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SSAT Primary Conference 2022

Online / Wednesday 25 May 2022

Strengthening foundations, empowering learners

Primary schools have the privilege of being part of the earliest years of a child’s life. They have an important and influential role in the development of every child. They nurture, inspire and grow young minds, helping to lay the foundations for every young person to go on to lead successful and fulfilling lives. This year’s SSAT Primary Conference, ‘Strengthening foundations, empowering learners’ will explore the current priorities for primary schools in achieving deep social justice.

During the twilight event, we will explore how we can strengthen the foundations, securing the best start for our youngest pupils in Early Years. We will also consider how we can empower learners, highlighting strategies and approaches that can facilitate and build pupil agency.

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Keynote presentations will provide a perspective on how the current challenges and priorities schools are facing can be addressed, workshops will enable teachers and leaders to explore the core themes in more depth from case studies of practise from across the SSAT Primary Network.

Book your team places today

This event will provide participants with the opportunity to join alongside teachers and leaders from their own school, creating opportunities for discussion and reflection as a team during and after the event. Delegates will also connect with practitioners from primary schools from across the country within the breakout sessions.

The event will also see the launch of this year’s SSAT Primary research project, which will inspire delegates to build on key learning from the event in their own school settings, with outcomes and conclusions celebrated and shared more widely across the network.


Keynote: Children’s Agency in Theory and Practice

Dr Yana Manyukhina
Senior Researcher at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy, UCL Institute of Education

Dr Yana Manyukhina

Senior Researcher at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy 0-11 years (HHCP), Dr Yana’s academic interests revolve around moral and ethical issues in education and are inspired by a firm commitment to promoting equity, justice, and fairness in educational contexts.

Among the core five themes of the HHCP, she associates most strongly with Children’s Agency and Life Chances.


Case studies: schools who are are closing the gap

Following Dr Yana Manyukhina’s keynote, delegates will have the choice of attending one of the following workshops:

Pupil Agency: transforming whole school policy and practise
Rebekah Lyall (Curriculum Lead) and Colette Lowe (Pupil Research Lead), Gatley Primary School

An interactive session looking at how pupil agency can support the development of whole school approaches to behaviour and wellbeing. At Gatley Primary School, they have used pupil voice to transform their behaviour policy across the school. Through capturing the thoughts and ideas of pupils, the school were able to create a shared vision for positive behaviour where pupils felt valued and that they had a voice which was listened to and understood.

Read more about this approach ahead of the session

Liberating Learners’ Voices
Emma Hart, Year 5 teacher and Year Group Lead, South Rise Primary School

She passionately believes in empowering her pupils to speak and share their ideas articulately and with confidence in the school’s mission to achieve deep social justice for all children. Through the Grammar Works programme that she co-founded, Emma utilises a range of pedagogical approaches to enable children to have the agency to communicate their thinking. In her interactive workshop session, Emma will explore the power and impact of pupil talk within the classroom.

Read more about this approach ahead of the session


Keynote: “I wouldn’t start from here”: foundation stage provision post-pandemic

Beatrice Merrick
Chief Executive, Early Education

Beatrice Merrick

Beatrice Merrick is Chief Executive of Early Education, the subject association for the early years, which provides professional learning opportunities and resources for anyone working in the early years. Membership is open to individuals and schools. More details can be found at: www.early-education.org.uk

“I wouldn’t start from here”: foundation stage provision post-pandemic

While none of us would have chosen the changes imposed by the pandemic, early years practitioners have been creative in adapting their pedagogy: infection control measures meant more outdoor learning and a “less is more” approach to resources while “bubbles” supported small group learning. Going forward, what will be the impact of the pandemic on babies and children, parents and practitioners? We’ll consider the possibilities based on recent research and case studies. We’ll look at the impact of missed experiences on children’s development and learning and hear how practitioners are going back to the core principles of their pedagogy and the Early Years Foundation Stage framework to reshape their provision. We’ll also consider how the pandemic more than ever requires thoughtful processes of transition from Reception to Y1.


Case studies: schools who have successfully developed pupil voice
and agency

Following Beatrice Merrick’s keynote, delegates will have the choice of attending one of the following workshops:

Using a nurture approach to bridge the gap between EYFS and year one children with low levels of emotional wellbeing
Toniann Braniff, Deputy Headteacher, Fleetdown Primary Academy

An interactive session looking at ways we can build resilience and secure the emotional wellbeing of our youngest pupils. At Fleetdown, many children enter EYFS with significantly low levels of personal, social, emotional development (PSED) and they have developed a nurture programme in Year 1 to give targeted and focused support to those pupils who need additional support on transition from EYFS to KS1.

Read more about the school’s nurture approach ahead of the session


This conference is free for SSAT members

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Book now

Date and time:

Wednesday 25 May 2022 3:30pm - 5:50pm


SSAT members: Free Non-members: £225
All prices exclusive of VAT