A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 16 November 2017

E-ACT’s first ever National INSET day was held on Monday 13 November, with staff from across the trust attending dozens of training sessions at E-ACT academies all over the country.

E-ACT staff will take part in one National and two regional INSET days per academic year in addition to the academy’s own INSET days. They offer our staff professional development and networking opportunities outside of the four walls of their academies, enabling the sharing of best practice at regional and national E-ACT events.

Sessions covered everything from maths to mental health and included workshops, practical lessons and addresses from fantastic guest speakers. The meticulously planned events gave staff the opportunity to learn and collaborate with colleagues from other academies, with attendees from every subject and level coming together to share ideas.

In Birmingham, almost 200 delegates from across the trust attended seven dedicated sessions for headteachers, deputies and pupil premium leads, as well as key stage and subject leads.

Heartlands Academy hosted six of these events, including the Headteachers’ and Deputy Headteachers’ Conference. Almost 70 senior leaders came along to the session, where the main focus was improving outcomes for disadvantaged students.

Delegates were inspired by a rousing speech from National Schools Commissioner Sir David Carter who spoke on the subject of improving the MAT system from the classroom up. Both internal and external speakers delivered useful sessions, with addresses given by Lynne Gavin, Headteacher of Pakeman Primary, Islington; Michael Wemms, Chair of the Board of Trustees; The Oldham Academy North’s leadership team and recently appointed RED for the North region, Allan Torr.

Stuart Bellworthy, RED for the Midlands and one of the organisers of the conference, was thrilled with the success of the event.

“Having high quality speakers and leaders from all E-ACT academies made it a really great training day, firmly focused on working together to further improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.” Stuart Bellworthy, RED

We were delighted by the support shown for the event on social media by both attendees and presenters, including a tweet from our very own Jane Millward.

Sessions over at NBA were also making waves on Twitter, as delegates excitedly posted selfies with maths YouTuber, Colin Hegarty and Times Table Rockstar, Bruno Reddy, who were delivering sessions at the maths training day.

As part of the maths session, dubbed ‘E-mAthsCT’, secondary staff also had talks on common GCSE paper mistakes from Graham Cumming, Edexcel while primary colleagues worked with Kangaroo Maths to develop a collaborative calculation policy. NBA students were excited to discover that the maths stars had been in their academy – although disappointed to have missed them!

Tom Manners, Regional Maths Lead for the Midlands, put the agenda for the day together and was encouraged by the amount of collaboration between colleagues.

“Following on from today, colleagues from our primary academies are meeting up in Birmingham and will be inviting staff from all of our academies to share ideas and collaborate, which is really positive.” – Tom Manners, Regional Maths Lead

Tom noted that there was a brilliant buzz on the day, with great feedback from attendees and praise for the charismatic presenters that came along to share best practice in maths.

We are delighted with the positive feedback already received from the attending delegates, and we look forward to meeting colleagues from across the trust at future National INSET days.