After several years of attending conferences and events, I still have the same thoughts running through my head on my way to a new event. A final check of the confirmation email and a scroll on social media to see if any acquaintances are attending helps me to prepare myself for day ahead. I sit on the train, trying to be productive. Instead my mind is elsewhere, and I begin to jot down my thoughts…

As I travel to London this morning to visit the hollowed stadium of Lord’s Cricket Ground for a conference, I begin to think of those three ingredients to every successful journey; preparation, momentum and a focus on what awaits at my destination. The old adage of ‘prior preparation preventing poor performance’ springs to mind as I realise that I have not worked out how to get to the train station, when to get tickets, which underground line I need…oops. -normally things I would do the evening prior to departure.

Today, my journey involves a motorbike, a train, an underground train and a walk. I think about the most suitable method of transportation, and weigh the advantages and limits of each option before making my choice. It strikes me that, like all journeys, metaphorical or actual, there are usually a range of ways one might arrive at the destination; often, it is the direction of travel we least anticipate that brings us the greatest opportunity to learn and grow.

I begin to reflect that , as humans, we never really fully understand our destination until we are well underway. We usually have an idea, we might even have a framework, process, or guide. However, like today’s event, it is impossible to fully understand my life’s destination until I have lived through the experience of the journey itself

The anticipation I feel today excites me. I am excited to meet new people and to share the work we are doing at Releasing Potential, particularly on our online training courses. I am hoping that our approach will be adopted as a national standard for all professionals working with vulnerable young people, and I wonder how best to share this so as to secure the interest of colleagues, funders, national governing bodies and others with whom I will share conversations today. I am keen to invite people to our conference on the subject of transitions in education and care, and I wonder whether I might call on those I meet to share their own ideas at this event; I might learn so much today from others, but I don’t yet know what to expect. For me, at an exciting time in my career as a CEO, when my organisation is developing at such a pace, the possibilities are endless – which is why journeying is so fun and I can’t expect to know precisely where I will end up.

For me a journey is almost always full of expectation, and for the most part, this is positive. . On reflection, journeying may not be so fun for everyone. For the children at Releasing Potential School, journeys, literal and figurative, can bring about extreme anxiety. For some, transitions—from one place, person, idea or subject, to the next—a have been a source of pain; these journeys can be turbulent, slow and are often heart-breaking for the children we support We aim to assist in any way possible and ensure that childrens’ journeys at Releasing Potential run as smoothly as possible. Ensuring a smooth journey (an even transition, so to speak) requires continuous communication between a range of people and services, making sure we are all on the same page. It is also about recognising that for some, a successful journey looks different to those celebrated in other settings—understanding that for many, GCSEs aren’t the ultimate destination.

Journeys are a key theme in our 2019 conference. The event aims to bring together a range of important voices to explore transitions in, to, and from education and social care settings. We hope to foster collaborative networks and share innovative ideas and best practice across a range of sectors including health and social care, education, housing and the third sector. We would love to talk with as many professionals in education and social care about the journeys are student take – how far they come and how many barriers they overcome to get to their destination.

Written by Mike King