WA4s, Impact Conference and Intercohort Work

Today started nice and early with some brief preparation for meeting our 2012 colleagues, who arrived on campus last night. This was a rather amusing session in which we were asked to think about how they might be feeling and what we could learn from them. Tired and a lot were the obvious answers.

Then it was time to run back across campus to watch our (mostly) older and definitely wiser peers present their final presentations (WA4). This has been one of my favourite events so far, as it gave us a real insight into a lot of classrooms, as well as real examples of how teachers overcome challenges. I’m also going to take this opportunity to remind future me that the best presentations today were interactive, included personal anecdotes backed it up with evidence and were delivered with a smile.

After WA4s we had to dash across campus again to the opening ceremony of the Impact Conference. This was a fantastic event, punctuated by a magnificent thunder storm and buckets of rain. I was particularly impressed at how an extremely confident Yr. 5 pupil, Amelia, managed to hold the attention of 2500 slightly damp participants. Speeches were also given by Sam Butterfield, this year’s Participant President, who gave some words of wisdom on great leadership and Camilla Batmanghelidjh, who asked us to: ‘Notice the child that has been left behind and be exceptional – be the change in that child’s life’.

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In the afternoon, after battling through a hail shower, I attended two sessions:

The Sage Club

This workshop helped us to rethink our notions of ‘Gifted and Talented’ and to consider how we can support the learning of high achieving pupils. We looked at some real case studies and thought about practical ways to ensure that children with exceptional capabilities reached their full potential.

Raising Literacy Levels for Low Achievers

This workshop focused on some of the reasons why children don’t achieve their full potential in literacy and addressed some common misconceptions. Many participants shared their own experiences in the classroom and we talked lots about how we can support pupils with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, in their learning.

In the afternoon it was time for our first intercohort session. This week we will be working with a 2012 participant who will mentor small groups of 2013s in planning and giving a short presentation on a unit of work. Today we met our groups, chose a topic focus and drew up a medium-term plan. More on this later in the week…

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