A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 19 January 2018

On Friday 12 January, over 1,000 members of teaching staff came together for the trust’s first-ever Regional INSET Day. Packed full of workshops, moderation sessions and opportunities for networking, the main aim of the day was to ensure that assessments and standards remain consistent across our regions. 

Each academic year, E-ACT staff will take part in one national and two regional INSET days, in addition to their academy’s own INSET days. These sessions are valuable opportunities for professional development and sharing best practice across the trust. We were thrilled by the enthusiasm shown towards our first-ever National INSET Day back in November, and feedback from Friday’s event has been just as positive.

As the day’s main focus was on consistency around assessments and standards, sessions gave teachers the chance to moderate each other’s work, with guidance from senior members of examination boards and subject and assessment experts. However, staff organising the day also took the opportunity to plan a variety of interesting training sessions and talks in other areas.

“Fantastic engagement” in London and Bucks

For primary staff in London and Bucks, the day kicked off with an interesting session on neurodiversity. Led by Regional SEND System Leader, Rebecca Leek, teachers spent the first part of the morning learning more about autism, ADHD and attachment. Other highlights included a talk exploring the role of an educator by Denham Green Headteacher, Sarah Flannigan, as well as some maths mastery from Nick Hart, Headteacher of Chalfont Valley. In keeping with the theme of the day, teachers and learning support assistants were invited to moderate each other’s marking in maths and English.

Moderation was also the focus over at The Crest, where approximately 150 members of secondary staff gathered for a day of positive collaboration and sharing best practice. Teachers took part in a session with Regional Data Lead, Paul Robinson, looking at how regions can work more effectively together:

“The level of engagement from The Crest, City Heights and Burnham Park staff was fantastic throughout the day. Delegates spoke positively about coming together and sharing ideas and they were keen to build on the work started on Friday.” Paul Robinson, Regional Data Lead for London and Bucks

(Almost) trending on Twitter in the South West…!

Primary academies in the South West were treated to five useful maths sessions over at St Ursula’s. Teachers were able to pick up fun techniques and share ideas, with talks delivered by colleagues from Perry Court, Ilminster and Hareclive. We were pleased to see positive tweets from our academies in the South West following the event, as well as photos of some of the exciting new resources that staff were exploring!

The Midlands region

In the Midlands, primary staff were also talking numbers, as Year 6 teachers flocked to Mansfield Green for a session with Kangaroo Maths. Shenley Academy hosted secondary staff from Daventry and the Midlands for their own maths training and moderation sessions. A senior examiner for Shenley, Jon Bell, led an engaging session for teachers, followed by moderation of mock exam papers and a discussion about the national curriculum.

Meanwhile, science teachers made their way over to Heartlands Academy, where staff shared strategies and swapped tips for the new exam specification. Headteacher Fuzel Choudhury was thrilled with the success of the event.

“This was a really useful opportunity to increase the rigour and validity of assessment data. Other subject areas were also able to visit different schools to moderate, and again, this was a fantastic way to collaborate and learn from one another.” Fuzel Choudhury, Headteacher, Heartlands

 Thinking Big in the North

Blackley, Pathways, The Oldham Academy North and Parkwood came together for the North’s Regional INSET Day, where staff took part in a session on E-ACT’s core values with Chris Davis, Headteacher at The Oldham Academy North. Teachers also had the opportunity to moderate colleagues’ books, which according to one delegate, was incredibly beneficial.

“It was useful to look at each other’s books and feel reassured that there are other colleagues that have similar challenges. This means we can look for solutions together.”

We were delighted to see such energy and collaboration across the trust, and with the positive feedback already received from the members of staff that took part in our Regional INSET sessions. We’d like to leave you with these final words from Lucy Monk, Headteacher at Shenley Academy, which we feel sum up the event perfectly.

“This is what belonging to an educational network is all about. We’re in this together, learning from one another and sharing the same desire to achieve the best for all of our pupils.” Lucy Monk, Headteacher, Shenley Academy