This Learning and Attainment Priority Group event aimed to support Head teachers in developing a more critically informed approach to their role as a lead learner in their school community and how they help to develop their colleagues professionally.
In the morning session, the keynote speaker Mark Burns, author of “The Learning Imperative “and “Teaching Backwards” posed the question “How do we reduce the variance in effective teaching?” and asked Head Teachers and leaders to think about the shared clarity in their teams. Mark said “We’ve been exploring how important it is to get shared clarity and the danger of assuming that we have. You know, schools operate at a hundred miles an hour and we’ve got to actually stop and say ‘Are we on the same page with this?’ and if we are, then is that a contributory factor to the variety in our classrooms?”
Seán Hagney, Head Teacher of St John’s Academy in Perth, attended the session and shared his thoughts about the presentation.
“I found the presentation very interesting. We talked about learning and teaching and making sure we had clarity in what we are doing – and this is something that I am actually promoting within my own school. Trying to make sure that our young people understand really at the basics what’s been taught, what’s been learnt, making no assumptions over the vocabulary that they have and what they understand about that vocabulary. And that’s the message Mark Burns was promoting, that really at the heart of everything we need to understand what we are talking about.”
After a morning break, Mark Burns delivered a second session in which he considered “How do we develop a professional learning culture in our teams?”. Both sessions were practical, interactive, and allowed time for discussion and collaboration amongst Head Teachers.
The afternoon was led by Morag Treanor, Professor of Child and Family Inequalities at Heriot-Watt University. She shared her key messages from her new book, “Child Poverty: Aspiring to Survive” and asked our Head Teachers to reconsider the term ‘poverty of aspiration’. Professor Morag also shared some of her research around child poverty, as well as the effect of the ‘ACEs’ study. This was an interesting and valuable presentation, which led to a productive question and answer session.
Both presentations were kindly made available by the speakers and you can click on the link below to access.
Everyone who attended seemed very engaged and willing to work together to achieve our main goal of ensuring that “Our children, young people and their families will be meaningfully engaged with learning and, combined with high quality learning experiences, all children and young people will extend their potential.”