One of the benefits of being on parental leave is that you are not subject to the busy and stressful schedule of a teaching timetable that leaves you too exhausted to take advantage of the many CPD conferences offered around the country at the weekend.  Below are some of the conferences – both free and ticketed – that you might want to put in your calendar, with some brief information about childcare options.

Read about the MaternityTeacher’s experience of taking her baby to his first conference.

Teach First run six regional conferences every year, mainly aimed at their first and second year participants.  However, if you are a Teach First ambassador, or work in a Teach First school, you can also access the workshops at these conferences for free.

Workshops are varied and interesting, facilitated by Teach First ambassadors, staff and external agencies.  Most focus on aspects of teaching and learning such as literacy, SEND or differentiaton, but there are also leadership sessions on topics such as time management and coaching, as well as workshops focusing on wider issues in education such as FGM, inclusion and careers education.

Ambassadors can sign up on the Teach First community website, and non-ambassadors can get in touch through the Teach First mentors or ITT Lead in charge of the Teach First participants in their school.

Currently, Teach First does not provide childcare, but this might be something that changes if they get enough requests from parent participants and ambassadors!

ResearchED is an organisation that aims to ‘improve research literacy in the educational community’.  They run an annual UK conference sharing the findings of various research projects and the actions taking in according with these findings.

The conferences are Live Streamed and so some sessions can be accessed for free at home.  The Live Stream link is posted on the ResearchEd Twitter feed on the day of the conference.

To attend in person, the event is ticketed and a creche is provided for parents.

WomenEd run regular regional ‘Unconferences’ and Lead Meets, as well as an annual ‘Unconference’ focusing on women, education and leadership.  Lead Meets are free, and unconferences are ticketed.

The WomenEd community are committed to equality and have secured funding to provide free creches at many of their events.  When they can’t offer a creche facility, they welcome children and babies into sessions and it is a common sight to see a sling, buggy or small person at a WomenEd event.

Follow WomenEd on Twitter to keep up to date with Lead Meets and Unconferences in your area.

The WomenEd community also run Coach Meets, many of which are hosted or attended by our very own MTPT Project advocates and coaches.

Coach Meets are run in different regions and often advertised on Eventbrite or through the WomenEd Twitter handle, and as with everything associated with WomenEd, the hosts are committed to inclusivity – just talk to them about your baby needs!

The Teaching and Learning Takeover is an annual Southampton based conference running workshops on a whole variety of teaching and learning topics.

Whilst they do not yet have capacity to offer childcare, they are keen to break down barriers to access, so get into contact with David Fawcett or Jenn Ludgate to discuss your needs for their 2018 conference.


Oxford University Press run a number of ticketed conferences in partnership with other organisations including NAHT and the Teacher Development Trust, but a number of sessions from their June 2016 ‘Developing Great Teachers’ conference were recorded and you can watch these for free whilst providing your own childcare… in pyjamas, if you like!

The image above provides the video link for a session and Q&A on effective CPD hosted by Philippa Cordingley, Chief Exeutive of of CUREE.


Inspire South West were all action and very little talk when they welcomed our South West Representative, Kate Fiddian and baby Ted to their first conference in 2017 without any fuss at all.

This conference focuses on learning and leadership and featured established figures in education such as Sue Cowley, as well as providing a platform for new facilitators and voices on the teaching, learning and leadership scene.

We are sure that their inclusive practices will continue as they plan ahead for 2018.

Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School in Bourneville host regular Teach Meets and Lead Meets and Deputy Head teacher, Claire Stoneman is explicit in welcoming teachers on parental leave and their babies to these events.

The school are also happy for parent-teachers to visit and have a look around whilst on leave.