Important Update: COVID-19 & Cancellation of BESA Conference

Firstly, we want to wish all the best in these uncertain and challenging times as a result of COVID-19. Professionally, many of you will be grappling with the implications of having to immediately pivot into online provision, which is no small task. When this is coupled with: the inevitable pastoral support that learners require in the current climate; trying to work out what to do with assessment; and grappling with your own personal issues – the ‘unprecedented’ label that is currently being used does seem to neatly fit with the situation we all find ourselves in.

The BESA executive committee have also been grappling with a decision on what to do about the upcoming conference this year. After some discussion and an executive committee vote, we have decided to cancel the conference and we will look to arrange a new conference in summer 2021. As it has become increasingly obvious that it will be impossible to run the conference on its original date, the choice deliberated has been to either cancel or postpone until later this year. Given that there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to when social distancing protocols will be lifted – reinforced by the recent announcement from the deputy chief medical officer that it could be up to 6 months – it is not possible to make plans for a delayed conference. Even if we do find ourselves in a situation where these protocols are lifted sooner rather than later, it is likely that many will find attendance difficult, due to the problems that will need to be addressed when work solidifies around a new set of educational realities.

We have already contacted those who have submitted a conference paper individually by email, and you are encouraged to get in touch by reply should you have any queries or concerns. Our intention is that anyone who has submitted a paper for conference this year that we have accepted, will have this acceptance carried over to the summer 2021 conference. If we have already got back to you with amendments for a submitted abstract, then you will also be able to work on these amendments for acceptance at the 2021 conference.

In line with the above, if you have registered for the conference this year, we would also like to carry over this registration. If you would like to further discuss this and other possible options, please email:

Finally – stay safe in the weeks and months to come, and we will be looking at other ways that we can support you with the difficult times that are on the horizon. As an education community, there would seem to be a need for an association such as ours to voice some of the professional stories that are beginning to emerge as a result of the crisis. We hope to communicate to you again soon regarding this, when we have had a chance to discuss how this could be best enabled by BESA.

Best Wishes
– The BESA Executive Committee