A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 9 November 2018

Following on from the success of E-ACT’s first-ever National Inset day last year, this year’s National Inset day saw staff from across the trust coming together once again to attend training and development sessions at E-ACT academies all over the country.

Each year, E-ACT staff take part in one national and two regional Inset days in addition to their academy’s own Inset days. These sessions offer our staff opportunities for professional development and networking, taking them beyond the four walls of their academies to share best practice with colleagues from across the trust.

This year’s sessions covered everything from English to online safety, with staff being offered interesting workshops, practical lessons and talks from internal and external speakers. Over 160 headteachers, deputies and key stage and subject leads from across the trust came together for group sessions in Birmingham, while other members of staff gathered in their regions and academies for training sessions.

Leaders come together at Heartlands Academy

At Heartlands Academy, sessions for key stage leads, subject leads and headteachers and deputies began with a welcome from Regional Education Director for the Midlands Joanna Hall. Chief Executive David Moran then gave his opening address, speaking to delegates about leadership and collaboration.

Delegates then split into groups for specialist sessions tailored to their particular areas. Staff heard from experts within the trust, as well as a number of excellent external speakers: subject leaders for secondary mathematics, for example, were thrilled to hear from Steve Lomax from GLOWMaths, while secondary headteachers enjoyed a session on careers education with Adrian Lyons HMI, Ofsted’s National Lead for Economics, Business and Enterprise. For primary headteachers, the day was an opportunity to learn about the new E-ACT Primary Curriculum, launched by Regional Education Director for the North, Allan Torr.

An inspirational day

Meanwhile in the South West, staff from each of our six primary academies in the region came together for a variety of sessions. Sports staff from St Ursula’s E-ACT Academy and Perry Court E-ACT Academy took part in important first aid training, while Perry Court’s EYFS team spent time working to improve the EYFS learning environment. Staff from all academies in the region also came together to moderate pupils’ work.

“We have had an inspirational Inset day moderating with all of the other E-ACT academies.” @Greenfieldeact, Greenfield E-ACT Academy

There were some interesting workshops and talks taking place in the North region. At Pathways E-ACT Academy, staff looked at online safety and its implications for safeguarding, while teachers and teaching assistants at Blackley E-ACT Academy came together for a session on working collaboratively. Staff at The Oldham Academy North took part in a range of activities, including a fascinating  workshop on using tools such as VR and drones to enhance teaching and learning.

Bringing different perspectives to learning

In London and Bucks, primary and secondary staff took part in a range of training activities. Sessions at Denham Green E-ACT Academy were making waves on Twitter, as Year 6 teacher Julie Ashley posted updates from her English session for teachers and learning support assistants. Her hands-on workshops on reading, handwriting and motor skills in EYFS saw staff exploring the power of reading and included a challenge of opening a sweet one-handed!

“I think E-ACT Inset days are great as you get to meet other people and hear about what is happening elsewhere in the trust. Days like these also help with making our academy a family, and bringing different perspectives to our own learning.” Julie Ashley, Year 6 teacher, Denham Green E-ACT Academy.

We were delighted to see such energy and collaboration across the trust, and with the positive feedback already received from our attending delegates. We look forward to meeting colleagues from across the trust at our next Regional and National Inset days.