The Trust hosts an annual conference, bringing all the schools together in the MAT as a celebration and collaboration as part of a comprehensive professional learning programme. The Festival is led by eminent Keynote Speakers who have in the past included Dylan Wiliam, Sue Cowley, and School 21. Staff are involved in workshops and break out sessions.
For a period of 3 years we welcomed experts from the literacy field to deliver keynote speeches and workshops, such as David Didau, Debra Kidd and Hywel Roberts for our event in 2015; Professor Neil Mercer in 2016; and Sue Cowley, Chris Curtis and Paul Clayton in 2017.
In 2018 we were delighted to be welcome Ian Gilbert, Jaz Ampaw Farr and Jackie Beere as our keynote speakers as our focus across the Trust was resilient learners and teachers. This topic resonated with schools around the country due to the change in the examination system.
This year we welcomed James Nottingham. Whilst he is perhaps best known as the creator of the Learning Pit, he was also chosen as the keynote speaker for to his work on student resilience and links to the importance of classroom culture. Read more below.
These events have been a huge success and have been positively received by staff, as they aim to offer practical strategies for staff to use in their classroom. It is an eventful day on our calendar, which we follow up with time for dissemination among faculty teams in directed CPL time following the event.
Festival of Learning 2019
Archway Learning Trust held the Festival of Learning in January 2020 at the Albert Hall Nottingham. This is the first time that it had been held at an external event and provided an advantage of being able to bring together all classroom facing staff in one venue.
The event was opened by the CEO, Sian Hampton, who emphasised the importance of the ethos of the Trust as a full inclusive family of learners and staff. Videos of staff and students were shared during the presentation and the many successes of the Trust were communicated. It was a privilege to hear the difference that being part of Archway Learning Trust has made to the lives of so many children. It was also a timely reminder at the start of 2020 of the important work that all staff do to contribute to the aims of Archway Learning Trust.
The CEO’s presentation was followed by a Keynote Speech by James Nottingham. Whilst James, is perhaps best known as the creator of the Learning Pit, he was also chosen as the keynote speaker for his work on student resilience and links to the importance of classroom culture. He provided the conference with up to date educational research but also importantly anecdotal evidence from the time that he spent in the classroom as a teacher working across the full age range. James continues to spend a significant amount of time in schools and was able to present with humour and link research and practice together. James spoke how the teachers set the culture in their classroom and invited the conference to reflect on the culture that they set through the language that they use with students. There were several opportunities to discuss with colleagues how this might impact on student behaviour and learning. James outlined the principles behind “The Learning Pit” and its importance in creating self- efficacy in learners.
Carl Elder, Director of Education closed the conference reflecting on the Keynote Speech. Carl also explained the importance of collaboration across the Trust and gave several examples of the benefits of belonging to the Trust. This was phrased as the Archway Advantage.
The evaluations from the Festival of Learning show that staff valued the event. Many of the responses stated that James Nottingham was “inspirational”. They found the style of presentation and the link with research informative. Staff valued the address from the CEO and the Director of Education, both focusing on the need for collaboration and outlining the excellent work that the Trust does.