Sharing joy and knowledge from an ordinary life

Festival of Education 2015- Day 1

If you enjoyed or perhaps missed the Festival of Education and you’re free on Saturday 27th June, then you might be interested in attending #ReadTL15 at Reading College. It’s free, there are prizes to be won, bags to be got and free lunch!

So the day had finally arrived. If I’m perfectly honest, booking tickets for both days was pretty reckless at this time of year. I’ve got more than enough to do; what with our conference next weekend, followed by a whole CPD week where multiple other projects need to come to a close but I decided I’d just swap my days around: Thursday and Friday would be my Saturday & Sunday and the weekend will become days of work. It was the Festival of Education and I certainly wasn’t going to miss it.

Now, you may have quite easily reached the reasonable conclusion that this year wouldn’t hold any disasters for me. In my third year at the conference, you’d think I might know what I was doing!

I dashed off my train at Reading this morning and hurtled towards the cash machine before buying my return ticket to Crowthorne. To cut a rather long story short, it ended in me sat on a train bound for London Waterloo, watching the train next to me, bound for Crowthorne, pulling away from Reading. Luckily the Waterloo one wasn’t ready to leave so after a 45 minute wait, and a work crisis, which wasn’t easily to solved on an iPad (come on Google, sort out a forms app, please!), I was on my way again.

Now some people might say that my track-record with the festival is rather ill-fated. Others might say that passion, perseverance and deliberate practice will lead to success in time…Here’s a record of the rest of the day (click each workshop title to read more):

Dr. Christina Hinton, Carl Hendrick minus Tom Bennett- research with Harvard on grit and growth mindsets

Teachers have been given answers to questions we didn’t ask. Sometimes we’re even given answers to ‘how to teach effectively’ by people who have never even taught before.

Stella Rimington

Behind every great woman is a hero- in this case it was her progressive teachers.

Gillian Bridge-Resilience

Self-identity and self-control is far more significant than self-esteem.

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues Lecture- Dr Angela Lee Duckworth

Perseverance over the long-term and a consistent focus/interest on one thing that matters to you more than anything else.

Career Colleges- Ruth Gilbert

Meaningful work experience: shadowing a CEO rather than being in a junior office for a week.

My day ended in the park working out what I’d be doing tomorrow:


I also read Carl Hendrick’s article in the first edition of their research journal and it could not have resonated more with me. He couldn’t be more spot on, especially in FE, where data is being turned to out of fear under the recent pressures of further funding cuts. Being much braver when it comes to data will have far better consequences for the future of our learners:

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And because I was home in Leamington Spa by 5.30pm for the first time in 18 months, and the park was quiet, I managed to play on this in the sensory park- before running away feeling a little silly!


I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this relaxed. Learning is clearly wonderful for the soul. I haven’t conducted any research. It’s just a hunch I’d like to trust.

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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