All Our Futures, Brazil 2013: Calling School Prinicipals, Senior School Students and Artists for a once in a life time opportunity!

All Our Futures is Aspire’s annual conference for international school principals, head teachers and senior educators and offers a unique knowledge transfer programme which encourages sharing of skills, expertise and wisdom of school leaders, head teachers and schools principals from across the worlds’ schools.

This year we are planning one of our most exciting programmes ever: a week-long programme experiencing the schools and cultural life of one of the world’s iconic cities: Rio De Janeiro in Brazil.  Produced alongside dedicated programmes for senior school students (the Chaperones programme) and artist educators (the Artists in Residence programme), All Our Futures, Brazil 2013 will be one of the most memorable educational and cultural experiences of the year.

All Our Futures: School Principals and Head teachers programme

We will show you world leading practices in inclusive education; inspiring teacher development programmes; exemplar faith schools; and thrilling international schools and extraordinary community education in some of the world’s poorest communities – all addressing, in their own way, to some of Brazil’s biggest economic, educational and social challenges.

We are delighted to be working with the following partner schools:

SESC High School
Colegio Cruzeiro
A Liessin Colegio Israelita Brasileiro
Colégio Notre Dame Ipanema.
Escola Nova
Instituto de Aplicacao Fernando Rodrigues da Silveira CAP-UERJ
Rede de Educacao Marcelinas Rio de janeiro -Colegio Santa Marcelina

who will be introducing your to their pedagogic practices and demonstrating their approaches to inclusive education, teaching and learning, school management systems and other fields of interest. Visits will include the opportunity to meet staff, observe lessons, meet students and share knowledge and experience of schools from other countries.

Chaperones: Student Cultural Exchange Programme

Chaperones is a fantastic programme of Inter-cultural learning for young people from contrasting backgrounds to learn about each other. With its rich history, iconic architecture and radical spirit, Rio de Janeiro provides the perfect backdrop for a creative educational programme.

Chaperones offers the opportunity to provide parties of up to 24 (20 young people aged between 14 and 18 years and 4 attached teachers) to participate in a one week Cultural Heritage programme cultural centres across Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Local schools offer hospitality to young international visitors to visit their young people and teachers. Visitors also participate in a series of placements with local cultural organisations such as Afroreggae and the museums and music venues in Lapa.

Visitors will also observe, participate and contribute to both the region’s heritage and by making contacts with local artists, teachers and cultural workers, ensure that links with students home countries are extended beyond the one week initial visit.

A full social programme will be provided for visiting students and accompanying teachers. This will include visits to local theatres, dance companies, films and of course the football teams!

Artist Educator Residencies

For artists, we are offering 5 day long residencies in a varity of settings which will enable them to develop their skills, expertise and contacts in a unique and unforgettable manner. We can offer residencies for visual artists, photographers, musicians, drama workers and story tellers and dancers.

Combining All Our Programmes!

Participants from both these additional programmes will also be involved in the first and last day of the All Our Futures programme with delegates on the main educational programme. If you would like further information about either of these programmes, please get in touch.


No visit to Rio de Janeiro would be complete without a visit to some of the worlds most memorable sites and our programme will offer you a full range of travel experiences to add to the learning and sharing that will take place.  These include:

Sugar Loaf + Corcovado

Corcovado: One of the Seven Wonders of the World. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is the largest and most famous Art Déco sculpure in the World.  It is also the most visited monument in Rio, situated at 710 meters (2,329 feet) above sea level on the top of Corcovado mountain. From there one can have a 360-degree view of the city.

Sugar Loaf  is at 396-meter (1,299 feet) high  from where you can have  panoramic views of Copacabana, Botafogo and Flamengo beaches, Rio-Niteroi bridge and Guanabara bay. Access to the Urca Hill is by cable-car. Unquestionably beautiful views. You can also experience a helicopter panoramic trip (additional costs apply).


The Favelas in Rio are lively residential areas, where a multitude of social activities, crafts, music and commerce take place. Besides the friendliness of its inhabitants, you will also be able to appreciate from above the most beautiful views of the city. The favelas in Rio are now safe places to visit with guided tours and recommended by many visitors.

Maracanã was once the biggest football stadium in the World, and  has now been partially rebuilt in preparation for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup,  the 2014 World Cup which will be the first one held in Brazil since 1950, and also the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

Sambódromo is the place where the famous Rio carnival parade takes place. We will endeavour to take you to a samba pavillion too, time permitting!

Historic / Cultural Tour: options of itinerary, may include: Rio City Centre – History and Architecture; Fort and Fortress;  17th century Saint Benedict Monastery’s Church (a gem of Brazilian religion art, Barrocco-style); Santa Tereza (Rio’s Bohemian borough) amongst others.

Beaches Chill-out: enjoy the sun, and the sea. Observe the Brazilian culture of socialising and keeping fit. We will take you as many places as the group wish travel. We can organise the trip to some secluded beaches.

Boat Trip in the Guanabara Bay: the same route taken in 1500 with the arrival of the Portuguese in Brazil. The beautiful city skyline can be enjoyed in all its details. A wonderful start to the day!

Best of Rio Van tour: in a single day we will be visiting: Tijuca Forest, Christ The Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, Maracanã, Sambódromo and the Metropolitan Catedral. Includes lunch at a Churrascaria (Barbecue house)  in Copacabana. A Perfect start!

Jeep Tour:  Tijuca Forest: Statue of Christ the Redeemer, climbing back into the woods. Lunch at the Meadow Grill located at the Jockey Club in Gávea! Morro da Urca and Sugar Loaf, climbing cable car. The view is thrilling! A Must See! Botanical Garden. Considered one of the most beautiful places of Rio,  housing the museum of  Tom Jobim, and  variety of flower plants.


Plataforma Show: The largest and most traditional spectacle of the authentic Brazilian folklore. The show tells the story of Brazil in rhythms, melodies, songs and dances. For nearly two-hour show, a cast of graceful dancers and talented percussionists perform the cultural origins of Brazilian popular music, a result of the mix of Portuguese, Indians and Africans. The show ends in a parade in rich costumes highlighting some important characters of national history.

Lapa: an authentic Brazilian night-out in the city centre of Rio. Mingle with the Brazilians and feel the beats of live-music everywhere. All cultures in one place. We will be taking you to one the best music bars, where you can indulge in food, a variety of drinks and music.

 Our excursions are produced with our travel partner, Vie Travel

Vie Travel is engaged in promoting language, knowledge exchange and cultural immersion to overseas students and international businesses. Vie is a specialist travel company, concentrating its services on the educational and knowledge sectors. We provide packages and services specially designed to promote learning, language and culture. Our bespoke services are based on exceptional local knowledge, helping those traveling with education and learning in mind.

In addition, Vie also offers the traditional travel assistance such as sales of airline tickets, accommodation and hospitality. From 15 July 2013, language packages will be available for on-line booking.

So… what are you waiting for?!  Just drop me an email if you’d like to know more:

Answering the questions of your 10 year old self: 500+ Reasons to be Cheerful at All Our Futures, Rio De Janeiro, October 2013

Reasons 53 –  83: Answering the questions of your 10 year old self

We go back to school and invariably revisit our youth and think why do we do what we do?  What would we do differently?  And what would we say to ourselves if we met ourselves in the playground?

If we’re working in education, we have the added questions of what does this practice tell us, are there ideas or approaches I can adapt? What would happen if?  What might happen if not?  We might alter our practice and question our stance – quite subtly though, and not necessarily in a way which would merit the attention of head teachers, inspectors or distant academics – but which might be noticed by the young lad sat in front of you, day on day, week on week.  He might notice a slight change of emphasis in your tone; the girl next to him may notice a slight momentary doubt creep into your voice when asserting something you think you have known true for years.  She will spot your Galileo moment when all that was constant is no longer so and the certainties you had before, are no longer quite as certain.

These are all useful, productive forms of educational transformation. Frequently off the authorities’ radar, their effects bring about life changing moments for your students, about which neither you nor them will know anything of for at least 30 years.

And what would you say to yourself if you met yourself in the playground 30 years ago? “Don’t worry.”  Would be a good start; although you may not listen to yourself.

More here on how you can bring about major educational transformation in the microscopic of ways here:

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Travelling 6000 miles away to find yourself at home: 500+ Reasons to be Cheerful at All Our Futures, Rio De Janeiro, October 2013

Reasons 84 – 584: Travelling 6000 miles away to find yourself at home

The maddening thing about travelling is forgetting the answer to the question you frequently ask yourself: why do you travel so far to do what you do at home? Before long, you eventually remember that travelling has little to do with leaving, as it is with finding, home.

It’s a powerful word ‘home’ and one you realise isn’t necessarily the village, town or country you grew up in; or the school or university you attended, or where the friends you made or the family you’re part of are located. It’s a combination of possibility, atmosphere and attitude that nudges you, where-ever you are, to recognising to yourself – ah yes, this is home: this is where I am tuned into, and this is what has tuned into me.

The concept that we are walking radio antennae has been ever present this week and the visit to Escola Sesc de Ensino Médio (SESC High School) in Jacarepaguá in Rio led to that oddest sensation of coming home to somewhere I have never been before and meeting people I have never met before: and yet, for a morning at least, this amazing campus became home.

To quote from its website:

“In February 2008, SESC High School opened its doors in Rio de Janeiro to a group of young enthusiastic residents from across the country. Those were teenagers aged 13-16 years who were given the opportunity to introduce an innovative experience in Brazil’s educational scenario: top-quality fulltime residential high school education.

This pioneering project was an initiative of Antonio Oliveira Santos, president of the National Commerce Confederation for Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC) and Social Service for Commerce (SESC) National Department, who saw the building of an educational community as an opportunity to educate children within a diversified environment, preparing them for both the job market and the exercise of leadership and citizenship.

He was clearly focused on: ‘Including Brazilian youngsters in the knowledge society with an emphasis on education for life.’”

Much web-speak is often only so much promotional media spin, cluttered up with clichés, cut-and-paste-thinking and as many graphics as the designer is encouraged to get away with. But in this instance, the SESC website reflects the reality and ambitions of its students, teachers and wider communities. We are looking forward to making it home for all our All Our Future delegates later this year.

More at

and here:

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Finding Faith: 500+ Reasons to be Cheerful at All Our Futures, Rio De Janeiro, October 2013

Reason 51 – 52: finding faith.

The significance of faith schools in Brazil demands you take a closer look at the very notion of faith itself than you might feel comfortable with in the confines of the familiar secular set up we have in the UK. But whether you agree with the principle of faith schools or not, there’s no getting away from it: education demands that the educator starts from a position of faith in the first place.

Whether this be the acts of faith that presupposes that young people will benefit from the actions of well meaning adults; that the teaching of knowledge, skills and wisdom can be learnt in a predictable way within the confines of a regulated and structured system of activities; or the belief that education has to be a force for the greater good all the time: these are all acts of faith that we as educators subscribe to in any educational venture.

We feel this regularly and intensely on the first day of any course or intake of new students: the day is marked with a surge of optimism, of possibility and of great things about to be achieved. Without these faith symbols, the actions of the educator are merely empty vessels of meaning; habits devoid of substance, intent or purpose.

And Brazil – with its social, economic and ecological challenges – is arguably one of the best places in the world to come and see how faith in education is being played out in the streets, the favelas and the mountains.

We’re especially looking forward to working with Colegio Santa Marcelina in October and seeing how they marry their world of faith, the world of the streets in their educational acts of faith. More at

More here too:

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Forgetting new words in surprisingly old ways: 500+ Reasons to be Cheerful at All Our Futures, Rio De Janeiro, October 2013

Reasons 38.5 – 50: Forgetting new words in surprisingly old ways.

Clearly, coming to Brazil is going to involve your engagement with the Portuguese language and over the last few days I have managed to up my vocabulary from a big fat zero words to a massive 12. These are, unsurprisingly, the words for school, fantastic, thanks, goodbye, congratulations, children, teacher, street, hotel, good morning and beer. One of these only counts as half a word as I keep forgetting it.

Whilst there are plenty of apps you can download on your phone to help you memorise key phrases, at All Our Futures you will have the benefit of dedicated translators who will be with you all the time so your vocabulary will no doubt increase at the rate of knots. By the end of this week I aim to have increased my word bank to at least 62.

The even better news is that one of our host schools – Colegio Notre Dame Ipanema – is highly skilled at teaching both Portuguese and English to its students and visitors. And yes – you did read ‘Ipanema’ in the title – so once the visit to the school is over, you will be easily able to hotfoot it down to the beach and imagine yourself singing that old favourite by Antônio Carlos Jobim with Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. But I bet Victor didn’t have problems forgetting his words.

More at

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Enlightening students by enlightened teachers: 500+ Reasons to be Cheerful at All Our Futures, Rio De Janeiro, October 2013

Reasons 11 – 38.5: Enlightening students by enlightened teachers

Some might say, what’s the point of travelling over 5000 miles to go and see schools? They’re all the same everywhere aren’t they? Well, yes, in as much they are populated by people and invariably are housed in something resembling a building: so yes, they’re all the same. Much like the flora and fauna across the planet are all the same in the way they have thing in common: they’re alive.

But what the reductionist misses is the fact that schools and those who inhabit them – teachers, young people, parents, school rabbits – make complex ecologies in their own rights, complete with their own characteristics, flavours and behaviours. Whilst their commonalities are gratifying – the vast majority of them want the best for their young people – their differences and diversity are reasons to celebrate the spirit of the endeavour to prepare for their – for our – futures.

So far this week, our visit to Escola Nova in the suburb of Gavea, has shown a school with huge spirit of internationalism; walls, doors and school furniture remind the pupil and the teacher of their ongoing connection to their neighbours across South America as well as further afield. A classroom named Israel sits next door to a classroom called Palestine. The UK classroom sits upstairs above the theatre-gym space and promises pupils insights to Manchester, Cornwall and Norfolk. The Science lab has an ingenious way of connecting pupils to the physical world we inhabit by using the natural rock of the hillside the school is built on as the fourth wall of the classroom. When it rains, the rain streams down the rock into a channel which takes the water away: possibly the only classroom in the world where rain inside in the school is embraced. More at

Equally intriguing is the Instituto de Aplicacao Fernando Rodrigues da Silveira CAP-UERJ, a school we visit later that day. Occupying some very unprepossessing building space, we hear that this is one of only two schools where research is a fundamental aspect of the teachers role: so much so that over 38% of teaching staff have PhDs. And this isn’t a result of unemployed doctoral students looking for work but a conscious policy by the school to keep offering their staff high quality on the job development. As a result, staff are infused with the importance of research and connecting this research to the work of the classroom. And given they teach both at the university and the school, they see themselves as both school teachers and university lecturers simultaneously: with the consequence that their pupils become both school pupils and university students – albeit from the age of 6 upwards. And the results of this enlightened policy of staff development is that the school is one of the highest achieving schools in Brazil – in an area which has huge levels of poverty and social exclusions to boot. More at

So yes, all schools are the same in one way: but their differences are something to inspire and to teach us all, wherever we work.

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Radical Sport, Communities and Education: 500+ Reasons to be Cheerful at All Our Futures, Rio De Janeiro, October 2013

Reasons 5 – 10: radical sports, radical communities, radical education

An inspiring visit today to meet Bernard Rangel at the Complexo Esportivo da Rocinha, located next to its neighbouring favela of Rocinha. Home of swimming, radical sports, futsal (a football style which is one reason Brazil is the best in the world) and judo, the complex draws its communities across the neighbouring Oscar Niemeyer bridge out of the favela to improve their sporting prowess, their health and and community. The kids can also get their teeth improved into the bargain through the mobile dental unit. More at

The walk across the bridge into the favela leads to a chance meeting with DJ Zezinho, a local DJ who runs Rocinha Media School and DJ workshops for local kids – all using CDs and memory sticks as vinyl out here is way too expensive. So if you have any old 12” vinyl that could do with another outing on the turntables of Rocinha, please get in touch with him at: (he also organises tours of the favela too).

We’re talking with Bernard and his colleagues about presenting at All Our Futures and organising a visit to him and the favela for delegates who want to learn more about the ongoing Olympic support of community and radical sports in the city. More at

And finally: a completely new take (to me at least) on gyms, health and fitness for office workers: Laboral Gym. More at
The mind and body boggles.

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Finding Your Dancing Hips: 500+ Reasons to be Cheerful at All Our Futures, Rio De Janeiro, October 2013

All Our Futures, Rio is our next international conference for educators set in this iconic Brazilian city. This week involves visits to schools, educational and cultural partners – and some potentially awesome guests – who will be contributing to the event in October.

Reasons 1 – 4: Finding Your Dancing Hips

I started the week in the spirit which I hope will encapsulate the whole programme – a visit to the Rio Scenarium, a four floor emporium of bars, classic antiques, music and dancing opportunities for anyone and everyone. Couples of all ages swung, grooved, shook their stuff and mamba-ed and samba-ed and bossa-ed the night away. Its an old cliché to say that Brazilians have rhythm coursing their veins, but tonight saw hundreds of night-outers dance their way along the streets, in and out of the bars and along to the early morning. So if you can make it to our October conference – remember to bring your dancing hips. (I left mine at home, sorry to say – but that’s white English men of a certain age for you.)

Ana Chapman Fromm, our travel partner from VIE Educational Travel is spending the week introducing us to colleagues, family and friends who will no doubt make a great contribution to the programme. More reasons to follow!

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Calling teachers interested in educational and cultural exchange in Brazil

Over the last two years, Aspire has organised international conferences for Principals and Head teachers from Bulgaria, India, Nigeria and the UAE to visit UK schools. We have also produced student exchange programmes for students from Nigeria, Serbia and Macedonia.

These events have been very powerful in establishing links between UK and overseas schools, developing educational exchanges, facilitating visits between partner schools and offering unique insights into our mutual educational cultures.

This year we are planning a similar conference in Brazil in conjunction with schools and universities there. To set up those programmes, I have been invited to visit schools in Rio de Janeiro between 20 and 28 May to participate in a trade and culture mission with schools, the University, teachers and other colleagues. More information is available at

If you would like your school to benefit from my visit – e.g. by making links with schools, connections with head teachers and pupils, curriculum developments, CPD opportunities or other possibilities – then please get in touch to discuss how I could facilitate connections and exchanges between those schools and your own. I can be contacted at

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