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Highgate School, and children's mental health charity, Place2Be, have partnered to launch The Developing Teenager, a teachers’ conference which will draw together speakers with a wealth of knowledge and experience. The world we live in today is ever changing; behaviour patterns and advancements in technology all have an impact on the personal development of our young people.


The speakers will present a range of current research findings and their implications on the teenage years, as well as what can be done within the school setting to support the healthy development of teenagers:

  • Dr Christian Jessen will be exploring the challenge of body image for teenagers today, focusing on the rise in eating disorders, fitness addiction, and body image issues, especially among adolescent boys. 
  • Gemma Curtis, Head of Education at Diversity Role Models, will lead a discussion on whether sexuality is no longer binary, speaking specifically about how many teenagers do not identify with traditional stereotypes.
  • Dr Ashley Miller, Clinical Psychologist at Gender Identity Development Services, will talk about gender identity, and how schools can ensure their pupils feel safe and supported, as well as broader emerging themes related to gender identity.

Other scheduled speakers at the conference include:

  • Dr Fiona Pienaar, Director of Clinical Services at Place2Be.
  • Mandy Saligari, Clinical Director of Charter Harley Street.
  • Dr Emma Silver, consultant clinical psychologist at the Brandon centre and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Dr Richard Graham, Technology Addiction Lead at Nightingale Hospital.


Adam Pettitt, Head at Highgate School, will be opening the conference with a talk on why we need to know about our developing teenagers and will moderate a panel discussion on the challenges in adolescence. He said:

“At Highgate, we work hard to put our pupils’ emotional growth and wellbeing at the heart of their education. Adolescence, and the need to carve out an identity, leave younger people more exposed to anxieties about one's worth and usefulness, and as a school we help our pupils deal with the huge changes that the teenage years bring. Key to this process is informing all those involved in education about changes and developments, about what works well so as to better to support young people. We want this conference, and the opportunity to hear from and to quiz experts, to make the adolescent’s world an even better one. We want this conference to inform educationalists within our 43 partner state schools and other schools across the country, helping to support young people in meeting the challenges of adolescence.”


Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be, co-organisers of the conference, said:

“Adolescence is a challenging time for some young people, and in today’s fast-paced world it can feel difficult to keep up with all the issues affecting teenagers’ wellbeing. Teachers are at the frontline when it comes to noticing and supporting young people’s wellbeing and can often provide a lifeline for pupils who might be struggling, so we’re delighted to be part of this conference which will help school staff feel confident that they give pupils the best possible support.”

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

The Developing Teenager is open to educationalists from the state and private sector and is not open to parents or students. The conference will be taking place at Highgate School on 6th June.


For a full schedule and to register your interest click here

For further information, please contact 020 7618 9174 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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