Member login

SSAT services use a single login, please see guidance on creating an account

Wednesday workshops

Wednesday, 12.15

All-through education – approaches

Tom Howells, Head of Academy: Secondary, Harris Academy Tottenham with Emily Smith, Head of Academy: Primary

Harris Academy Tottenham believes that an all-through setting allows for the creation of a truly cohesive curriculum; one which builds on the solid foundations of specialist teaching to create a language of learning that transposes the whole curriculum. As part of a network of all-through academies, they are experimenting, exploring and expanding our horizons and will share their journey in this workshop.

Boosting learners’ achievement, skills and confidence at GCSE

Alison McCulloch, Assistant Principal, Hockerill Anglo-European College

In an era of tougher GCSE specifications putting learners under additional pressure, the challenge of providing opportunities for all young people to succeed is greater than ever. How can schools deliver an engaging and effective complement to GCSE that boosts progression and confidence?

Hockerill Anglo-European College has responded by offering ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) qualification in a high-performing, Ofsted-rated outstanding school.

This workshop provides an opportunity to find out how CoPE has:
• increased engagement and motivation
• ensured achievement across GCSE subjects
• enhanced employability skills and skills for life
• promoted a more successful transition to post-16

Independent Thinking on… leadership

Floyd Woodrow MBE DCM, Independent Thinking

It has been argued that at least 50% of your time as a leader should be spent on leadership of self, focusing especially on your purpose, ethics and motivation. With pressure on all school leaders to produce better results with fewer people and less money, it can be easy to spend our time looking outwardly at what others are – or aren’t – doing. But we do this at our peril. In this session, former SAS major and international business and sports coach Floyd Woodrow will show the strategies he uses to rethink leadership to bring the best out leaders as they bring the best out of their colleagues, drawing on his celebrated ‘Compass for Life’ approach.

What’s your story? – the importance of storytelling in imagining your future

Jennie Giovanelli, Headteacher, Kingsthorpe College with Ben Baines, Deputy Headteacher

This workshop will draw on learning and best practice from some of the world’s highest performing organisations, including sharing learning from the SSAT leadership study visit to Apple’s headquarters in California. It will focus on the importance of identifying artefacts which highlight key aspects of your school’s story, as well as considering strategies to communicate a shared understanding of these to all stakeholders. Jennie will also share some practical ways in which school leaders can create a culture which enables brave decision-making for all.

Being flamingos of hope, not lemmings of despair

Helena Marsh, Executive Principal, Linton Village College with Carey Mayzes, Assistant Principal

Helena and Carey will share bold leadership approaches that have been taken at Linton Village College to tackle teacher workload and create a positive climate for learning. By using the SSAT Framework for Exceptional Education, they have moved away uniform policy expectations, eg school-wide marking policies and data drops, to encourage middle leaders to do what is right for children and their subject teams, rather than through fear of external accountability. Helena will explain how the college has maintained a commitment to holistic, enriching education – including an emphasis on sports, arts and extra-curricular activities – and have encouraged innovation and creativity, such as their Language Futures and Getting Gritty programmes.

Loosen up with lesson study: understanding what enables the best professional learning

David Wylde, Assistant Headteacher, Riverside School with Andy Roberts, Headteacher

Lesson study – where a group of teachers work together to target an identified area for development in their students’ learning – is a Japanese model of teacher-led research that forms the major part of Riverside School’s CPDL, whose systems and structure have developed imaginatively.

The areas of teaching that need improving are identified, setting a school-wide focus and using existing evidence, teachers collaboratively research, plan, teach and observe a lesson, using ongoing discussion and reflection to track and refine interventions, supported by an external subject expert (koshi) where possible. Takahashi’s (2013) research into the role of koshis showed that they play three important functions: they bring new curriculum and research knowledge into research lessons, help teachers connect theory and practice, and enable higher quality reflections on teaching and learning.

Wednesday, 15.00

Creating curious learners with creative curriculum design

Becky Waterson, Vice Principal, Brooke Weston Academy with Matt Rodger, Assistant Principal


Brooke Weston Academy want their year 7s to be curious, courageous, imaginative and fierce risk-takers! This workshop explores the academy’s bold decision to move away from their academic KS3 curriculum and redesign the year 7 programme of study, to allow their students to build the skills and qualities our future generation need, not just to survive in the world of work but to strive.

The new curriculum includes an enrichment lesson – a lesson a week that allows their students to use their imagination, explore more cultural foci and develop key competencies. The students this year have built an allotment, created exhibitions for charities, developed their own political party, built raspberry pies, completed STEM learning and sports leadership activities and learnt to speak some Russian!

It’s not about what we can’t do, it’s about everything we can

Alan Chapman, Headteacher, Catcote Academy with Jackie McGarry, Careers and Employment Co-ordinator

In this workshop, Alan will share the many creative and imaginative ways Catcote Academy have focused on employability and how they are striving to break down the barriers to employment and improve outcomes for their students who all have learning disabilities.

Alan will explain how the academy has embedded enterprise as a core provision within their curriculum offer through a range of initiatives, some of which include:

*establishing a cafe and retail outlet in the community to enable students to access work placements
*a sixth form ‘Steps’ programme to prepare students for adult life including employment through supported internship and apprenticeships
*the creation of a Community Interest Company offering horticultural services.

Building a knowledge curriculum with an oracy focus

Stephen Scales, Deputy Headteacher – Teaching and Learning, The Whitstable School

Stephen will explain how Community College Whitstable’s pedagogy begins with knowledge development using tools for sharing and low stakes quizzing. They publish knowledge booklets three times a year and schedule quizzes using Show My Homework to test recall and share course outlines with parents too. The college then use their termly public exhibitions to ‘elaborate’ upon the knowledge learnt. Each exhibition has a different subject focus which is entirely pupil-led and has a focus on creativity and personal challenge. An ‘Extend’ project in the school has helped to develop the quality of pupils’ verbal responses.

Taboo or not taboo? Championing the ‘Dark Arts’ and creativity in uncertain times

Steve Cook, Senior Assistant Headteacher, Formby High School with Vicci Harrocks, Dance and Community Arts Practitioner

This session will explore Formby High School’s journey from its specialist performing arts college status in 2002 to its ongoing work to maintain a creative curriculum that promotes and celebrates the arts and creativity. Steve will talk about the school’s work towards gaining four consecutive Artsmark Gold awards, and how it champions the arts and culture, encouraging innovation and passion across the school and community – most recently resulting in their recent TES Schools Award for ‘Creative School of the Year’, and a journey towards the new Artsmark Platinum.

Independent Thinking on… curriculum

Nina Jackson, Associate Director, Independent Thinking

The current thinking on education that has us focusing on the deliberate teaching of knowledge in a rigorously controlled environment has its appeal but what do we lose if we follow this tempting path? Or, to put it another way, ‘What are they learning while you’re teaching them?’. Rethinking the curriculum is not about throwing the baby out with the bathwater or losing sight of rigour or high expectations. Quite the opposite. In this session, Nina Jackson will draw on her many years’ experience bringing the best out all children to demonstrate the place that curiosity, wonder, creativity, excitement and wellbeing have in all classrooms.

The Ethical Leadership Programme

Jo Owens, Director of Ethical Leadership, Lichfield Cathedral School

This workshop will explore how Lichfield Cathedral School have reimagined SSAT’s Student Leadership Accreditation to address a much-needed moral purpose in education. Jo will explain how they have invested in their pupils’ sense of themselves as glorious individuals, beyond their academic achievement, and how the ELP has been embedded from early years to sixth form, outlining the main benefits for both school and students.

Wednesday, 17.15

Practical ways to develop creativity and imaginative thinking using robotics

Pete Maguire, Associate Assistant Headteacher, Finham Park School

The workshop will focus on a range of ways to introduce programmable control through the introduction of robotics. Practical examples of low-cost approaches to implementing a creative, fun, 21st-century curriculum will be explored, and Pete will explain how to get started with robotic systems – including building/modifying and programming them to respond to D&T challenges at KS2, 3 and 4. Different robotic platforms will be explored which epitomise 21st century STEM education, creating a curiosity amongst teachers and students and stimulating pure imagination.

Just imagine – using tele-presence solutions to support school attendance for pupils with complex needs

Cath Kitchen, Headteacher, Hospital and Outreach Education with Harriet Gridley, Marketing Manager, No Isolation

This workshop will explore how the use of tele-presence solutions in the form of small robots could support increased school attendance for pupils with complex needs, allowing them to remain connected with their home ties, and to minimise the impact of any absences.

Independent Thinking on… technology

Mark Anderson, Independent Thinking

It would be easy to do like the French and eliminate technology such as mobile phones from our classrooms. That way we can go back to teaching the way we’ve always taught without interruption. In doing so, we risk making schools irrelevant as well as missing the opportunity to reinvent what we mean by teaching and learning in a way that is engaging, effective and exciting. Moving way beyond the notion of technology as a series of gimmicks, ‘ICT Evangelist’ Mark Anderson will share his experience helping schools around the world rethink their approach to the ever-expanding range of technologies to improve workload, inclusion, engagement, accessibility and results.

Pupil premium pathways

Danny Bullock, Assistant Principal – Inclusion, Leeds West Academy

The Pupil Premium is an area that is consistently in the spotlight both for the morality of the disadvantaged learners it attracts, but also the scrutiny that comes with it. In this workshop, Danny will explain how he has changed the culture and systematic approach at Leeds West Academy to address this. Developing the Pupil Premium Pathways, which uses technology, big data and algorithms to allocate students to aid personalisation, has been a staple of this movement. The outcomes of this method have been clear – the system has identified students who need support from day one based on clear and measurable data and links with other methods of technology and changes in culture to get the best outcomes and life chances for this key group.

Teaching through Instagram

Jessica Teal, Teacher of Science, Sutton Community Academy

This workshop will showcase how social media can be used to break down the barriers between staff and students and help change their attitude towards learning. Social media is used widely on a whole-school level across the nation, but this initiative is unique; it offers a personalised view from a teacher’s perspective by allowing individual members of staff to capture their school day on social media. Participating teachers across the school access their account throughout the day to post photos of model work, exciting activities that happened during lessons and homework reminders for the classes that they teach. Students and parents who ‘follow’ their teachers on Instagram see their posts in the evening and weekends when they are at home, allowing them to successfully share positive and personalised images surrounding their education, (scattered amongst posts from celebrities, friends and family) through a platform they engage with frequently.

Imagination, innovation and Instructional design – redefining learning in the digital age with technology and creativity

Greg Hughes, Vice Principal – Learning Technologies & Curriculum, The de Ferrers Academy

This workshop will explore how mobile technology and creativity can combine in the classroom to challenge all students, assess understanding and raise levels of engagement and independence. Augmented reality, video and music creation, and sketch-noting are all quick and easy tools to integrate into a 21st-century classroom. Greg will explore how these tools can be used to combine Imagination, innovation and instructional design, opening up the curriculum possibilities and lifting the lid on student potential. He will also share examples of work and activities, free resources and give delegates the opportunity to get hands-on and try out some creative digital tools for themselves.