Inspire to Achieve: Enquire’s 2015 Conference

ParkmainsThis year Enquire’s conference was very special. Not only did we have the usual packed programme, we were delighted to hold the event at Park Mains High School in Renfrewshire. With nearly 1,300 pupils in school on the day of the conference (as well as over 120 delegates!) it was a real test of organisational skills to keep the day running smoothly but we think the venue really contributed to the fantastic atmosphere on the day.  We had a huge amount of help from Renfrewshire Council and Park Mains school staff so a big thanks goes to them.

The theme of the 2015 conference was Inspire to Achieve – an issue close to Enquire’s heart. We wanted the day to be an opportunity to explore how we currently support all children to reach their potential and ensure that barriers to learning do not become barriers to achievement.

2015-03-05 10.45.45One of our main aims for the event was to ensure that children and young people’s voices were heard as how can we hope to inspire pupils without knowing what they want?

We had an incredible group of pupils from Mary Russell School take part in a helping hands session and run a workshop with Enable and their Depute Headteacher. (Read all about it here).  Children from Glenfield Pre-five Centre came along and took part in a “A Day in the Life” workshop sharing the extended support they receive from before they start at the centre right through to transition to school.

Two pupils from Park Mains High School, Laura and Ian, shared their experience of school and what helped them reach their goals. We also had a great bunch of pupils from Park Mains help us run the event and two media teams, supported by Media Education,  film activities on the day to capture the most important points.

Click on the picture below to watch the film:

Glenfield preschool children at Enquire 2015 conference

Glenfield Pre-fives Centre children sharing information with delegates

During the panel discussion in the afternoon session Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages, highlighted that there is a huge amount of great work going on to help children and young people achieve and reiterated that the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that the Scottish education system is a fair one that offers children the chance to achieve regardless of  circumstance. The Minister also highlighted the Scottish Government’s focus on working to raise educational attainment (the Education (Scotland)Bill 2015 was introduced on 23rd March which aims to close the attainment gap and strengthen the rights of children with additional support needs).

So, what were some of the other key points from the day regarding helping children and young people feel inspired to achieve?

  • Ensure pupils have the time and space to think about what they want to achieve
  • Building confidence is very significant: children and young people value support to feel more confident
  • Positive relationships, with friends, families and school staff, are important and influential to children and young people
  • Be patient and listen to children and young people’s views
  • Good communication with a child or young person and their parents is crucial to planning and supporting learning
  • Consider the young person and not just their additional support needs
  • Be action focused. Try new things to support young people, then evaluate them with the young person to see if they have achieved what they set out to.

and most importantly


The day was filled with practical sessions for delegates as well as much discussion and debate. See below presentations and materials from the day:

 Dr Lio Moscardini, (Senior Lecturer, School of Education University of Strathclyde) discussed What can we do to raise aspirations for all?

Alan Mclean, an Education Consultant provided a lively presentation around new materials he has produced to help pupils, teachers and parents to self reflect on what motivates learners.





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