The Schoolreaders team had a busy time at last week's Oxfordshire Headteachers Conference in Stratford-upon-Avon. As well as establishing contacts with lots of new schools and spreading the word about Schoolreaders to many more teachers and education professionals, we had the chance to meet the wonderful Floella Benjamin. Brimming with energy and enthusiasm, Baroness Benjamin OBE DL, gave a great keynote speech and we talked with her about our shared goals of improving children's literacy. She later posted a lovely tweet about Schoolreaders - @FloellaBenjamin. Since her early career in children's TV, most notably presenting Play School in its 1970s heyday, Floella has consistently championed the need for top-quality education at primary level. She's also been an advocate for children in a broader sense and has used her role as a Lib Dem peer to campaign for family-friendly policies. Floella joked that she has a certain authority with many of today's MPs as they would once have been among her Play School audience.
Floella talked about her life philosophy of the '4 C's' - she believes that in order to thrive we all need to have Consideration and respect for other people. Contentment - happiness and health. Confidence - in yourself. And Courage - you must stand up for your principles - always. Some good rules for life and obviously ones that Floella herself lives by - typically, when Chancellor of the University of Exeter, she rejected the formality of the traditional graduation ceremony, insisting on giving each student a hug rather than a handshake. We were delighted to meet her!