HighFlyers Parents' Conference 2023
This special edition of the HighFlyers Conference - An online experience for parents was held on 9th September, 2023
Follow the links below to be notified or our next events. Also see below some feedbacks and materials from the event.
Demystifying Special Education Needs
Dealing with Financial Challenges
HighFlyers Parents’ Conference 2023 was a blast!! We are so excited about it!
The HighFlyers Conference was born in 2021 as a response to the urgent need to equip parents and families with relevant insights to enhance the educational journey of their children, particularly in these demanding times." We held two conferences in 2021, and one in 2022 with fantastic and overwhelming feedback from all participants. The just concluded 4th edition was set to raise the standard compared to our past editions, as we delved deeply into the subject of special education needs, along with the impact of the rising cost of living on families.
The theme of the conference was Overcoming Barriers to Learning and it was held on the 9th of September 2023. We aimed to provide parents and families with fresh insight and tools to embark on a new academic year.
Sue Wakeling (MBE), a dedicated Christian and seasoned educator for over 35 years with experience in various aspects including maths education, special needs education and teacher training was our distinguished first speaker for the event. She delivered an insightful, comprehensive, and highly educational talk on 'Demystifying SEND,' earning widespread appreciation from all attendees.
Our second speaker was Pastor Thomas Nelson, a proficient educator, who having worked for many years in secondary Schools and Sixth Forms, made a move to apply his education skills in the financial sector. Pastor Nelson gave an in depth and thought provoking talk on the challenges of the current economic climate on families, particularly those with children with additional needs. He emphasised the need for every family to have and work steadily towards a financial goal.
Here are some key takeaways from the conference:
It is very helpful to get a proper diagnosis of any concerns you might have about your child’s additional educational needs. The school can only recommend/provide strategies for supporting the child , but is not able to give a diagnosis.
No child or family must be labelled based on their special education needs. Even if there is a diagnosed condition, this can not become the identity of the child.
Every child has got strengths and positive traits that must be regarded and emphasised.
One of our participants, also an educator, shared this striking quote that she learnt during her training. "As a teacher (parent), I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will escalate or de-escalate and a child humanised or de-humanised."
In response to the talk on family finances, one of our participants shared that she learnt the hard way but now she has many financial goals, and is teaching them to her children as a single parent.
It is never too early to start teaching our children financial skills. Some children are financially and business savvy from their pre-teen years, this could be a source of concern to parents who feel it might become a distraction from their studies. We should try as parents not to quench this business savviness, but direct it properly.
Here is also a link to a service for advice and information about special education needs.
IPSEA Independent Provider of Special Education Advice: fhttps://www.ipsea.org.uk/pages/category/service-overview
The feedback we have received so far has been so positive and overwhelming. See below some of the feedbacks from the event. The video recordings of the talks, and conference slides can also be accessed at the bottom of this page
We look forward to seeing you at the next HighFlyers Conference.
Sue Wakeling, (MBE)
Sue has been involved in education for 35yrs. A trained maths teacher who has specialised in special needs education for the last 28yrs.
Sue has experience in training teachers as well as working with children and young people. She spent 15yrs in China as a missionary working with families who had children with additional needs; was the SENDCo at the Christian school in Liverpool for 9yrs and is now SEND specialist at a large comprehensive school in Cornwall.
Sue has been a Christian for over 40yrs. Her faith is important and believes that God has a purpose and a plan for every child and young person. With God nothing is impossible.
Pastor Thomas Nelson
Pastor Nelson Thomas has a BSc in Computer Science, BA in Practical Theology, PGCE in Secondary Mathematics and MSc in management studies.
His working experience ranges from the telecommunications industry to the Voluntary Sector.
Having worked for many years in secondary Schools and Sixth Forms, Pastor Nelson Thomas made a move to apply his education skills in the financial sector.
His ultimate goal is to support people with practical concepts to help them achieve their educational, financial, marriage and family goals at the same time. He is happily married with three children.
Some Feedback From the Event
The slides from the conference can be downloaded from the links below
2. SEND and Financial Challenges