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DfE Remote Education Conference

Department for Education, Digital and Remote Education Strategy

Virtual event


At the start of the pandemic, when schools closed and online learning became the norm, the Department for Education decided to host an online event providing support, advice and guidance on remote education to school leaders across the country.  

The event would be broadcast to 25,000 school leaders of which around 2,000 were expected to attend live, with the remaining watching on demand at a time that suited them. The 2.5-hour programme was designed in 4 specific themes with a total of 11 presenters all producing their own content which would be top and tailed with a host presenter. 


The initial contact was received on 18 January 2021 to devise, organise and deliver two online conferences the first of which would be hosted on 27 January followed by the second a week later on 3 February. 

With just over a week to understand the key parameters of the project, the content to be used in the conference and the participants, time to develop a solution was the key challenge. 

Blackberry Events - Meet The Team


Creation of branded DfE event page to stream pre-recorded content as live from 4-6pm. Four sessions were pre-recorded by 11 presenters and a facilitator to open and close the event. Presentation recordings were submitted to us, allowing us to assemble the four sessions and ensure event flow with addition of branded title graphics.

An on demand version of the event was required to be available within 30 minutes of end of event and available until mid-February. Downloadable pdfs and links to additional video content were also available. Questions could be submitted to the client team during the event/post event via the bespoke event page.


18th January - The brief landed on our desks.

20th January - The registration page was designed, tested and live within 48 Hours

22nd January – All 11 pre-recorded sessions were received, branded and edited 

25th January – Promotion went live and 25,000 school leaders were emailed a link to our bespoke webpage

26th January - Chairs input received

27th January - DfE Special Adviser clearance received at 11am and event broadcast live at 4pm.

For us, this was probably one of the tightest turn around times for such a high profile event but our fantastic team put their heads down, worked around the clock and got the event signed off with 5 hours to spare (if you work in events you’ll know 5 hours is not a bad amount of time, we’ve had sign off in less!). 

The event ran smoothly, the client was thrilled and we ticked our first fully virtual event off our checklist (if only we knew the number of virtual events to come…)

Blackberry Events - Meet The Team
Blackberry Events - Meet The Team
Blackberry Events - Meet The Team
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I hope you’re all basking in the glory of a successful event yesterday! We managed to get over 1,200 teachers at the live event but anticipate that reach will continue to creep up as folk tap into the on-demand recordings.  I’ll keep you updated, but wanted to say the teams here were thrilled, so thank you once again.

Gemma Payne, DfE, Digital and Remote Education Strategy