Sunday, 26 January 2014

“I don’t know quite what you created here, but I like it.” - SLTcamp -the sequel

Thank you to @ICTMagic for permission to use this image

Stephen and I presented about SLTcamp on Friday at TeachMetBETT to an audience of 650 in the Excel Arena in London.  It was the biggest teachmeet ever held and we were honoured to have been able to show people the journey we have been on with SLTcamp so far.  It really was a wonderful event and we were proud to talk about it.  We topped off the presentations with a very special announcement - the date for SLTcamp the sequel(s).  

One nagging idea shared in July led to 40 strangers meeting for an unbelievable weekend in a Youth Hostel just outside Dorking in November. You can read all about how why people signed up to the first ever SLTcamp here and how they felt after the event here.
Stephen and I knew that we’d mixed up something rather special somehow with the camp, and were keen to replicate it. We talked about several options - bigger venues, more regular events, setting the ‘brand’ totally free, but felt all of these options would damage either the quality or the integrity of what we were trying to achieve.
So - our plan - the same weekend in November this year (14th - 16th) - but the plan is to have four/five locations in England. All Hostels, all with a cap on numbers. Keep it small, personal, wifi free and special. We also felt that, in order to ensure the philosophy remained, any SLTcamp should only be lead by an ex-camper. Of course, remix away, but they were the ones who were at the original, and knew our intentions and aspirations.
Where are we? We have booked (eek) two hostels for the SLTcamp weekend in 2014 - Medway and Osmotherley (North Allerton), or SOUTH and NORTH as they will be known (but perhaps just by us!). Sarah and I are happy to run the Medway camp (unless anyone else is keen?!), and we’ve asked Penny Leach and Andy Day to lead the Osmotherley camp. They inspired us over the weekend, and with Penny’s eye for culinary branding and Andy’s thoughtful kindness, we knew that they would be perfect. AMAZINGLY, THEY SAID YES!
We’d love to have a WEST and EAST (or even MIDLANDS) camp, but are missing three key features - funds, demand and leaders. So, please help us out.  
  • If you are a sponsor eager to support grassroots CPD for leaders, let us know, or better still, speak to one of our brilliant sponsors from last year to find out why they supported us.  
  • If you were an original camper and fancy leading one, let us know! Ideally (we think) a good pairing of male/female, and Primary/Secondary works well, although red cheeks/fringe are optional pairings!  
  • Finally, if you live in the west/east/Midlands and want an SLTcamp close to you - let us know! We’re not confident enough to think we can fill four venues, but would love to hear from you and find out if we could! The YHA have kindly reserved a few localised venues on SLTcamp weekend, but we need to move fast to secure them!
Tickets from SLTcamp North and SLTcamp South will be released next Sunday, 2nd Feb at 8.30pm - follow the @SLTcamp account for the links. If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
Sarah & Stephen
(and Andy & Penny!)

“I don’t know quite what you created here, but I like it.”
Ashley Harrold

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Guardian Contribution - What are your career goals for 2014?

I wrote a small contribution to the recent Guardian piece on what some of my goals are for 2014.


This year I am committing to ensuring I celebrate successes as much as I can, both with my staff and students alike. We all need to be and feel appreciated. I want to continue to strive to be the best leader I can; I care deeply about the staff and students I lead and hope never to stop wanting to be better for them. 
I have reflected a great deal about my marking and feedback practices and hope to continue improving them with my classes; it is one of the most powerful tools we have as teachers and I want my students to fully benefit from it. 
I have learnt a huge amount about educational technology over the last year and a half and now want to use it consistently well to help my students to progress. It is the future and we as educators are lagging behind. 
I have some great classes this year and I want to have fun while we learn. 
Here's to a great year.

Read the full article here.

Guardian Contribution - What will 2014 bring for schools?

I wrote a small contribution to the recent Guardian piece on predictions for the education sector in 2014.


"There will be a change in the landscape of professional development in our schools. Teachers and school leaders will begin to take charge of their own professional development more than they have ever done before.
We all benefit from a little bit of inspiration from a great speaker, but when it comes to teaching and leadership we are the experts.
I predict that schools will stop pumping money into external companies for training and become more skilled at tapping into the expertise they already have in their school. Training is so expensive – there must be a better way to spend our limited funds.
There are already a few schools and groups of independent educators that are moving fast in the right direction, but this is on a relatively small scale and their good practice needs to be shared. Let the professional development revolution begin."

Read the full article here.