On the 12th June 2017, Bright World welcomed a host of expert industry speakers to share their wealth of knowledge with guests at our 2017 annual company conference.
This year saw an unprecedented amount of education agents confirming their attendance to the conference. Also in attendance were some of our top UK partner boarding schools and Bright World Associates, AEGIS (the Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students), BAISIS (British Association of Independent Schools with International Students) and SAFE (Safeguarding Associates for Excellence).
We were thrilled to meet with old friends and new partners to discuss the latest developments at Bright World during our networking drinks reception, after which guests were invited to a sit-down lunch followed by an afternoon of seminars.
Opening proceedings was Bright World’s Managing Director, Lana Foster with her motivating, rousing seminar ‘Don’t Take the P’s out of Education Marketing’, during which she explained the importance of taking care of your customers; whether it’s making sure that your website is clear and concise, reassuring the customer that they are wanted or by making the application process into a UK boarding school as easy and convenient as possible.
Lana also uncovered one of the most significant developments of the year at Bright World – our fantastic 2017 AEGIS Re-accreditation, where Bright World achieved 100% in 5 of the 8 areas of the re-inspection, carried out by impartial ISI trained inspectors.
Finally, Lana introduced Guardianship as a selling point for UK Boarding Schools claiming that it plays an important part in the boarding school sector, helping schools to uphold their duty of care and to ensure the safety of their students throughout the academic year, even when the school is closed. Unbelievably, Guardianship is an industry that remains largely unregulated. This means that anyone can start a Guardianship Organisation and, shockingly, no-one will check on them, unless they volunteer to be inspected by AEGIS.
In response to a lack of regulations, AEGIS re-inspects Guardianship Organisations every four years. Highlighting the importance of AEGIS accredited guardianship at this year’s conference was Yasemin Wigglesworth, Executive Officer at AEGIS. Yasemin presented the second seminar entitled ‘The Importance of Good Guardianship,’ sharing some real-life case studies where the unexpected had left students in great need of good, safe guardianship.
“In the world of Guardianship, there are things that we know are going to happen. Exeats, parents’ evenings, half terms and journeys to and from the airport are just a few situations that we deal with every year. It is when the unexpected happens that a guardian really comes into play and that is where we think Bright World stands apart.” – Lana Foster, Managing Director.
Yasemin’s presentation highlighted that unfortunately, the need for a good Guardianship Organisation is often only brought home to schools, parents and agents when a crisis occurs.
“It is important to remember that at the heart of true guardianship is the child and that a good Guardianship Organisation is an asset to an Agent.” Yasmin Wigglesworth, Executive Officer, AEGIS.
Finally, our Key Note Speaker, Criminologist, Dr Graham Hill, presented a gripping and myth-busting seminar. Graham shared his knowledge with guests with the primary aim of dispelling many of the myths that surround child abuse perpetrators. Graham told of how we, as professionals involved in Safeguarding, can better understand their behaviour. Drawing on his decades of experience, Graham demonstrated how this knowledge can have an impact on Child Protection at both a strategic and practice level.
After an insightful day, we waved goodbye to our guests and staff members were invited to attend a courtyard drinks reception and barbeque.
The following morning, we aimed to better strengthen the lines of communication between our head office team and Local Coordinators through one to one meetings and interactive presentations.
Our Local Coordinator team are vital to ensuring the safety and happiness of students under our care and to show our appreciation, we awarded those members of staff who we felt went above and beyond our expectations of a Local Coordinator during the last academic year. Congratulations to the following award winners:
Shahnaz Weber – Best ‘Go To’ LC
Inna Sheppard - Best ‘All-rounder’
Eileen Kingsland - Best Flyer of our Flag
Sara Holman – Best Newcomer
Alexandra Williams - LC of the Year
We have had some wonderful feedback regarding the conference already and have been extremely pleased to learn that all our guests and Local Coordinators found the event to be both enjoyable and informative. Please read some of these comments below and feel free to view images from the event on Facebook and Instagram.
After another very successful conference, we look ahead to next year with great expectation and anticipation.
“I would like to thank you very much for last week’s conference. I am delighted to have meet Charlotte and the rest of your team members. That was such a positive day. I happily witnessed how your team are enjoying working with you and being under the Bright World umbrella. That was fascinating! This conference gave me the opportunity to understand your place in the industry, which made me feel that we are not alone when we need experienced hands. Thank you and your team once again for this great day, it was really eye opening for us”
Gamze Keegan, Proprietor, Link & Learn Cultural Education Consultancy
"It was lovely to see so many schools and agents at the networking event and to catch up on all their news. An important aspect of the conference is the safeguarding and child protection updates which were very informatibve and which will be very useful."
Hazel Ormrod, Local Coordinator, Bright World
"Thank you so much for such a lovely lunch on Tuesday and for your very generous hospitality at the Bright World Networking lunch. It is such an excellent event, and it is very obvious that a huge amount goes into organising it and giving us all such a great day.
Your speakers were excellent and very thought provoking, particularly Graham Hill, and I certainly appreciated much of what he had to say as we are all too trusting at times and perhaps ought to think more outside the box to protect those in our care who may be vulnerable as well as available.
It is great to see so many old friends and to make new ones and I love catching up with all of you. I have always been an advocate for Bright World, and am very glad that our relationship has been able to continue with each of my moves over the years! Thank you very much, once again, and I will hope to see you soon.”
Belinda Holley, Head of Partnerships, Etherton Education
“I just wanted to email to send a BIG thank you to you all (and the rest of the Bright World team) for hosting such an informative and well-run conference. It was great to see you all again and to meet the rest of the team. It was great to have the opportunity to meet the LC team and to chat with both newer and long standing members of Bright World.”
Katie Browne, New Local Coordinator, Bright World
"Bright World is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment."
The number of UK Boarding Schools and important Industry Associations attending our Company Conference last week was testament to how highly thought of Bright World Guardianships is. We have had some wonderful feedback at how impressed our guests were with the amount we invest in Child Protection and Safeguarding. It is so important to bring the whole company together once each year to share experiences and obtain important Child Protection Training. I believe it really sets Bright World apart and enables us to strive to be the best in UK guardianship' Lana Foster, Bright World Managing Director
The Bright World Company Conference 2018 was a resounding success. So many of our close partner schools and agents took the time to join us. We all came away feeling very positive about the Guardianship industry and the work that schools and Bright World do together to keep children safe.