On Saturday 15th November the ASE West committee (I am the chair) ran their half-day science conference at Bath Spa University.
An excellent conference, if I do say so myself. I am proud that we held it on a Saturday and I proud that we were able to make it free to members and only £10 to everyone else.
Around the same time OldAndrew was having an outburst about Wellington College moving their Festival of Education wholly into the week. I can see both sides of the argument. https://teachingbattleground.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/when-should-education-events-be-held/
From Wellington College's point of view I know that it is easier to get speakers and attendance is higher during the week. Despite what Andrew and others might feel there are a lot of teachers out there who will not give up their own time for conferences and other CPD. A lot. The ASE conference is not well as attended when it falls in the holidays from time to time, for example.
However, we need events to be held on Saturdays and in holidays.
If you are restricted in the CPD you can have access to at school then you need another avenue. I have certainly been in this situation. SLT favourites able to go to courses and feedback at Thursday evening sessions you have the 'option' to attend. In house CPD thought to be all you need, because it is important to stick to the ethos of the academy, which is sufficient apparently. I don't want my CPD to be restricted by an agenda that I am not consulted on.
I don't really have the answer though. If the motivation is to reach more people and therefore earn more money then the needs of those teachers who want to search for their own CPD in their own time, with their own money, are not a priority.
To teachers: if you are reading this and thinking "I won't be allowed to go, it is during a school day", ASK. Ask and you might be surprised. I have been and continue to be. I have been able to go to the ASE conference for the last three years and I am going again this year. But if I had not asked then no one was going to offer.
To conference organisers: please do consider those of us who are coming to your event independent of our school What we gain will be fed back into the system and the fact that we came at the weekend probably makes it more valuable to us. If you can afford it please think about your potential audience, their budget, location and time.
To Andrew: sorry, I won't be signing your petition Wellington College have a point if their intention is to have more visitors.