Run a #BrewEd

Are you thinking of running a #BrewEd? Have a look a this first. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with @MrEFinch or @darynsimon if you have any questions at all.

1) Are your values in line?

#BrewEd is about debate and about breaking down silos. It’s about listening to people you wouldn’t usually hear from, whether that’s because they’re from a different sector of education or maybe because they have a different political or pedagogical philosophy. We look to be challenged. We don’t do sponsorship and we don’t do product placement. No one makes a profit. Rule of thumb: if there’s a goody bag on the seat it’s not in the spirit of #BrewEd as Ed and Daryn set it up all those years ago.

2) Find a decent place that will have you.

You’re probably looking for a back room or a function room, maybe with its own bar. You might prefer to run your event in a café instead – while the conviviality of the pub is part of the DNA of #BrewEd we do acknowledge that not everyone feels confident in a pub. There has been at least one alcohol free #BrewEd and it was very successful indeed. You don’t want to pay too much for your venue as that’ll bump your ticket sales way up. Will they do a deal so you can offer a drink on arrival? Make sure they can cater for your group – maybe people will order food on arrival if you ask, that makes things easier for a pub with a small kitchen.


Up to you. So far they’ve been on a Saturday from about 10:30 to about 4:30. You can check if there’s already a #BrewEd running that day but, honestly, if you’re more than an hour’s travel from the next nearest event it won’t make much difference unless there’s someone very particular you hope will agree to speak. If you want to do one after work on a Wednesday go ahead – we’ll be interested to hear how it goes as a whole day on a weekend is genuinely a very big ask for a lot of people.

4) How many people?

We think the optimum number of people is somewhere between thirty and forty people. We’d like to think that at a #BrewEd everyone can have their voice heard. Much more than thirty people and that can get difficult and the vibe can become less about participants and more about audience members. We know of a #BrewEd that has sold a hundred tickets and we’ll be very interested to hear how that goes.

4) Contributors

Ideally we’d like people to be excited to come to a #BrewEd because they know it’ll be a fun and provoking day – not for the supposed twitter celebrity status of one or other of the contributors. We certainly want to ensure that every #BrewEd has voices from a range of sectors. If you’ve already secured two speakers from mainstream schooling why not approach someone who works in a PRU, or a special school. If you’ve got someone who teaches in an initial teacher training institution why not get an NQT to speak too. Remember it’s about breaking down silos and you’ll be ok.

It’s not always easy to figure out how to get a diverse range of voices. As teachers we tend to mostly have people from our own sectors in our networks – Primary people know primary people – researchers know researchers and so on. One interesting way to challenge this is to look at the list of speakers at   and see if any are based near you or might like to come along. Searching the hashtags #WomenEd, #LGBTedUK and @DisabilityEdUk will throw up lots of names of people who might be able to come and speak. Don’t be afraid to ask around – in our experience people are generally pleased to be asked and if they can’t help out they’ll usually put you in touch with someone who can.

5) What should they speak on?

Something they’re passionate about. Something that maybe isn’t clear cut. Something that will have a good chance of sparking a debate. Because we are hoping to attract a cross sector crowd, we are not looking for tips and tricks. Attendees aren’t looking to go home with a new teaching strategy they can try out in the classroom on Monday morning, much more they are looking for an idea which might challenge or change their professionalism long term.

6) How do you build in discussion?

A rough rule of thumb is that you want to leave as much time for debate as for presentation. So for each ‘slot’ I suggest half the time is presentation and half is discussion. This can work a few ways. If you give someone a half hour slot they could run that whole slot in a workshop style for half an hour – Jean-Louis Dutaut of Flip The System and Simon Smith do this really well – another presenter might give a tight fifteen minute presentation then field comments and questions for the remainder of the slot. Often whoever is MCing the day can do a great job by running the discussion after a speaker has given their presentation. So long as you agree what model is going to work with each presenter before they speak any of these can work well. Other ways might work too – so if you’re organising with a team you could divvy up the discussion facilitation.

7) What does a typical programme look like?

There has been a range of programme models but one that has worked for me a few times now looks like this.

10:30 venue open to participants, welcome drinks available.

11:25 Brief welcome from organiser/organising team

11:30 to 1:00 Three half hour presentation/discussion slots

1:00 to 1:45 Lunch

1:45 to 2:30 Longer slot

2:30 to 3:15 Pub Quiz

3:15 to 4:00 Panel (usually everyone who has presented and is still there plus a couple of interesting people from the audience.

4:00 Rounding off, Thankyous, prizes if you’re into that sort of thing, the rucksack of shite.

8) Pub Quiz?

yes, pub quiz. It’s fun, it breaks down barriers, people bond over pursuit of a shared goal, people have to get together to make a team so they talk to people they might not have talked to, it makes it feel less like work…. all sorts of reasons. Don’t make it too hard, you want most teams to get most questions right.

You could have:

a picture round, a music round, a sequences round, a movie round, subject knowledge for the national curriculum, questions about your town or city, a fun physical challenge, crisp tasting… whatever you like.

9) What’s the rucksack of shite?

I’m afraid that @HYWEL_ROBERTS has that copyrighted. If you haven’t seen it you’ll never know.

10) Who do I need to tell?

Let Daryn know you’re running a #BrewEd so he can add your event to the master list. He might be able to help you out with a nice graphic for your event courtesy of our pal Stan Dupp but we can’t guarantee that.

11) How do I sell tickets?

We’ve used eventbrite in the past and it’s never been to much of a problem. Other ticket selling sites exist and may well be better. Charge enough to cover your costs which shouldn’t be much more than the venue hire plus the ‘free drink on entry’ usually this ends up being about a fiver a head. When  your tickets all ready to go tell Daryn and Ed and we’ll help tweet it out there. When there’s a bit of hype ahead of the launch tickets can sell out in minutes which is gratifying. Do keep a waiting list as there is always a bit of a flurry in the last couple of weeks when people realise they’ve double booked themselves and tickets become available.

12) Any other questions just ask @MrEFinch or @darynSimon and we’ll do our best to help.

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