The EOE2018 Conference has been and gone. It was an intellectual whirl wind of ideas, discussions, meeting new people, understanding philosophies and evangelising about the work of Releasing Potential. I have been humbled by the interest shown in the work of Releasing Potential. I am exceptionally proud of the systems we have managed to create which support the work of staff, enabling them to easily track student progress, and saddened by the scale of need within Europe (and beyond) for resources which truly engage young people within Alternative Education.
Upon reflection, here are the lessons I have learnt:
1. The increased need for good quality alternative education within Britain is reflected in Europe and beyond.
2. To develop a database which tracks attainment, emotional development and educational engagement is unusual, particularly in the world of AE.
3. Professionals are very interested in the story of Releasing Potential and the first question they ask is ‘how did you afford to pay for the creation of the charity’ / ‘where did you get your money from’.
4. The authenticity of the work of RP is not questioned when there is data and academic theory underpinning outcomes and methodology respectively.
5. Very few people are able to pay the price in time, money and potential failure to create programmes which are truly effective for children on the edge of our society.
I quickly fell in love with Slovenia. It was wonderful to spend time in a European country that is so culturally exciting. I spent most of my leisure time cycling through Bohinj; the views were extraordinary! I occasionally stopped to take pictures of the beautiful landscape, none of which do any justice to the reality the evenings were lively, learning to Slovenian folk dance is something I will not forget in a hurry!
I am truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to spend time with academics, educationalists and others at the EOE2018 Conference. I am inspired to strive for Releasing Potential to continue to develop particularly in ways which can help set the standards for Alternative Education. I hope to be able to do this by providing systems and support based upon the lived lessons we’ve l earned from working with this minority group.