McClure and Shemmings announced as keynote speakers at FREE conference

07 Aug 2017
THRIVE conference hosted by Diagrama Foundation with keynote speakers Ali McClure and Professor David Shemmings

Education and parenting guru Ali McClure is to join child safeguarding specialist Professor David Shemmings OBE PhD as our keynote speakers at the THRIVE conference for professionals working with young children.

Mrs McClure, renowned for her book ‘Making it Better for Boys’, will offer not just practical tips and advice but also promises to enable delegates to challenge their own practice, feel invigorated and be able to empower their own staff and peers to really improve outcomes for boys and girls alike.

Prof Shemmings, Director of the Attachment and Relationship-based Practice programme, Co-Director of the University of Kent's Centre for Child Protection and Visiting Professor of Child Protection Research at Royal Holloway College, University of London, will be sharing his thoughts on the emotional key to improving behaviour.

He said: "I'm not a believer in Time Out or Naughty Step or any other 'behaviour management' methods. You can't 'manage' 'behaviour': it's the child's emotions that we have to help them regulate by providing a secure base and safe haven. Then their learning develops quickly."

The conference is the final stage of the THRIVE European project which aims to improve classroom behaviour as well as professional and personal development for individuals working with children age 0-7.

THRIVE project partners have researched key issues and needs affecting classrooms across Europe and sought to address these through a free online learning resource which has drawn on best practice. The learning platform will be officially launched at the conference, to be hosted by Diagrama Foundation at Sun Pier House, in Chatham, Kent on September 21, from 4pm to 7pm.

Delegates will also receive expert advice in a presentation from Diagrama’s trustee Maureen Walby on how to access European funding for innovative schools projects.

Mrs Walby, who has worked with European partnerships and EU funding programmes for more than 25 years said: “Many small schools and community organisations don’t know that they can access support from Europe. The funds are available to everyone involved in learning and Erasmus+ specifically invites applications from inexperienced schools and organisations. But it’s not just about the money. We can learn from partners. We can see how they overcome problems that we all share. Through these projects we also improve cultural awareness and broaden children’s horizons. The funding window is likely to close in 2020 so schools need to make the most of this opportunity now”.

The free conference is open to students and professionals with an interest in the field of nursery and primary education. Tickets must be booked in advance via Eventbrite. Refreshments will be provided. For further information please email

Diagrama Foundation is one of six project partners, and is joined by Iasis NGO (Greece), BEST Institute for vocational education and related personal training GMBH (Austria), FVA New Media Design (Italy), Solidarity without Borders (Spain) CJD Verbund NRW Süd / Rheinland (Germany). Further organisations from Spain, Belgium, Romania, France and Italy will also be at the seminar so it will be an excellent networking event for anyone wanting to find partners. For more information on the project visit

Mrs Walby added: "Delegates will also be attending from Italy so the conference promises to be an excellent networking event for anyone interested in finding their next project partner."

For more information on the THRIVE project visit