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King Alfred School Hosts Transformational TEDx talks

Students joined staff, parents and guest speakers to deliver personal yet powerful TEDx talks

The King Alfred School (KAS) in Hampstead recently hosted a day-long TEDx event on the topic of ‘Transformations’ featuring inspirational short talks by students, staff, parents and guests.

KAS was founded over 120 years ago with a commitment to the research and development of teaching practices and sharing them with the wider education community, and this event served to continue this tradition.

Taking over the school’s Phoenix Theatre for the day, the 21 speakers took to the stage, many for the first time, to tell personal stories, make passionate pleas and bring lesser known viewpoints to life in 10 minutes or less.

Touching Transformations

One of the stand-out talks saw Sixth Form student Tara talk about how the King Alfred School culture of using teacher’s first names, has positively transformed her experience of education.

Henry spoke bravely about how he’s taken steps to tackle his own anxiety and encouraged others to do the same in his ironically-entitled talk ‘Too anxious for a TEDx Talk’.

Charlotte-Lily took part in last year’s school trip to Namibia which included working in a local school. She valued the experience, but questioned who the real winners are in this transaction.

The audience also enjoyed talks by parents. Ian Hadden has worked with the Department of Education to roll out a £200million funding package to increase the participation of disadvantaged school students in out-of-hours enrichment activities. In this surprising talk, Ian explained how we might be able to strike at the heart of the shocking attainment gap for low-income pupils. He presents evidence for how an apparently simple – but strikingly powerful – tool can help turn things around at school for many of these young people.

Other speakers included a parent who spends part of the year living on a remote Hebridean island with no cars, doctor or school, a psychologist who lost her husband to suicide talking about resilience, a games designer on the positive power of screen time and a spoken word poem on the transformative power of pain. All their talks can be viewed here.

Celebrating Diversity

With students making up a third of the speakers, the event highlighted the benefits of The King Alfred School philosophy. By providing an environment, and support, which allows pupils to develop their own strengths, looking at what is right for each individual child and allowing them to take ownership of their own learning, the school aims to nurture creative, curious and engaged students who are confident enough to talk about tough subjects. Speaking about anxiety, autism, storytelling, the true value of gap year volunteering and cryptocurrencies, the students shone.

‘At The King Alfred School we have such talented students, staff and parents, so it was amazing to get them to share their wisdom and insight with each other and with us. TEDxKingAlfredSchool was a wonderful day and it was incredible to hear so many talks which demonstrated the value of our educational philosophy. Every speaker had to search deep inside themselves to prepare – it is no easy feat to lay yourself bare before an audience – even the warm, loving and receptive audience we had. I take my hat off to each and every one of them.’

King Alfred School Head, Robert Lobatto

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