Children in a school playground in Hull

International speakers share expertise with Hull school communities at festival of relationships that make a difference

Schools and parents are coming together with leaders in the field of research into relationships that make a difference to the life-chances of children and young people.

Developments in the field of brain science have shown that quality, unconditional relationships reduce stress, build resilience and allow pupils to learn, even when they have been impacted by adversity and trauma.

The two-day conference, on 30 June and 1 July, will be held at the MKM Stadium and will see 300 delegates hear from national and international speakers, leaders in the field of trauma-informed work and relational practice. Schools, parents, and wider services will come together to look at why every interaction within schools is important, and how school communities can ensure they foster relationships that matter.

The event will help to re-connect people after the pandemic, and will be opened by Hull’s Young Mayor, Amelia Franczak.

Mark Finnis is the first speaker of day one; he is a speaker, author and coach empowering schools to create highly connected relational cultures with people at the heart of everything they do. Lisa Cherry, researcher and author of Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People will follow, to discuss the case for change. Jaz Ampaw-Farr, motivational speaker, Funny Women Semi-Finalist and fired by Lord Sugar will conclude the morning’s keynote speeches.

On day two, internationally acclaimed clinical psychologist Dr Margot Sutherland will be sharing her wisdom, followed by Dave Whitaker who will look at the importance of kindness.

Councillor Linda Tock, Portfolio Holder for children’s services said: “Everyone knows the pandemic made things especially tough for many younger people over the last couple of years. We want to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t set them back in the future.

“This conference is a fantastic way to celebrate relationships that make a difference. It will highlight the importance of every interaction across our primary and secondary schools.”

Mary Meredith, Head of education in Hull said: “This event has a fantastic line-up of keynote speakers who are experts in relational practice. There are a diverse selection of workshops for delegates to attend which will equip them with new skills or ideas about how to support children and young people impacted by trauma and adversity.

“We also know that children can be resilient and that resilience is rooted in relationships that matter. This conference is an opportunity to think deeply about that idea and what it actually means in practice, both within our schools and beyond.”

Delegates will explore the impact of adversity, or trauma, on children and young people’s capacity to learn, and what can be done within schools to bolster resilience.

This is part of a wider city ambition to be a trauma-informed city, where knowledge of how adverse childhood experiences can affect the brain, and how organisations can best to respond to this impact, and improve the experiences for children. Being a trauma-informed city follows five principles of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment.

A wide range of workshops will showcase some of the great work happening across the city that already exists in Hull schools. A vibrant marketplace will also allow delegates to explore the opportunities for connection and creativity, so that every child and young person has an opportunity to benefit from a sense of belonging.

The conference is being delivered by Hull City Council in partnership with the Hull Learning Partnership and Hull Parent and Carer Forum.  

Follow #HullCares on Twitter for live updates during the two-day conference.

An aerial picture looking over Hull from the Humber