Hot on the heels of, and because of the success of our first regional two day launch event in Liverpool we were made an offer we couldn't refuse.

A massive big top in the middle of a lovely school down in Berkshire called Wellington College for what can only be described as the most prestigious educational event of the year.

And we pulled together  line up of generous sponsors, speakers and creatives to inject some #CREATIVITY into the festival.

Film of Sir Ken Robinson talk


The official blurb goes 'The festival attracts a stella line up of over 100 A-list speakers includes Sir Ken Robinson, Prof Guy Claxton, Andrew Adonis, Bonnie Greer, Michael Wilshaw, Rory Sutherland, Stella Rimington, Tinie Tempah, Piers Morgan among others.

'Are you concerned about education? He is' : Sir Ken Robinson addresses The Festival of Education. (Photo:  Atlas Photography )

'Are you concerned about education? He is' : Sir Ken Robinson addresses The Festival of Education. (Photo: Atlas Photography)

The Festival of Education is a focal point in the academic calendar and is widely acknowledged as the biggest and best informational and collaborative event. 

With innovations and developments in the field of education, the Festival attracts education’s most forward thinking innovators, influencers, practitioners of change, politicians, journalists, business leaders and policy makers.'

And STEAM Co.  


Our feature area at the festival, in a massive big top was called #INSPIRANATION. Take a look at this short film we made of the fun we had there.

It  was generously sponsored by Barclays' Digital Eagles with support from Cass Art, BMW, BT, Dell, Google and National Grid.

Click the video here to hear a radio interview with an over excited Nick Corston, Co-founder of STEAM Co. telling everyone all about #INSPIRANATION a week before the event



Primary children visiting the festival this year were given a STEAM Co. Passport listing all the activities we had laid on for them.

Photos: Atlas Photography

These included Newspaper Engineering, Coder Corner with Barclays Digital Eagles, Rocket Science, T-print studio, Funky Drummers, Animation, Storytelling, U U Ukulele, Improv, Brain Gym and Reinventing Normal.


We first came across Forkbeard Fantasy at their amazing retrospective at London's Southbank a few years back and have been trying to book them for a STEAM Co. Day ever since.

We saw their installation recently at the National Trust property at Castle Drogo in Devon. 

And now our dream has come true.

We popped in to see then at their studio in deepest Somerset recently. Asked them if they'd join us at #INSPIRANATION and they said yes! Yes!

We’re delighted that one of our activities was an animation workshop led by the amazing Fork Beard Fantasy who describe themselves as Architects of Humour and Invention.

They also gave a talk each day and got everyone involved in a great big group animation.


The talks at the Festival wasn’t just for the grown-ups this year, as STEAM Co. also produced a complete line up of inspiring hourly short talks for primary children. 

A range of artists all stepped up to give talks to the children at #INSPIRANATION.

These included #inspirator and inventor Dominic Wilcox (who is just back from tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace), Newspaper Engineer Darcy Turner, Tom Morley (drummer with Scritti Politti), Prof. Guy Claxton, Dame Julia Cleverdon of Prince Charles’ Business in the Community and a special guest appearance by Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel with many more.

We'll be getting films of these online soon. Watch this space.

Thursday talks

10:00 Activities open
Be very excited

11:30 Bringing Science to Life
Brigitte West : Beauty and the Geeks

12:20 Reinventing Normal
Dominic Wilcox : #INSPIRATOR and Inventor

13:00 Group animation workshop 
Ed Jobling : ForkBeard Fantasy

13:30 My life in music 
Steve Lewinson : Musician, Simply Red

14:00 Coder Corner
Barclays Digital Eagles and Kano

14:50 How can companies care? 
Dame Julia  Cleverdon : Vice Pres, Business in the Community

16:10 TUB Uke Jam 
Steve Nutter : The Utterly Butterly Ukulele project.


Friday talks

10:00 Open up to Improv 
Amy Hodgson : St Saviour’s School

11:30 Accapella Antics   
Tobias  Hug : Vocal whizzkid

12:20 We should all love maths 
Junaid Mubeen : Maths Whizz

13:00 Newspaper Engineering
Mr Brunel /Darcy Turner : Inventors 

13:30 The world’s favourite toy 
Tom  Morley : Instant Teamwork/Scritti Politti

14:00 Art or engineering? 
Sir Peter Bazalgette : Chair Arts Council 

14:50 It’s good to bend your brain 
Prof Guy  Claxton : Educationalist and Author

16:10 TUB Uke Jam 
Steve Nutter : The Utterly Butterly Ukulele project.


Are we teaching creativity out of our children?

Like buses, two milestone books came along this year about the way we educate our children – ‘Educating Ruby’ from Prof Guy Claxton/Prof. Bill Lucas and ‘Creative Schools’ from Sir Ken Robinson, seen by many as an overdue follow  up to his No. 1 TED talk on creativity in schools, which inspired the formation of STEAM Co.

We really enjoyed 'Creative Schools' and felt it brought together in one place a whole range of real world examples of the great work that is going on in schools around the world. But it has been absolutely slated by a review in the TES saying that Sir Ken is "the butcher given a ticker tape parade by the National Union of Pigs".

What do YOU think? If you're reading this, we assume you care.

This debate on Thursday at 2pm in the main conference South Front 1 theatre discussed ‘creativity’ in education was one of the hottest sessions at this year’s festival and was packed to the gills with limited standing room only.

Watch the debate in the film below.

It set us all up for eagerly anticipated keynotes from Sir Ken Robinson and Prof Guy Claxton on Friday 19th June.

Rachel Snape
Headteacher, The Spinney Primary School @RaeSnape

Since 2007 Rachel has been the Headteacher of The Spinney Primary School in Cambridge, a happy, welcoming, creative and successful school. (Ofsted "Outstanding"). The Guardian wrote this lovely article about the school

She is working with key stakeholders across Cambridge and The Arts Council on MYCambridge, a co-constructed partnership across Arts, Creativities and Culture for Cambridgeshire's young people.

Becky Carlzon
Class teacher/BLP leader, Christ Church C of E VC Infants School 

A promoter of creative, child-led and independent learning, Becky has taught for 10 years in forward-thinking schools in the UK and Argentina. 

Her key focus has been to help schools to instil and strengthen lifelong skills for learning in their students by creating teaching methods based in Guy Claxton’s Building Learning Power.  

Donald Clark
Technology evangelist @donaldclark

An entrepreneur at heart, Donald was CEO and a founder of Epic Group plc, the leading company in the UK e-learning market in a previous century.

Describing himself as ‘free from the tyranny of employment’, he now has feet in two camps, one as an investor and Board member of PlanB learning,  LearningPool, Cogbooks, the other in the public sector as a Trustee for City & Guilds and Deputy Chair of Brighton Arts Festival & Dome. 

He's kick things off with this blog post saying we should 'ban the word creative in education'!:-O

Jolyon Rubinstein
Comedian and campaigner @jolyonrubs

Best known for his BBC3 programme ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’, for which he picked up a BAFTA, Jolyon with his friend and comedy partner Heydon Prowse, brought their unique and particular brand of humour to a broader TV audience. 

Jolyon is grateful to have been educated in a Steiner influenced school and has long as you’ve got to talk about his views on creativity and education.

Here's Jolyon being grilled bu ANdrew Neil on his last campaign

Broadcaster and consultant

With a career spent at the forefront of current affairs, Mike Ramsden has in recent years developed a focus on education.

Mike was a presenter and reporter at BBC News, best known as the presenter of the nightly news programmes on BBC London.

He is currently Head of Broadcast at PLMR, specialising in communications support for organisations in the education sector.


For the full line up of activities and talks, STEAM Co.published 5,000 copies of #INSPIRANATION NOW – a newspaper that  was given out at the festival.

Many of the photos are 'Augmented Reality enabled' so that when viewed using the Blippar app they play a video.

Download a copy here or if you'd like us to pop a copy in the post - sign up on the form here.


What can we say? Sometimes a 'thank you' just isn't enough, but we really would not have been able to #INSPIRANATION if it hadn't been for the early and very generous support of Barclays and Dell.

As well as headline sponsorship, Barclays sent along a load of their Digital Eagle volunteers to run Coder Corner with Lego Robo Crocs and Kano Raspberry Pi computers. They were a lovely bunch and really good sports as you can see from the photos, mucking in on much more than just coding.

Dell provided all the computers we needed, super laptops and Windows and Android tablets to run the STEAM Futures activity created in Blippar by digital agency Digital Annexe.

BMW loaned us one of their BMWi electric cars which we put on show alongside the GreenPower Trust Goblin Eco car that we built at St Saviour's Primary STEAM Co. Day.

Once again, Cass Art gave us a load of pencil sets for competition prizes.

And we thank BT, Google and National Grid for their ongoing support. 

Supported by:



Put the kettle on and watch the film below from our recent regional launch event in Liverpool