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How do you know you’re really making an impact?

The SSAT National Conference 2017: Illuminating learning will shine a light on what happens in our classrooms, helping you to become truly evidence-informed in your decision making.









Illuminating learning

How do you really know that what’s happening in your school is making a difference? Are your leaders as effective as they can be? Are you confident that your teachers are having the biggest impact possible and how do you develop them further?

The SSAT National Conference 2017 is all about shining a light on what happens in our classrooms. As school leaders, you have more evidence than ever before about what we know makes a real difference to young people’s learning, and about how your students are progressing as individuals. How do you make sense of this evidence and understanding to improve outcomes for all learners?

Over twenty years ago, Dylan Wiliam described the classroom as a black box; with little clarity about what goes on inside. And yet despite the new evidence available, how much has this metaphor actually changed. How do we illuminate the process of learning in every one of our classrooms, across our schools, and across our trusts and collaborations?

The SSAT National Conference 2017 will explore how school leaders can be truly evidence-informed in making strategic decisions, how a culture of evidence and research can be embedded across a school or MAT, and the implications of some of the latest research on what we do in schools.

At the heart of the conference is a commitment to being solution focused, by systematically and strategically analysing what will really make a difference for young people. Solution-focused leadership requires both an analytical and creative focus creating radical, empowering solutions.

Main Stage Speakers

Mark Emmerson
Chief Executive Officer, City of London Academies Trust

Brent Frey
Apple Education

Professor Alma Harris, FRSA
Department of Education, and Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Bath

Matt Hood
Director, Institute for Teaching

Ashok Jansari
Lecturer in Cognitive Neuropsychology, Goldsmiths, University of London

Professor Dr. Paul A Kirschner
Distinguished Professor, Open University Netherlands

Helena Marsh
Executive Principal, Linton Village College

Nickii Messer
School Business Management and Leadership Development expert, All the geese

Graham Moore
Programme / Staff Director,

Katrina Morley
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Headteacher, Tees Valley Education

Diana Osagie
CEO courageous leadership

Dame Alison Peacock
Chief executive, College of Teaching

Louise Robinson
Partner and Account Director, Schools & Trusts, Arcadis

Professor Phil Scraton
Professor, Queen’s University Belfast and author, Hillsborough – The Truth

Amelia Walker
Deputy Director, Surveys and Evaluations, Ofsted

Sue Williamson
Chief Executive, SSAT

What you’ll take away from the conference

An understanding of how evidence and research can help you make strategic decisions as a school leader.

Insight into innovative educational approaches to make the biggest difference to student outcomes.

An understanding of what is happening in our schools.

Workshops and seminars

School-led workshops will focus on how you can build a culture of evidence engagement and action-research across your school, how leaders are changing school practices and policies to better support learning and outcomes, and innovative solutions to help particular groups of students. Sessions include:

Researching and implementing what works – 45 minute workshops focused on in-school practice that has addressed a problem or made an impact on student outcomes and exploring emerging research and supporting evidence-driven approaches in the classroom.

Spotlight on… – a series of 7 minute briefings led by a range of contributors.

SSAT full secondary member schools are entitled to one free delegate place at the conference, and discounts on additional places. All other SSAT member schools including Primary and SEN are entitled to a discount on the full cost.

School Business Managers from any SSAT member school are invited to attend for free on Friday 1 December.

Gala dinner

SSAT welcomes all delegates to join us at the National Conference evening dinner on Thursday 30th November from 7pm, which will be held at Manchester Central. The price per person is £85 + vat, to include a drinks reception, 3 course meal, and keynote speaker presentation.

If you would like to attend the dinner, please select the dinner place option on the booking form.

David Laws, Education Policy Institute, will be speaking at the dinner. Read more about David.

Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities


If you’re interested in exhibition or sponsorship opportunities for the National Conference, please download our brochure below.

For any enquiries about sponsoring or exhibiting, please contact

National Conference 2016 highlights



Lead Conference Partner

Media Partner

School Business Manager Strand Partner