Service and Community Action Conference 2020

On Friday 6 March, the Institute of Service and Social Impact held its first conference in collaboration with the Independent Schools Council's Expert Panel on service education and community action.

The purpose of the conference was to bring teachers from across the state and private sector together to discuss the education we are providing our pupils through service education and community action projects. The opening talks identified the importance of creating open spaces for discussion with pupils on challenging topics, as well as the need to question assumptions through critical and empathetic thinking, enabling us to create programmes that are economically and environmentally sustainable and led from genuine community needs. 

We were delighted to have Tom Ilube CBE, an entrepreneur and educational philanthropist who founded Hammersmith Academy and African Science Academy, as our keynote speaker. He highlighted the vital role of teachers acting as effective coaches for pupils looking to create social change, identifying the importance of ensuring they act with clearly defined intent, the need for organisational alignment and the role of persistence. 

The conference included nine workshops on service programmes, school partnerships, impact measurement, social entrepreneurship education, charitable giving in a school context, advocacy education, and global partnerships. Over 30 speakers shared ideas and examples of best practice, including teachers from Wellington College, St Paul's Girls' School, Eton College, Oundle School, Tonbridge School, KCS Wimbledon, James Allen Girls' School, Brighton College, and Haberdasher Aske's Girls' School - as well as several Sevenoaks teachers and pupils. 

A community partners panel also enabled local and global community groups to offer their insights on working with schools - we were grateful to be joined by speakers from The Hygiene Bank, Sevenoaks Welcomes Refugees, Empathy Action, Hospice in the Weald and EduSpots. This led to a thought-provoking discussion on responsibility on both sides, providing a deep understanding of social issues, and developing the educational process in giving. 

We hope to make the conference an annual event, and continue to create strategies to enable teachers, community partners and pupils to come together to collectively advance this exciting and impactful area of education.

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