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We are looking forward to hearing the latest in research in history of education at the annual conference in Limerick this weekend. As is our custom the AGM will also be held at the conference where I will report on the activities of the Society over the past year and we have the opportunity to discuss future directions for the field and the Society.

For those of you who are not able to attend the conference here is a short summary of some highlights from the last year and an overview of a recent conversations, in real time and on twitter on recent developments in our field. Our challenge is to think how the Society can address some of those challenges and opportunities.

Over the year HES (UK) has supported postgraduates with bursaries to attend ISCHE and the annual Society conference. We continue to co-fund the European Summer School that will take place in Liverpool in 2019. We have a new postgraduate sub-committee who are planning a student conference in May 2019 and who are organising the pg session at the conference. Two internships for early career researchers were jointly funded in a new initiative between the Society and the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. We see this as a model for future collaboration and would be interested to hear of other groups who might be interested in promoting internships with the Society.

As president I represented the Society at ISCHE, ECER, BERA and the Children’s History Society conference. At ISCHE I attended the presidents’ meeting where we have the opportunity to share successes and challenges facing history of education across the world. The good news is that the field is thriving. Less happy news is that the constraint felt in higher education globally is affecting funding and employment prospects. This means that in many cases historians of education are isolated or working in very small research groups. Input from recent online conversations (follow the thread on #histedmonth) confirms that we should look to ways of increasing collaboration nationally and internationally with related fields. Many members of HES have links with other societies where perhaps joint conferences or seminars might yield fruitful new research. The Executive of the Society is keen to hear from members how we might facilitate further developments in the field so that we can fulfil our stated aims. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Executive is keeping a close eye on REF 2021. We were unsuccessful in two nominations to the UoA panel, but our nominations remain ‘in the pool’ for future consideration in 2020. We will also be making further nominations at that time. After discussion at the executive meeting in September we sent a full response to the REF consultation in October. We continue to do all we can to ensure that our field is properly represented.

Stephanie Spencer