Top tips from the Schools and Academies Show

This week we attended the Schools and Academies Show in Birmingham. We didn’t have our own stand which left us free to wander around, attend talks, and pick up some great tips for our schools who may not have been able to take a day out of school to attend.

Here are our favourite things from the day:

WomenEd Panel Session

Schools and Academies Show

We attended a panel titled How Can We Empower More Women to be Edtech Leaders. The panel was led by Debbie Clinton, CEO of Academy Transformation Trust. Jules Daulby, National Leader of WomenEd; Bukky Yusuf, Science Lead at Edith Kay School; and Kirsty Grundy, Primary Education Lead of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust were the members of the panel.

There were some really good points made by the panel about how we can challenge and change the discourse around gender in technology to help enable every learner to access but also crucially to encourage more women to be the leads in technology in schools, which by their visibility helps to encourage more young women to take up computing and technology qualifications and careers.

Also interesting were some of the recommendations of products and services that can be used for accessibility and also home school communications. Class Dojo was commended by two of the panel as being low input but high impact. They fully expected to offer parents a window into school life by sharing information about the children’s learning, but did not realise how many parents would get involved and start sharing information from home which gave the school a window into the home lives of their students.

Text Help was also mentioned as a great tool for accessibility – allowing students who cannot decode to have their exam papers read out to them using the software to make exams accessible.

Stand of the Day: Commando Joe’s

This was not something we were expecting to see as we had not heard of it before but the passion and enthusiasm from the team on stand was so infectious we had to make it stand of the day! We are not sure of costs for the programme and training so we apply that caveat to our recommendation but we do think it is worth this small company getting more interest as it looks really brilliant. Built around some core values and skills, Commando Joe’s missions are all about “learning through challenge, collaboration, and character.”
With missions for EYFS all the way through to secondary and great feedback from schools we think they have something of interest for anyone and are a breath of fresh air in the schools market.

Building a Strong Professional Culture to Support Teacher Learning and Improve Pupil Outcomes

This session was led by Cat Scutt from the Chartered College of Teaching. A really interesting look at the importance of giving teachers access to high quality PD and opportunities to grow. There were statistics which Cat shared showing how for teachers with access to good quality training there is a definite correlation with effectiveness whereas for teachers who are not given opportunities to grow they tend to plateau from year 5 of teaching onwards.

Cat urged teachers to join the Chartered College of Teaching for access to lots of online training and also courses, including training developed specifically for teachers who want to improve their practice in the classroom and progress in their career but may not have an interest in senior leadership. The Chartered College of Teaching costs £45 a year for membership (half price for NQTs) and you get access to all resources including their quarterly Impact Magazine full of research led articles for schools. They also recently produced a 96 page International CPD Report which is available for free to all schools.

If you made it to the Schools and Academies Show we would love to hear your highlights too, and we hope ours are of use.

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