to those leading education on the Island that they had a lot of freedom in designing the curriculum for their own particular settings. It encouraged them to be as creative as possible when shaping the curriculum to meet the needs of their particular pupils.

The conference will feature keynote speakers specialising in curriculum, nutrition and physical and brain-based learning.

They include:

• Mick Waters, Director of Curriculum at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the regulatory body for public examinations and publicly funded qualifications

• Dr Parameswaran Kishore, Director of Public Health on the Isle of Man

• Sam Mellor, Head of the UK’s ‘National Healthy Schools Programme’, which engages 93 per cent of schools in the UK

• Will Ord, a former teacher and now an education consultant and trainer on thinking skills

• Dr Alex Richardson, one of the UK’s leading researchers into the effects of nutrition

• David and Alison Morby, respectively Assistant Head of Culture and Leisure Services and Physical Activity Development Manager for Kirklees Metropolitan Council.

The Department of Education is expecting representatives from all schools and the Isle of Man College to attend the conference. It is hoping school and College leaders will return to their establishments inspired to adapt their own curriculums to reflect the messages received from the conference.

Mr Barrow said:

‘Experience has shown us that if we can inspire school and college leaders, they will return to their settings and lead change which makes a real difference for children and young people.’

The invitation-only conference takes place Friday July, 11 and Saturday July, 12. Attendance is free for all delegates. A conference dinner will also be held at the Empress Hotel.

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