Each year the fantastic National Association for the Teaching of Drama (NATD) runs a conference in the beautiful surroundings of Oriel College in Oxford. It’s a beautiful and inspiring place as well as a fantastic environment in which to learn.

I have attended the last three conferences and have had such fantastic experiences at each. When I was new to the Mantle of the Expert process I found it a real haven of like-minded teaching and educational professionals who were so willing to share their practice and push the creativity agenda. 

Creativity to some is a buzzword (indeed, those of you who have heard me speak will remember my story of having a Bic biro lobbed at me by a disgruntled secondary teacher who had had enough of buzzwords!). We know different. It’s essential – just like vocational learning – and it encompasses so much of what we believe makes a great curriculum. Want excellent problem solvers? Well let’s give them problems to solve. Mantle of the Expert, Dilemma-based Learning, Philosophy for Learning and a host of other approaches enable the children to move from seeing learning as something they do with children the same age as them, to seeing learning as a connector between the classroom and the world outside the school walls. It’s authenticity-finding. It’s bringing children to the edges of their seats as they get caught up in a context. It’s moving the street-wise onto being the world-wise.

I really can’t stress to you how important this conference is and I urge you to seek it out. I will be contributing in some way to it myself and it will be a priviledge to do so alongside people who have dedicated their lives to making curriculum that actually matters.

This may seem all high-falutin’, the bottom line is this – you will leave inspired and refreshed.

I have no permission to do so, but I’ve got hold of an outline of the conference and can give you some details on how to book a place. Places can be limited so advise a conversation with your school leader (or whoever holds the strings) as soon as you can.

The National Association for the Teaching of Drama presents 



Talking. Thinking. Questioning. Doing. Enjoying. Learning.


28th – 30th September at Oriel College, Oxford.


Join us for a weekend of learning, thinking and sharing.


There will be practical workshops led by expert practitioners, thought-provoking keynote speakers and plenty of time to reflect and network. You will leave inspired, refreshed and full of ideas.

  • Learning through Drama
  • Mantle of the Expert
  • Higher Order Thinking Skills and Questioning
  • Creative and Humanising Curriculum
  • Child Centred Learning
  • Creativity and Ofsted 
  • Imaginative approaches to Behaviour Management and Assessment for Learning     (these could be subject to a little tinkering!)


Among the confirmed contributors this year are: 

Luke Abbott – National Director of Mantle of the Expert

Richard Kieran – Headteacher, Woodrow First School, Worcestershire

Hywel Roberts – Create Learn Inspire – Independent Thinking Associate

The Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah

The Big Brum Theatre

+ more to confirm

Exciting, Engaging and Creative approaches to Teaching and Learning…achieve outstanding outcomes in your practice.

So, what next?

Well, keep an eye on Twitter (and follow @nateachingdrama) and check back here as I’ll keep blogging about it.

Also, email me at hywel@createlearninspire.co.uk if you are struggling to find a way in. Or try the Chair of NATD (the wonderful) Ruth Saxton at leedsbirduk@yahoo.co.uk

Cost? It was around £350 which is a snip considering you get 2 night’s accommodation, all meals and the best CPD you’ll get all year. And it’s in Oxford – did I already mention that??

Another email to try is Kirsty on k.fechter@barnsley.org and you can get your place secured with her.

Thanks for reading this. There’s so much going on in education at the moment and at times you may feel like you’re losing your mojo. The NATD conference will restore your confidence and help you see that whilst governments may change, children don’t.

See you there – I’ll keep you posted.




Trying To Do The Right Thing


I can’t help myself. Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@hywel_roberts) may soon become tired of my Tweets about my book which is out in the next couple of weeks. Sorry about it – it’s just that I’m genuinely excited by it all. I suppose I’m a little wide-eyed as well. I’m just trying to get it right. I feel I’ve got one shot at ensuring the book gets ‘out there’ and into the hands of people who I believe genuinely need to read it.

A couple of weeks ago I secured three events with Waterstones and the first of which is in Sheffield on Saturday 19th May 11-3. It’s Orchard Square. More details http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hywel-Roberts/e/B005R3TTD4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 I spent Saturday afternoon creating some things to go around the table I guess I will be sitting at. Here’s what I came up with:



It’s a copy of one of the drawings from my book which in itself was inspired by a drawing I did sitting in the camper van in North Wales last Summer. I really like what the designer has done. Here are some other original drawings I did:




I hope they’re clear enough for you to see. I’m no artist, but I’ve enjoyed this aspect of the process. 

Anyway, I suppose what I’m writing about here is self-publicity – shameless self publicity. I’m apologetic in one sense, but then not. Do you know Roger Corman? Or Lloyd Kaufman? Schlock film makers who have kick-started the careers of many great movie-makers (James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppolla) and who both have an outstanding sense of self-promotion? They are my models. Except my output is a book. An educational book. And I’m more than happy to sell it. And then sell it some more. 

Let’s get this right, no educational writer is in it for the money – I’m in it for the message: teach the curriculum you believe your children need and make your lessons worth behaving for.


I’m just trying to do the right thing.



(bit of a ramble,but you get the drift)