The inaugural #EducatEd2015 conference took place on 3rd July 2015 at Oriel High School, Crawley, West Sussex. With over 220 people in attendance the event was a thought provoking and inspiring way to finish a busy academic year! The theme of the conference was “The power of collaborative and reflective professional learning.” The keynotes and workshops shared a strong pedagogical focus allowing delegates and presenters alike to learn from each other and to broaden professional networks further.
The rapid improvement of teachers during the first three years of their career will provide no surprises to anyone who works in a school. However the number of teachers leaving the profession after their third year of teaching and the number of teachers who stay but are working in schools where the conditions are such that continuing professional learning is not deemed a high priority needs to be addressed. The external pressures that cause this are probably best debated in an alternative forum BUT the effective leadership of continuing professional learning has been shown to have a significant and sustained impact upon student outcomes. Kraft, M.A. & Papay, J.P. (in press). Do supportive professional environments promote teacher development? Explaining heterogeneity in returns to teaching experience. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
In David Weston’s keynote he shared that teachers who work in an environment where continuing professional learning is prioritised highly continue to improve throughout the rest of their career, in stark contrast to those working in an environment where the continuing professional learning of staff is not seen as a priority – the impact of staff upon student outcomes who are more experienced flatlined after approximately three years. The positive contribution that teachers who continue to develop professionally make to the thousands of students they work with, not to mention the influence they exert over new entrants to the teaching profession is priceless. Knowing this information and then acting upon it is a vital action for school leaders across the country to ensure sustainable school improvement. His slides are available here.
If this is the case why has more attention not been focused on this area of school development?
In a time and culture of immediate gratification; instant coffee / buy now pay later / OFSTED “improvement” plans, it might be hypothesised that a plan that will take some time to bear fruit just does not culturally fit. The time is now right for schools to start taking steps to ensure that the continual professional learning of staff is seen as the highest priority; this is what #EducatEd2015 was trying to achieve by placing continual professional learning at the heart of school improvement.
Graham Newell of IRIS Connect posed the question: how can we improve andragogy? The almost exclusive focus on pedagogy in schools over recent years is part of the reason for the gaps in continual professional learning opportunities. The value of the professional network both within and across schools was explored, as was the impact of peer feedback upon daily teaching practices. In a surplus model of school improvement the value and power of peer feedback is priceless. The exciting thing is that this opportunity is available to anyone with access to an IRIS connect camera!
Ensuring that actions start from a sound evidence base was the fascinating and thought provoking starting point of the day with Philippa Cordingley, CEO of CUREE Use of effective research evidence is vital in ensuring that the outcomes that students achieve as a result of our teaching are maximised and that valuable time and energy is not wasted on undertaking the wrong thing or even worse doing something that keeps students busy but does not bring about the desired improvements. Philippa presented case study research that demonstrated the impact of close case analysis and the impact of the implementation of evidence based intervention as well as the importance of building cultural capital within a student body. Her slides can be found here
Stephen Tall, Director of Development at the EEF continued the theme of using a strong evidence base upon which to base action. He proposed that an attainment gap exists in all schools and that in an increasingly accountable yet autonomous system combined with a bleak economic picture we should do more with less. To achieve this and get the most from our money we should make use of evidence to inform impactful action. Stephen’s explanation of how to make the best use of the EEF toolkit and a glimpse into the work that is undertaken was enlightening. I urge you to review his slides, available here.
The narrowing of the attainment gap continues to be a key national agenda. Helen Everitt and Ryan Sallows shared the work that has been undertaken at Oriel High School to try to address this issue. Their presentation can be found here. You can hear more from Helen and Ryan speaking on this issue at the SecEd event, http://www.pupilpremiumconference.com/home
Harry Fletcher Wood posed the question, “What does great teaching look like in context?” He shared his experiences of working with Teach First, particularly the findings from videoing a large number of Teach First trainee’s lessons and the valuable Spotlight resource that he is creating for the benefit of the wider teaching community https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/what-we-do/developing-leaders-schools-0/learning-our-teachers
Go4schools shared many of the innovative features of their platform. The ability for teachers to accurately interrogate data quickly and efficiently is vital in the modern educational setting as it allows early interventions to be pinpointed where they are needed most, ensuring that those students who start to fall behind are supported to catch up. The workshops that concentrated on developing the ability of teachers to engage with data were particularly well received.
The ability for teachers to be able to coach their colleagues is a core skill for collaborative and sustainable school improvement. However the development of these skills requires work and a suitable toolkit for experienced teachers to be able to draw upon. Before coaching others it is important for teachers to have an individual toolkit that they can draw upon to ensure that learning in their individual classrooms is as efficient and purposeful as possible. Mike Fleetham shared ‘Smart Tools for Thinking & Learning‘ and ‘The Leadership of Learning through Coaching‘. All these invaluable resources are available on the conference website: http://educatedcpd.com
The Prince’s Teaching Institute delivered workshops on Leadership and gave invaluable advice to newly qualified colleagues about how to survive and thrive in the first year of teaching. delegates that attended the Leadership workshop found themselves challenged to think bout their own practices and how they could influence the practices of those around them for the benefit of the students they are working with. As delegates were leaving the NQT workshop at the end of a busy day there was a palpable buzz of excitement about undertaking the challenges of a first year as a fully qualified teacher. Many of these colleagues have also chosen to undertake further professional learning by attending subject specific knowledge enhancement days for early career teachers. More information on these courses can be found here http://www.princes-ti.org.uk/what-we-do/new-teacher-subject-days
The vast array of practitioner led workshops were very well received. Particularly well attended were the workshops about RAG marking and the Teacher Development Trust discussing evaluating the impact of CPD. Delegates consistently praised the quality and diversity of the practitioner workshops “It was great to see and hear so many different people sharing strategies that are working for them in their classrooms.”
#EducatEd2016 will take place on 1st July 2016, but bigger and better than #EducatEd2015! In response to feedback from delegates and presenters the format will be slightly tweaked for next year; there will be a series of 20 minute ‘EducatEd’ talks complimented by a wide range of workshops suitable for all. The ability for delegates to create their own personalised professional learning experience at the point of booking will remain, alongside the wide range of current practitioners sharing what is working for them in their classrooms. The conference is aimed at teachers at any stage of their career from ITT through to Headteacher. Alongside the main conference program there will be an education expo featuring market leading companies demonstrating innovative tools and resources for all educational settings.
The theme of #EducatEd2016 is: ‘Towards a sustainable, self-improving school system’
The aims of the conference are:
- To allow teachers to explore how a sustainable self improving school system might be created and the attributes that might allow this vision to become a reality.
- To facilitate best value continual professional learning to allow teachers to continue to develop as practitioners throughout their entire career.
- To support the creation of a professional network that allows teachers to collaborate and solve the problems they face when trying to continually improve student outcomes.
- To provide an opportunity for teachers to share and engage with other teachers to support in the development of exemplary practice.
The final line up of #EducatEd2016 speakers is still to be fully confirmed but I am excited to confirm Professor Pete Dudley, Professor Becky Taylor, Mike Fleetham, Elizabeth Allen CBE of The Princes Teaching Institute, Keven Bartle, Dr Brian Marsh, John Carr and Christophe Mullings as contributing to the program. I am excited by the range and quality of the speakers and workshop leads that have chosen to commit to the event already; it certainly promises to be an informative day – save the date!
For more details or to book for #EducatEd2016 on 1st July 2016 please visit: www.educatedcpd.com
To find out more about #EducatEd2016 or for regular updates search the hashtag #EducatEd2016 on Twitter or follow @educatedcpd; for information about last year’s conference search the hashtag #Educated2015 on Twitter.
If you are interested in bringing larger groups of delegates or are interesting in commercially partnering with #EducatEd2016 please contact Tim Matthews; firstname.lastname@example.org