Laura and I chugged up to the Education Show at the Birmingham NEC on a day out of the office. We were struck by the number of small independent companies offering workshops to support learning at all levels including maths, history, PHSE and Citizenship. Many offer these creative learning sessions to bring alive a subject, so I wonder if you might find pennies in your coffers for them. Take a look at the exhibitors’ list on The Education Show website to see what is on offer. Some are even free. Yes, free.

Elsewhere in the hall were Brooker Morgan Education Services, which offer workshops to highlight the realities of offending and prison life. Former teachers Jenny Brooker and Joan Morgan developed the workshop and have recently added experienced prison officer Phil Danks to the team, which uses a life size prison cell, complete with ‘furnishings’, – to demonstrate the realities of being locked up. For details, visit

We met the lovely Shakespeare Birthplace Trust people which has a Dig Shakespeare event, where young people can work alongside archeologists to unearth secrets around the house in Stratford where Will lived. For details, visit www . digforshakespeare . com.

The man with the smoothest look – and voice on television, fashion ‘guru’ Gok Wan pulled in the crowds on the Thursday, showing a rather shocking film he had made about teenagers and body image. He ran an extended question and answer session to help develop his plans for self-confidence lessons in schools. Mr Wan has a lovely manner about him – there was warm applause and support for his concept – so watch as this idea develops.