In November we held our first round of IGBE Meets. The aim of these networking events is to provide a space for sharing and collaboration with a focus on addressing gender imbalances in participation, curricular preferences and learner pathways.
Many practitioners from ELC, Primary, Secondary, CLD, colleges, local authorities and some third sector organisations attended throughout the country.
The events kicked off with an ice breaker of Human Bingo to get everyone thinking about their own unconscious bias and the subtle power that language can have. Next, everyone shared their reasons for signing up to the event. Interestingly, there were lots of connections to personal stories, drawing the links between what we do as professionals and the moral imperative for creating change. Practitioners reported that they welcomed the opportunity to hear what others were doing in their settings and felt able to take lots of ideas from those further along in their journeys.
Some shared that IGBE can sometimes feel daunting as there are so many external factors influencing young people that we have limited influence on. Hearing about the things people had tried made IGBE interventions feel less daunting and more approachable. In addition, getting the chance to chat to others and network (outwith their authority and across sectors) was listed commonly as one of the best things about the Meet.
Next was an opportunity to get into sector groups and generate plans for something to take back. These discussions focused on ideas grouped by theme: whole school, curriculum, individual interactions, events, parents, extra-curricular and other. It was great to hear so many supportive conversations taking place and an appetite to plan for what comes next!
Some of the most important things people were able to take away was a gain in confidence on how to approach this and ideas for a starting point. There is no change too small and practitioners reported feeling energised, enthused and empowered to get started or continue with fresh ideas in their settings. There was also a proactivity regarding ownership of IGBE and practitioners took it upon themselves to spread the word.
We have gathered feedback and are seeking to make improvements for our next Meets, likely to be in May 2020. If you couldn’t make it to this round, keep a look out on twitter and through your networks to hear about the next ones.