Festival of Education 2018

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Wellington College


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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How can we celebrate teaching, stay connected and disseminate the latest research?

On Friday 22nd June, I attended the Festival of Education at Wellington College for the very first time. I have known about the conference for several years, but in the past I have been unable to attend for various reasons. I am delighted I finally got to attend and flattered that I was asked to present.

I shared a presentation on stage at the Christopher Lee Theatre building, inside Wellington College; a British co-educational day and boarding independent school in the village of Crowthorne, Berkshire. What a spectacular location to immerse yourself in teaching and learning. There was even ice-cream!

Reducing Workload

The first part of my presentation covers the latest research and reasons for teachers leaving the profession. I sampled the audience with a live poll. Each time I do this across the U.K. it affirms what I’ve always known. Teachers everywhere cite ‘marking as their greatest workload burden. You will also be surprised how many schools are grading teachers marking!

Increasing Impact

In the second half I shared how schools can avoid being punished by external forces; including a range of teaching and learning ideas and resources to download (see below). It was lovely to receive a wide range of feedback from people in the room, during and after the session. It is always reassuring to know that my ideas are well-received and are helping 1,000s of others across the country. Thank you for this feedback.

Resource Download

Reduce Workload, Increase Impact

Thank you to the ~150 colleagues who came along to my session; Reducing Workload, Increasing Impact. As promised, you can access all of the resources shared from the 40 minutes we spent together.

Stay Connected

Throughout the remainder of the day, I had an opportunity to walk around the school grounds, talking with Julian Thomas, Master of Wellington College inside the Master’s Lodge; mingle with other teachers, speakers and guests. Overall, the day was a great opportunity to be immersed in the latest educational thinking across England and beyond.

Although it will be difficult for teachers and school leaders to get out of school during the working week, and I know budgets are stretched and key examinations and over, but this is a day I would strongly advocate attending, even if just one member of staff visits and then disseminates the information to others in a staff briefing or training session. It’s well worth staying connected.

The Festival of Education is highly recommended; get the dates in your diary – 20th-21st June 2019.

11 thoughts on “Festival of Education 2018

  1. Few really understand the true reason for a “Mission Statement”. I believe if more did then we would not have as many ‘initiatives’, imposed strategies or other activities that distract the education system (and therefore teachers) from its primary role. If your mission statement makes the bold declaration to “Promote teaching/learning relationships and through them prepare people for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in their lives” then all that you dod is driven or should be, by one and only one aim – to fulfil your mission statement. By doing so you are left with a simple decision to make based on one question – “Is what I am being asked to do or proposing to do going to a) promote teaching and learning relationships and b) prepare our students for the opportunities and challenges they will face? If it does – DO IT, if not DON’T DO IT. I realise it’s not always a case of ‘black and white’ so in such cases SUBVERT whatever it is so that it does meet the mission statement. The mission statement is your compass, check it often.

  2. Hi Kevin
    Absolutely agree with you. It requires a leader to role model this thinking for the rest of their school team to give them permission to say no. Checking the compass often means making it part of every decision taken, every piece of feedback shared and every communication issued. Sadly (and this isn’t just in schools) the Mission Statement is often something for the wall rather than every day. It should be what makes YOU stand out.

  3. I think we have a movement!

    I would only add that the mission statement should be based on shared values – probably implicit in what you are referring to Kevin. Power to the people …. or the lone nuts!!

    See Derek Sivers: https://youtu.be/fW8amMCVAJQ

  4. Yes indeed – I’ve seen that video used before and it’s a powerful message. We talk a lot about building vision into everyday activities. I’m running a session for school leaders about it in October: https://www.integritycoaching.co.uk/conference-talks. I would be very happy to start this movement with a phone / video call if you are both interested?

  5. So 3!
    Thanks for resurrecting the video Derek, I had ‘lost’ it. No mention that the ‘nut’ is on a hillside and at an event where his actions are tolerated. This is key – find your hill and the right environment before you express your ideas to others or it can be a lonely ‘dance’ rather than a movement. I have come to the conclusion that I need to collaborate in order to survive or at least facilitate my exploration, stimulate my insights and my idea generation.

  6. Ah …. context. That old chestnut!

    I believe the first year of headship was spent close to said hill but the action was not tolerated. Mainly down to context. To explain, the school had a particularly rough ride with Ofsted and the LA and was using the PRU as a dumping ground for extremely challenging (SEMH and young offenders) YP. My challenge was to convince them of two things only, to begin with. Firstly, how bloody good they were (without having ever been told it – previously led by office hiding bully and continual interims) and secondly, how the vision was OURS to build and nobody else’s (unless asked).

    Visioning is so, so critical and I was extraordinarily lucky to have a brilliant network of PRU headteachers to support and mentor me through the toughest patches and ALL the local mainstream heads – a rarity in the world of PRU’s!

    I would be happy to contribute and collaborate Justin and note you’re with Integrity Coaching which means Viv Grant I assume? Bumped into her fleetingly and heard her keynote at Magna Carta School last year. Please pass on my regards.

  7. Yes @bocks1 I’m speaking at Viv’s event in October. I can’t see any contact details for you so would you mind dropping me a line through the website fit2communicate.com and I’ll get back to you that way? I’ve set up a chat with Kevin so would be good to have you join if possible.

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