Sunday, 10 July 2016

ResearchEd 2016

When I logged into blogger today I realised it's been nearly a year since I last wrote anything - a year in which I have learnt an incredible amount, faced seemingly endless challenge and (hopefully!) settled at my amazing new school.

I went to ResearchEd 2016 at Huntington School yesterday and feel sufficiently inspired to throw together a few thoughts on it (I'm hoping to put something more coherent together about what an incredible event it was but it might need to wait until the Summer...)

What I really wanted to share was the shift in my thinking that happened as I listened to Baroness Estelle Morris give one of the keynote speeches. With her words of wisdom I think she may well have just become my new education idol. The key idea I took away was 'tell me what works' - how can we build a bridge between the teaching and research communities? She discussed how it has taken 25 years for the thinking behind what make a school great to shift from being focused on good leadership (obviously still important today) to good classroom practice and the notion that everyone can teach better, and abandoning the idea that good teachers are born and not made. I also liked the way she spoke about structural change not necessarily leading to higher classroom standards, but that better teaching certainly would. 

With the shift towards academies and multiacademy trusts I also found her views on how the system now works in the absence of local authorities interesting. She spoke of the LAs as a middle man, now removed, which therefore allows the other two players (the government and schools) to set the agenda. If we don't like the government agenda then we have to take charge as schools and lead the way with the changes that we hope will remove the barriers that young people face and strive for social justice. Regardless of how you feel about academisation and the like I think that this may have led to a genuine change in my view on how we should move forward in education. A pretty powerful way to start your Saturday morning really. (I certainly don't think she was advocating it - see her views on the white paper in the Guardian here: 

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