Executive Vice President David Cope was pleased to join around 700 other participants at the 36th annual Council of British International Schools (COBIS) Conference, held from May 6 to 8, beside the Thames at the InterContinental London O2 in Greenwich, London. COBIS welcomed delegates, exhibitors, speakers, and guests from more than 70 countries worldwide.
The theme for this year's conference was Transformations—especially transforming teaching and learning and transforming school leadership. Keynote speakers were Robert Senior, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi; Bill Sweeney, CEO of the British Olympic Association; Professor Dame Alison Peacock, CEO of the Chartered College of Teaching; and Professor Ian Robertson, neuroscientist, academic, and author, who—among other things—reminded delegates to breathe as a way to convert anxiety into excitement. Other plenary sessions highlighted the new COBIS Accreditation scheme, various case studies from COBIS member schools, and a panel discussion on teacher supply. Delegates were also able to choose from an extensive programme of workshops and seminars as well as networking at a number of social events.
David represented Search Associates at the large exhibition held alongside the conference, and he was able to connect with heads and other senior staff from member schools as well as introduce our services to prospective members.
David also attended a general briefing by the International Schools Consultancy (ISC) on the continuing spectacular growth of the international education market. Though already aware of many of the statistics given regarding the phenomenal expansion of this market in Asia, he was particularly interested in hearing about the significant growth of international education in Latin America. ISC's Market Intelligence Reports for Latin America generally—and for some individual countries in the region, such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru—should give new Senior Associate Jennifer Imholt valuable information as she works next year on growing Search Associates' presence and activity in the region and planning our next Latin American job fair.
For David, there was an element of nostalgia about the whole event. COBIS evolved from an earlier organization named COBISEC (the Council of British International Schools in the European Community) of which David, then Headmaster of the British School of Paris, was a founder member in its earliest days in the 1980s—as also was Senior Associate Harry Deelman, then Headmaster of St George's British International School in Rome. The conference gave David a chance to reflect for a while on the evolution of this influential organization, and also on his and Harry's careers, the explosion of wonderful international schools worldwide, and the amazing growth of Search Associates.