#LondonEd 2020 Thoughts

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Today’s LondonEd 2020 was filled with many thought-provoking presentations and discussions, all of which will be made available for those who couldn’t attend next week. By no means did I visit each presentation or seminar nor did I talk with every delegate, but these are some of the themes I’ve taken away which will certainly feed my interest and hopefully inform and improve my and my colleagues’ teaching practice. If I had to choose one topic which I felt was trending across several platforms, it would be teacher development and CPD. None of these bullets are attributed to their source, and there’s no structure, just a stream of my consciousness before the memories fade.

  • In 2020, the importance of a research-led and well informed profession to support teaching which has the most impact on outcomes for all children (Becky Francis, CEO Education Endowment Foundation – not verbatim but that was the general thread of her keynote speech).
  • After such an intense training period at the start of their careers, teachers are never given the opportunity to continue and build on this learning.
  • Such an obvious thing to say, but one real problem is simply finding quality time to talk with one’s colleagues. Some of the most insightful conversations I can remember have been on the train home with colleagues.
  • Why on earth do so many primary school children have to wear ties!
  • How many practitioners are aware of the huge impact  cognitive psychology/science and schema learning concepts can make to their pedagogies?
  • Although all professional  bodies share pretty similar deliverables, they just aren’t working together in a joined up way. This includes the EEF, Chartered College, BERA, DfE, Ofsted, subject associations etc.
  • The benefits of quizzing/low stakes quizzing came up in several discussions from maths to music.
  • Practitioner self reflecting, including informal classroom action research projects, can be a great way to start following an evidence based approach to improving teaching practice.
  • Still a tendency amongst some teachers to follow their own gut feelings rather than be led by evidence. As Cat Scutt from The Chartered College observed: you wouldn’t expect a medical practitioner to prescribe treatment on a personal hunch.
  • On the medical analogy again, UK doctors have to complete 50 hours CPD each year, which can be self led or through conference/seminar attendance. Shouldn’t the teaching profession aspire to a similarly ambitious programme?
  • Too much CPD is school-led and insular and needs to be supported by external contributions.
  • Teacher retention has little to do with money and much more to do with workload. However the evidence suggests that where CPD provision is improved, retention rates improve, though of course correlation, as we all now know, doesn’t imply causation.
  • Excluding children from school in PRUs or alternate provision is just as much a societal problem as an educational one.
  • 1 in 200 school children end up being excluded. The impact of that on society?1 out of 2 prisoners were excluded when in school. Literacy rates amongst prisoners are also much lower than the general population. If everybody is literate, statistically speaking we’d have no need for incarceration. 
  • Disturbing evidence that some of the adverse experiences children with ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) suffer is actually in the school environment through uninformed treatment and management of behaviour.
  • Working towards the goal where non exclusion of children is the pinnacle of the teaching profession.
  • One quick win for teacher development (which not enough schools practise) is simply observing their colleagues in a non judgemental way.
  • Cultural capital but which culture are we favouring? For too many “cultural” seems to mean “white middle class” at the exclusion of other cultures
  • Building relationships is always a nice uplifting way to end things

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