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SSAT Summer Series: Why change is needed, now?

Angelina Idun, Director, reflects on the first event of SSAT’s Summer Series: What now for learners?

“Valuable time – well spent.”

“Thank you for such a thought-provoking series of talks today – inspiring.”

“Lots to think about and digest.”

These are some of the comments that appeared in the chat at the end of the first event of SSAT’s online Summer Series last week, What now for learners? The event was a welcome opportunity for leaders across the network to come together, step back from the day to day, and look to the future. It provided a space for school leaders to focus on driving forward their efforts to achieve their hopes and aspirations for all learners in their school communities.

We were privileged to have the input of three excellent speakers, Professor Becky Francis, Danielle Egonu and Stephen Tierney. Each shared with us valuable insights and experiences in relation to our theme. Questions posed by our speakers as well as the research, literature, and other tools they referenced and signposted will be immensely helpful in supporting ongoing individual and collective reflection, discussion, and action in schools across the network.

Why do we educate?

Those of you who have been involved in SSAT activities will know that in our programmes and events we often refer to Simon Sinek’s work on “How great leaders inspire action”, and the visual he uses of The Golden Circle which urges us to always start with our “why”. With this in mind it was appropriate to start the series by asking everyone involved, “what word(s) summarise why change is needed now for our learners?” Responses enabled us to create a word cloud, a powerful way of surfacing and sharing our priorities for change within our schools and across the system. In his session, Stephen Tierney passionately reiterated the importance of purpose. Stephen encouraged us to think deeply about why we educate, and about our why of curriculum, as our learners, teachers and leaders embark on the journey of renewal.

Throughout the event there were so many reassuring, refreshing, stimulating takeaways to consider and to help us shape practice and action as we go forward. Among mine were these:

  • Which parts of “normal” are worth getting back to? Which parts of the education system do we want to pull through?
  • Education is a relationship-based profession, people are the substance of education.
  • Focus/refocus on what matters with conviction – on the quality of education and on curriculum.
  • Practitioners in the system are the specialists.
  • Inclusion is the heart of the school; curriculum is the brain.

A virtual post-it activity at the end of the event gave all participants a chance to share learning points and identify actions to which they would commit.

SSAT members can access recordings from the first summer series event in The Exchange. For ease of viewing we have split these up so that there is a separate recording for each speaker, the introduction and word cloud activity, and the exit ticket.

Throughout the summer term we will continue to gather and collate your thoughts on our theme. We hope you will be able to set aside time to watch or review the recordings, alongside colleagues where possible. If you were not at the event you can get in touch with your SSAT Relationship Manager and let them have your learning points, actions, and questions. We will add these to the all of the ideas from the series that we are collating to share more widely with school leaders at the end of the series.

We look forward to seeing you our next Summer Series events

What now for assessment? Wednesday 26 May

What now for leadersThursday 24 June

Find out how you can make a change, and why, it is needed now.

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