Nov 2017
The Leadership Conference 2017 – Leading for Better Social Mobility, Making a Difference for Doncaster

The Partners in Learning Annual Leadership Conference took place on 16th and 17th November 2017. The two days covered everything Social Mobility…What it means to be a Social Mobility Area nationally, in Doncaster and for our member schools. Workshops were held to provide our delegates with essential continuous professional development.

In addition to our very own Janet Foster, Helen Redford-Hernandez and Helen Bellinger, we were thrilled to have been able to secure key note presentations from:

  • Sarah Lewis, Deputy Director DfE Opportunity Area Team
  • Professor Chris Husbands, Chair of Doncaster Social Mobility Opportunity Area Board
  • Stephen Fraser, Director of International Partnerships, Education Endowment Foundation
  • Juliette Yardley, Laughology Expert and Specialist in the Importance of Emotional Health

Sarah Lewis got the Thursday underway by explaining in detail “What it means to be a Social Mobility Opportunity Area” as a whole. Sarah disclosed where the 12 opportunity areas are and why these were selected. The 12 areas will be prioritised for additional support by receiving a share of new funding for specific targeted local work. It was insightful to be shown what the SMOA wants to achieve, what has already happened, what the challenges are and what has gone well to date. Sarah also communicated on how they are working with local partners. This filtered into the presentation by Professor Chris Husbands on…

“Delivering our Social Mobility Mission for Doncaster” Chris discussed how the Opportunity Areas are an approach built on what we know and what we need to do to achieve our goals. It was inspiring to see how Doncaster are paving the way in education and to also gain an understanding of the work that has been involved and that continues to develop.

Friday morning got off to an engaging start with the EEF’s Stephen Fraser. Stephen spoke on a global scale about “Evidence-informed leadership: balancing confidence and context”. Here are just some of the aspects:

  • How to close the attainment gap
  • We need evidence to give teachers confidence
  • The notion of co-define – what relevance is there to teachers in classrooms across the world
  • How and why is the toolkit assembled

Stephen made suggestions on how we can move forward such as “we learn by doing work together”.  The most poignant statement that Stephen made was “The challenge of being consistently good for all children in schools is the greatest challenge we face” and we have to agree.

Following on from the mid conference workshops (and a hearty lunch), we were delighted to be part of Juliette Yardley’s humorous yet factual and thought provoking “Bringing out the best in every child”. We were challenged to think about our own sets of behaviour and how this is received by children, to quote “laughing at yourself teaches your children to, laughter and humour can change the way we think”. The audience embraced the light-hearted atmosphere which tied up the end of the conference successfully.

If you want to be part of next years conference, please do not hesitate to contact us.