If you want a report on what happened on the first day of Wellington’s annual edu-orgy, then I’d start anywhere but here. I wasn’t there. I’ll just stick with what happened to me after I got there late in the day.
If you haven’t been to The Festival of Education, try to imagine the Rio Carnival if it was organised by the Oxford English Dictionary It’s not a festival of course; no one wears a large felt hat in the shape of a Guinness, or shîts in the bushes (although I did see David James, the organiser….but no). No one has a whistle. No one is drinking Red Stripe, and crying. What it is, is an Agora for educationalists. It’s Speakers’ Corner. It is Oxford Circus. It is New York, in the queue for the Statue of Liberty, where you enjoy a succession of rabid preachers all catchin’ bees at the slow line of captive uncomfortables. Some conferences settle on a theme and stick to it. The Festival makes no such distinction: the inhabitants of Babel had more in common. Which is why it works. You want Jodie Marsh talking about bullying? Step into my tent. Want to see David Laws make balloon animals? Queue starts behind the Bertrand Russell Learning Pagoda. It really is quite mad.