The Portobello Learning Festival

Meeting The Needs of All our Young People?

Adverse Childhood Experiences: The science, the reality, the responses.


Saturday 9th June 2018, Edinburgh
09:00 - 16:30 


In association with Independent Thinking Ltd and Pivotal Education

Location: Portobello High School, 1 Milton Road, Edinburgh, EH15 3AS

One of the biggest and, certainly, most timely learning events of the year. Scotland has reached a breakthrough point in terms of our awareness of the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences. We now need to look beyond awareness and put this information into practice. ACES gives us a new lens through which we can see what child-centred education looks like and what is needed to get it right for every child. Those are the themes we’ll be exploring in this event.

Introduced by the 'real' David Cameron and Ruth McKay, it will feature keynotes from Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, a leading academic and campaigner, Jaz Ampaw-Farr and Chris Kilkenny, both of whom have lived the reality of ACEs, and Paul Dix, best-selling author of “When the Adults Change”, alongside a remarkable series of workshops. This will be an unmissable event for anyone who believes that young people’s futures should never be limited by their pasts.

With confirmed workshops covering four strands: The Teaching Response, The Leadership Response, The Behaviour Management Response and How Schools in Scotland are Responding provided by:

Independent Thinking Associates: Hywel Roberts, Dr Debra Kidd, Lisa Jane Ashes, Dave Whitaker, Dave Harris, Nina Jackson, Will Ryan and Jim Roberson.

Pivotal Education: Olly Firth

Plus additional Scottish Response workshops from schools implementing ACE-Informed policies and practice.

Please note that workshops will be booked on a first-come first-served basis and as the saying goes, once they're gone, they're gone! This will happen after registration - you will be contacted for your preferred choices.


Click here for the full programme, costs and how to register. 

The cost of the conference is £50 per delegate 
(price includes VAT). 



Programme for the Day


09:00   Registration opens

09:30   Why now? Why here? Welcome and introduction from David Cameron and Ruth McKay, Headteacher of Portobello High School     

09:45   Setting the challenge - Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, Jaz Ampaw-Farr and Chris Kilkenny on the science and reality of adverse childhood

11:15   Recharge

11:40   WORKSHOP 1 - your choice from the four strands

12:40   Recharge more

13:20   What happens when the adults change? - Paul Dix on our power to make a difference

14:00   WORKSHOP 2 - a second chance from the four strands

14:50   WORKSHOP 3 - a third and final chance!

15:40   Pick up the pieces - The real David Cameron will pull together the strands of the day

16:00   Meet and mingle - a chance to talk to everyone involved, to get social, get live and get real