Thank You!

It has been just over a month since our inaugural ‘Teaching Talent; Leading Talent’ conference at The Misbourne school on 6th June 2016, facilitated by three Bucks Teaching Schools and supported by Bucks County Council.  As our professional lives seem to be perpetually filled with ‘busi-ness’ it can be rare to find an opportunity to step back, reflect and share ideas with like-minded colleagues in a focused and lively environment.  But this was precisely our aim: to provide a non-profit school-led conference for teachers, encouraging dialogue and collaboration and staying true to our TALENT name: Teachers As Leaders, Educating New Teachers”, in the context of an ever-changing educational landscape.




Alongside the much-coveted Teaching Talent post-it notes and A5 pads, all our 70 delegates received packs with a copy of Inside Out Downside Up, a fascinating think-piece about the need for leadership at all levels.  In this spirit, subject based workshops were facilitated by Specialist Leaders of Education from three Bucks Teaching Schools (Astra, Cygnus and MMLA) and our keynote speakers, Keven Bartle and Phil Beadle, each brought some practical tips and refreshing amounts of controversy to the to the afternoon.

In the words of one delegate, “the best part (of the conference) was sharing ideas with other colleagues who have the same mindset, and networking with other schools.”  And to give a flavour of what was achieved and celebrated on 6th June, the following ‘round up’ of events uses direct quotations from delegate feedback - so thank you to everyone who took the time to share their views.




“Provocative speakers - challenging approaches”

Keven Bartle, Headteacher of Canons Park and blog writer was widely praised for his opening keynote for his witty and critical approach; appreciated by one delegate for “crystallising (my) understanding of the expectations of training schools above and beyond what the DfE expect”.  Another said how it, “developed my understanding about where education currently is - especially the tension between ideology and reality.


During this keynote, Keven “gave a very insightful overview of white paper” by challenging aspects of the recently published Educational Excellent Everywhere, providing a candid and critical viewpoint on the dangers of a systems where one ‘style’ of success and leadership can fit all in his Star Trek inspired speech, ‘The Myth of the Self-Improving System’.


“More Phil Beadle!”


We know that growing concerns regarding behaviour management are linked to issues of staff wellbeing, recruitment and retention. Therefore, it is perhaps hardly surprising that Phil Beadle’s “interesting”, “brilliant” and helpful” keynote was so universally well-received, with criticism coming only from the fact it didn’t last long enough!


With comments such as “Phil Beadle was inspirational; so useful due to the practical advice on behaviour management ... more please!”, we are delighted to confirmed that Phil will be back in Bucks soon - speaking, challenging and energising us at the NQT conference on Friday 23rd September - and this time, we have allowed a whole afternoon.  For more information on this event, please see this link.


Networking; Networking; Networking ...


“Networking” was (by far) the most frequently used word to answer the post-conference evaluation question, “What aspect of the conference did you find most useful, and why?

Overall, delegates praised the space, time and opportunity to “connect with other subject leaders and colleagues” to discuss “current topics with teachers in similar situations” in a “joined up approach” to sharing best practice.  The workshops, led by practicing SLEs from all three Teaching Schools, were offered in nine subject areas, with the deliberately ‘open’ agenda of collaboration, curriculum change and sharing best practice.  



Thank you to the following SLEs for running these workshops:

John Hopkins (Science, Astra); James Simpson (History, MMLA); Michelle Guy (Maths, Astra); Ahsan Abbas (Geography); Richard Pontin (PE, Astra); Andrew Millar (English, Astra);Claire Hindley (Performing Arts, MMLA); Abbie Jones (Business Studies, Cygnus); Jenny Hopper (MFL, MMLA).

A Very Talented Future


We are not complacent, and the “points for improvement” part of the evaluation summary has also been well-scrutinised.  The desire for there to be even more opportunities, such as termly conferences, for staff to meet and collaborate has been noted, alongside wish for us to dedicate a full day to the next conference so some sessions are not “rushed” and keynotes could be at least an hour long.


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We will aim to continue to promote collaboration by using the platform to share more information and resources, including SLE pen portraits and links to a wider range of CPD courses.  Other CPD opportunities such as aspiring to senior leadership and support for colleagues teaching outside their specialism will also be researched.


So, once again, a massive, heartfeltthank you” to The Misbourne school for hosting the conference, and to all colleagues who attended and took the time to provide such detailed feedback.  We hope to see you again soon!

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