Annual Conference 2024

18 – 20 September 2024 9am – 5pm Conference Celtic Manor, Coldra Wood, The Usk Valley, Chepstow Rd, Newport NP18 1HQ

We are delighted to announce the detail of this year’s IAPS Conference, which takes place at Celtic Manor on 18-20 September 2024, Wednesday to Friday. This chance to step back from the daily challenges of running your school and to find & offer support to fellow Heads feels more important now than ever.


This year’s conference agenda has been designed by Tania Botting (our incoming Chair and architect of the 2017 Edinburgh conference) and myself, having listened to your feedback on what you wanted to see more or less of. As a general principle, we have built in increased scope for Heads running schools of similar types to explore issues specific to their contexts as well as to spend time with each other. We have also altered the mix of sessions so that there will be slightly fewer auditorium keynotes and more opportunity to attend a wider choice of seminars/ round tables.

The evenings will feature fun activities (a band, dancing, an inter-District quiz night…), the Annual Dinner and the chance to meet as Districts to have a drink together. Exercise and reflection sessions are planned for the pre-breakfast slots for those willing!

We thought it best not to try and squeeze a very diverse conference agenda into a slightly contrived overall theme – as you’d expect, speakers will give a mix of educational, political and thought-provoking content that will provide you with plenty of ideas and challenges to take back to school. That said, the topic of Artificial Intelligence remains urgent and unavoidable, not least in the existential questions it poses schools of all types. We will be supported in considering these questions, through keynotes and more hands-on seminars, by the American ed-futurist Ian Symmonds.

International schools

I’m really pleased that we’re able to offer an International Day to precede the conference, taking place on Tuesday 17 September and generously hosted by Hampton Pre-Prep and Prep, a short distance from London Heathrow. Delegates arriving through the morning will have lunch with the Head, Tim Smith, and senior IAPS people, followed by sessions in the afternoon focused on issues relevant to prep schools operating abroad, before being transported to Celtic Manor in time for dinner and an evening off prior to the start of the full conference the next morning. I will be working with Tim, the District Reps of Europe, Kenya & the Middle East and the Board’s International Representative to put together the day’s content.


We are acutely aware of the challenges schools face in justifying discretionary spend, more so this year than ever. We’ve worked very hard to push down the cost of conference whilst still delivering the high-quality event that Heads value.

Having listened to your feedback, it is clear that members prefer a price that is inclusive of as many costs as possible. The nature of Celtic Manor allows us to factor in accommodation, all meals and car parking and we’ll attempt to do the same in future years, dependent on venues. (Last year’s price of £649 for the Liverpool conference was for admission and lunch/ dinners only, meaning that delegates had to pay for two night’s accommodation/ parking on top, taking the total cost over £1000 for many of you). The price for 2024 will be £795 and covers admission, all meals, accommodation and parking, a real-terms reduction in cost of around 20%. As with all things, your perception of ‘value for money’ will be the interaction between the price you pay and the quality of the experience you have, so we need to keep the balance right in terms of excellent speakers, venues and meals.


You will be able to book your place at conference from Wednesday 15 May, using the green book nowe button at the top of this page. Bookings will close on Tuesday 13 August to allow us to finalise numbers and costs with the venue in good time, so please do not leave it too late!

I am excited to see you all at Celtic Manor in September, I really hope you are able to make it.

Programme and session information

We are delighted to announce the schedule for the conference. Further information around speakers will be updated as they are confirmed.

Information regarding booking seminar sessions will be released in due course.

Accommodation information

Due to the nature of this conference, your accommodation for the Wednesday and Thursday night IS included in your Conference ticket. Should you wish to book accommodation for the night prior, Tuesday 17 September, or the night after, Friday 20 September, then this will need to be booked directly with the venue and is subject to availability and the rates available at the time of booking.

Please note the social guest ticket does not include separate accommodation. To enquire about this please contact [email protected].