At Mercia Learning Trust, we understand the value of gathering all staff from across the Trust together on an annual basis. This is why we offer all trust staff an annual INSET day of bespoke CPD and the chance to work collaboratively across the Trust.
In 2019, our annual conference was born, hosted at the wonderful Crucible theatre, with Tom Sherrington as keynote speaker.
In February 2020, we built on the success of the first conference, this time featuring Tom Bennett as keynote. Working closely with our friends at Sheffield Theatres, the event was held at the Lyceum theatre, and later at Sheffield Hallam University.
In February 2021, our conference went virtual! MLTogether EdCon2021: Momentum focussed on the continued development of our fantastic staff, with 4 high profile keynote speakers booked for the day. We only wanted the best for the event, so heard from education research greats: David Didau, Dylan Wiliam, Mary Myatt and Marc Rowland. Staff had the opportunity to hear from these gurus of educational research, then take part in live Q&A sessions.
A deeply thought-provoking and enjoyable day to reflect, learn and hone what is at the heart of what we do as teachers every day.
Topics covered included:
- Curriculum Development
- Embedding Formative Assessment
- Building a Reading Culture
- Intelligent Accountability
- Making Meaning in English
- Teacher Quality
- Culture in Schools
- Embedding Challenge & Ambition
- Improving Outcomes for Disadvantaged Learners
- Evaluating & Iterating the Curriculum
One of the highlights of the day was the premiering of our annual student and staff performance. Take a look below...
In February 2022 the trust was still dealing with the impact of COVID on large-scale gatherings, so we provided a hybrid event for our classroom-based staff.
As with previous conferences we secured the services of leading educationalists in this field, and best practice from within our own trust to lead and inform our thinking. Nick Whittaker (former HMI and Specialist Adviser, SEND) shared the research that underpins the Ofsted framework. David Bartram OBE (Former SEND lead for London schools and DFE advisor) shared his thoughts on best practice relating to SEND, and Sally Franklin (Former Senior Teaching Fellow at the Institute for Education, UCL & SEND consultant) worked exclusively with our education support staff.
We spent the afternoon exploring the following questions:
1. Do we fully understand the needs of these children, the agreed strategies and plans designed to help them?
2. Do we know about their often complex backgrounds to better understand their individual challenges?
3. Is the curriculum designed to meet their needs? Do we understand the impact of covid, but also are our expectations ambitious enough?
4. Are we deploying other adults effectively in classrooms? This may be so that the class teacher can spend more time with the neediest?
5. Do we acknowledge that the solution for success for these children will substantially take place in our classroom?
6. In what ways does our practice need to improve?
The day was a fantastic success, and we were really pleased to have the whole team together again. Staff came away feeling they'd learnt a lot, had a good chance to reflect on their own practice, and made connections with other team members from across the trust.
As the trust grows stronger, so does our annual staff conference. We are looking forward to February 2023 when we plan to offer our staff access to wide-ranging CPD in the form of internationally-renowned educational speakers, bespoke workshops, 'think-tanks' and the opportunity to work collaboratively across the schools.
Watch this space!