Aspire Annual Conference 2019 – Blog

The Aspire Annual Conference was this year supported by a host of names including NurtureUK, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust and achild2child.

This year the theme was “Developing emotional resilience and improving mental health in the classroom”. We at Aspire are passionate about early intervention and feel the need to raise awareness about mental health in the classroom. So along with our partners and more than 20 schools we came together and took part in guest workshops on the relevance of Boxall profiles (NurtureUK), the impact of parenting (Dr Shirley Macdonald) and how peer to peer massage can help to engage children in the class (achild2child).

After a great opening speech from the Directors and founders of Aspire, Gill Bullock and Danny Maher, setting the scene for the day by discussing the updates to the green paper on mental health and the potential changes to the Ofsted Framework such as the separate judgements about children’s “personal development” and “behaviour and attitudes”.



Our first keynote speaker was Yvonne Monaghan from NurtureUK, after the amazing response we received from last year’s conference attendees in Burnley we invited Yvonne to give her engaging speech on the impact that a whole school approach to nurture can have, not only on the wellbeing of pupils and staff but also academic attainment.



Before and after a very lovely lunch of hot soup, sandwiches and buns, attendees took part in our guest workshops hosted by Dr Shirley Macdonald, Jean Barlow and Carrie Thorne. Everybody who came out of each workshop had a talking point or a question to ask it was great to see people thinking about how they could embed what they had learned in their own classrooms.




Our second keynote speaker was Bob Horrocks, a former head of virtual schools, discussed different ways of using funding for looked after children. The need to support these children who are some of our most vulnerable is growing greater all the time and Bob is helping local authorities and charities come up with innovative ways of using this funding.


Finally, Danny and Gill gave a thank you and goodbye for everyone for coming. Unfortunately, I missed this ending and therefore the opportunity to thank people in person for attending. As organiser and point of contact for the conference I would like to use this blog to thank all of the people who were gracious enough to give up their day to hold workshops or give speeches and also to the people that attended and engaged in all the activities.


Michael Wood

(Head of Finance and Marketing)


If you would like further information on the support that either Aspire or our any of the other organisations in attendance can offer then please contact us or follow the links below.

Aspire has effectively led the team, providing and managing the service to our school in supporting pupils with social, emotional and behavioural needs and in supporting school in effectively managing these pupils. Her experience and expertise has been highly valued and Gill has contributed advice, training, guidance and support in the managing of the varied needs of our children and has been actively involved with the school over many years.

Sheila Copley SENCO

Aspire North West have provided bespoke support to our school which has included Individual Staff Training for behaviour management, support and advice in the completion of EHAF and HNF applications and in class support for pupils. All of the work undertaken has been completed in a timely and professional manner. The staff are knowledgeable and skilled in their work,  therefore we highly recommend this service for schools seeking individualised support tailored to their specific needs.

Joanne Blakemore - Social Inclusion Officer Brandwood School

We began working with Aspire in January 2015 as we felt we needed a more tailored service to support our children and staff. The support provided has been excellent and we continue to work together to mould the perfect service to meet our needs. Aspire North West works with pupils and staff on a one to one basis and in small groups to improve behaviour and pupil wellbeing across the school. The support that has been provided has been integral in maintaining outstanding behaviour at Bishop Bridgeman Primary School.

Helen Fazakerley - Learning Mentor Bishop Bridgeman C. E. Primary School