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7th June 2017: This week, Highgate joined forces with children's mental health charity, Place2Be, to host The Developing Teenager, a teachers’ conference featuring leading experts in the field of adolescent development.

The one-day conference brought together educationalists from across the country to learn from speakers who have a wealth of knowledge and experience, providing current research finding and their implications on the teenage years, as well as what can be done within the school setting to support the healthy development of our pupils.

Speakers included:

  • Dr Emma Silver, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, The Brandon Centre.
  • Dr Fiona Pienaar, Director of Clinical Services, Place2Be.
  • Gemma Curtis, Head of Education, Diversity Role Models.
  • Dr Ashley Miller, Clinical Psychologist, Gender Identity Development Services.
  • Dr Christian Jessen, Health Campaigner.
  • Mandy Saligari, Clinical Director of Charter Harley Street.
  • Dr Richard Graham, Technology Addiction Lead at Nightingale Hospital.

Adam Pettitt, Head at Highgate, opened the conference with a talk on why we need to know about our developing teenagers. He said:

“Given that schools make some of the best improvements to their support practices when something goes wrong, it’s difficult not to respond to sharp trends in adolescent development, be these in fields of tech addiction, eating disorders or gender identity to name but three. But not understanding the wider neurological and clinical backdrop is dangerous: much of what schools need to do will be about proportion and balance as much as about bold and new thinking. And that’s really the answer to why we’re holding this conference: gathering experts together to talk to teachers, to answer questions, to set up relationships, people to people, institution to institution, not so that we seek to become experts but so we can re-orient and equip ourselves, to better frame solutions for the developing teenager.”


Key themes for the day included the impact of relationships in the teen years; what schools need to be aware of with gender identity; the rise in popularity of party drugs and legal highs; and whether technology is a new addiction.

Our thanks go to the speakers and moderators as well as to attendees from schools across the UK and further afield.


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