The University of Derby VoiceS Conference, 16 - 18 October 2014

The University of Derby was proud to host the second VoiceS conference (Image 

All delegates are members of the VoiceS project. This is a three year project, funded by the European Commission, aiming to promote a network of collaboration between teachers and early year’s practitioners. The project produces materials to support international training for students. There are around 130 members from 13 countries. Members are teachers, students and academics.

The first VoiceS Conference was in Brussels in March 2013. I was accompanied by two BA ECS students, one MA Ed Early Years student and a local head-teacher. 

The Derby VoiceS conference began with a meeting of the steering group on Thursday 16 October, in which the University was invited to be a part of a further EU project: the Masters of Education for International Teachers. More information on this will follow in due course.

The first delegate groups registered at the University and were welcomed by Mr Mayor and Deputy Vice Chancellor Plowden. After a little light entertainment from St Benedict’s School choir, the UK Representative from Brussels (Dr Angelique Petritis, who travelled from London to be with us) addressed the delegates on the subject of language diversity across Europe. These welcome activities were followed by a buffet supper in the upper atrium.

Activities on Friday morning continued at the Enterprise Centre. There was a great deal of business to attend to, but we were soon working in our Thematic Field groups, producing materials and discussing the issues. The seven Fields are
European citizenship

  • European identity
  • European diversity
  • European professionalism
  • Multi-lingualism
  • New teacher education
  • Early years development

The keynote speaker was Professor Des Hewitt, from the University of Warwick.

After lunch, Mr Andrew Lewer MEP gave a short address on the subject of Networking.

The evening revolved around an early tapas at Jury’s Inn (in the well-appointed Cathedral Room) and a meal at Bistro Pierre, where we had the whole restaurant to ourselves.

Saturday morning was a working time, but in the afternoon, delegates were taken to Kedleston Hall for a cultural break.

The afternoon concluded with a walking tour of derby, in which they were introduced to the long and turbulent history of the City of Derby, involving Romans, Vikings, Saxons, ghosts, and the only statue in the world of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The evening concluded with a gala dinner at the Enterprise Centre.

In conclusion, I am indebted to the following people, without whose support this would have been impossible.
Joanne Atkinson and Tara Silverman: UDC Enterprise Centre
Lynn Senior: College of Education
Dr John Dolan: formerly of UoD
Joanne Byrd: Teacher Education lecturer
Daphne Blackwood & Hannah Jones: BA ECS students
Natasha Young: MA Ed (EY) student
Andrew Warren: Britannia School Alliance
Colleagues from across the College of Education who supported this event: Thank you.
Further information:

Jon White November 2014



Written Mention

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein (other languages). 

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