Bookings are now officially open for the national Seren Conference which will be held on 3, 4 and 5 December at Cefn Lea Park, Newtown. The conference is a must-attend event for Year 12 Seren students and teaching professionals, and this year’s event promises to be one of the most exciting Seren conferences yet.
Held over three days, the conference will welcome around 1,500 students and teaching professionals. It promises to be an eye-opening and inspirational experience, seeing a host of brilliant speakers and academics from Wales, the UK and overseas attending to share their expertise. Each day will hold a jam-packed timetable of sessions designed to inspire, motivate and encourage students to make the most of Year 12 in preparation for applying to university.
What will students gain from the conference?
Hama Sharif from Llanishen High School is a Year 13 Seren student studying Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Attending the conference last year inspired him to apply to Oxford to study Medicine.
“When I arrived at Cefn Lea for the annual Seren conference I realised I was part of something really exciting. The whole experience of the day really opened my eyes and made me realise there was a whole world of opportunity out there for me.
“The day was packed full of workshops around the whole range of subjects, as well as masterclasses, all designed to guide you through the university application process. This year’s conference is all about promoting learning beyond the classroom to give you the all-important edge over your competitors in university applications.
“For me, standout sessions will be ‘Communicating your Skillset’, ‘Adjusting to University Life’ and ‘Standing out from the Crowd’.
“It was interesting to hear that as a result of attending the 2018 conference 80% of students were more motivated to apply to a leading university and 84% were more knowledgeable of what it takes to successfully apply to a leading university. I can vouch for this – the conference is an all-round engaging experience that opens your mind to opportunities and tells you that you have what it takes to go to the best universities in the world.
“The conference is an intense day but so worth it. It’s unmissable really. There isn’t another opportunity that you’ll get to meet representatives from universities in the UK and in the US, hear from really inspirational people who are at the cutting-edge of their field and find out about what scholarships and bursaries are available to you at university, all under one roof.”
What’s included for teaching professionals?
Almost all the sessions in the teaching professionals timetable are brand new this year, and range from supporting student mental health and wellbeing to supporting MAT learners with perfectionism, and how best to support learners in rural environments.
Sessions for professionals will feature real-time case studies, incorporating peer-to-peer learning where possible, so that teachers can benefit from tips and strategies around these topics.
For the first time this year we will host two dedicated finance sessions for both students and teaching professionals. Student Finance Wales will explain what support is available to help with tuition fees and living costs for Welsh students, and we will also welcome scholarship app developer Grant Fairy, who will run through how to access scholarships and bursaries from universities across the UK.
The Seren Conference is free to attend and is a fantastic opportunity for teachers to boost their career by picking up CPD points.
Last year, 98% of professionals rated the conference as good or excellent, and 88% reported that they had benefitted by being able to support their most able students and that attending the event had added value to their local hub programme.
Dr John Roe, director of Sixth Form at Radyr Comprehensive School in Cardiff, has been to the conference for the past two years.
“There is such a fantastic range of opportunities available for both students and teachers. Being able to attend masterclasses with fellow students from around Wales who share a particular love and enjoyment of a subject area is one of the main reasons why this conference is so popular and successful.
“Teachers attending the conference can choose from a menu of fantastic professional development opportunities. These include sessions aimed at developing strategies to support MAT learners, sessions designed to help teachers support student wellbeing, advice on how best to support students with admission tests, personal statement and reference workshops, and opportunities to network with colleagues from across the educational sector in Wales and the UK.
“The conference is a unique opportunity for teachers to develop their knowledge and skills completely free of charge, and to leave with a range of strategies that they can take back to their schools and colleges which will have a direct impact on the quality of educational provision, support and guidance that they are able to provide for their students.”
BBC Wales Sports journalist and presenter, Catrin Heledd, will host this year’s event for the first time. Since graduating from Aberystwyth University and Cardiff School of Journalism, Catrin now presents on Scrum V and Clwb Rygbi.
How do I book?
We’ll be posting more detailed information about sessions and how to make the most of the conference over the coming weeks. Places for the conference are allocated on a first come, first served basis, so book early to avoid disappointment.
The full student timetable can be viewed here
The full professional timetable can be viewed here
To book conference places visit click here and follow the instructions. Please note; teaching staff can book up to 15 students on one form. All groups must be chaperoned by a member of staff or a responsible adult. Professionals are required to book onto the sessions they wish to attend.