Global education leaders gather at British Council’s ‘Schools Now!’ conference to discuss strategies for an enriched curriculum

The conference was attended by over 1000 school leaders both onsite and virtually.
Published March 5, 2024

British Council’s ‘Schools Now!’ 2024 was held over three days in Cape Town, South Africa from  February 27-29 2024. The conference was attended by over 1000 school leaders both onsite and virtually and served as a platform for fostering collaboration and sharing best practices and insights in international education.

From Pakistan, 5 delegates attended the conference including representatives from the British Council, Academia, Aitchison College, Nixor College, Cedar College, Benchmark School, Karachi Grammar School, Cedar College, Alpha College, DHAI Education System, International School of Lahore, Cadet College Hasanabdal and Generations School.

The themes included digital learning, leadership, well-being, and safeguarding, adding to a rich internationalised and contextualised curriculum. Through a series of engaging keynote sessions, immersive workshops, and panel discussions, delegates explored innovative teaching approaches, curriculum enrichment strategies, and the integration of technology in education.

Martin Lowder, head of Global Exams Services at The British Council, shared, “The spirit of ‘Schools Now!’ is to establish global connections within the educational community, exploring insights and innovations in international education. By addressing emerging themes, we aim to empower educators to navigate the complexities of the shifting education landscape and drive positive outcomes for students.”

Amanda Ingram, exams director at the British Council in Pakistan said: “The British Council Partner Schools programme supports over 730 Partner Schools in Pakistan to deliver UK International School Qualifications on behalf of UK awarding bodies. Our educational support enables schools to enhance the learning experience for students, improving educational outcomes.”

Nadeem Ghani, dean from Nixor College said, “The education sector is undergoing continuous transformation due to technological advances. Online platforms and digital resources are redefining our access to knowledge. Collaboration between stakeholders is essential to address these rapid changes and ensure equity in access to education. The ‘Schools Now!’ conference is an ideal platform to share this knowledge and expertise to support educators like us to implement innovation in schools.”

The opening keynote session by Victoria Pendry, CEO of the Curriculum Foundation, aimed at empowering schools to develop, monitor and evaluate an enriched curriculum. Her presentation explored the interconnected nature of digital learning, leadership, well-being, and safeguarding as a foundation for quality and equitable education.

Other distinguished speakers included Dr Funke Baffour-Awuah, head of well-being division and child rotection lead, Al Rayan International School, Ghana, Kathleen O’Hare, British Council Education consultant, Pamela O’Brien, deputy head and Jo Parkes, deputy head academic from British Council School in Madrid.

Tatiana Popa, deputy academic director, Heritage International School, Moldova, an ISC International Education Influencer of 2023, delivered a session for virtual delegates on ‘Digital learning’, focusing on the use of AI in schools and how this will impact all areas of work, educational tools, teaching practice and much more.

An expert panel on ‘AI in Education’ comprising Kudzayi Tarisayi, senior lecturer, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, Reham Ali, director of Middle and High School Education, Nermine Ismail International Schools, Egypt, and Jo Parkes discussed valuable tips into how schools can ensure students are prepared for future needs dictated through the use of AI. It was eye-opening to see nearly 90% of conference delegates voice AI as a friend, not foe, signaling widespread optimism toward AI’s potential benefits.

Key takeaways from the event will be available on the ‘Schools Now!’ website page soon: ‘Schools Now!’ Conference

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