Secondary Teaching & Learning Excellence

9th, 10th & 11th January 2024 

Session content

Descriptions of the main themes and topics that our speakers intend to cover in their sessions are outlined below


DELIVERING TEACHING –Ten Top Tips for Teaching: How to plan, teach and assess great learning
Speaker:  Matt Bromley
Our opening keynote will be led by Matt Bromley – SecEd’s most prolific contributor who has written more than 150 best practice articles for SecEd, who is co-host of our award-winning podcast, and a familiar face at many of our events. In this practical session, Matt will aim to bring his vast back catalogue of SecEd articles to life! Matt will open the inaugural SecEd Live! event by sharing his 10 top tips for teachers – common characteristics of the best classrooms - and, by so doing, will build on the decade’s worth of best practice articles he’s written for SecEd. Matt has taught a lot of lessons over the last quarter-century and, as a school leader, has observed countless teachers toil away at the chalkface. While he’s the first to insist there’s no checklist or blueprint for teachers to follow, and that context is key and pragmatism all, he has come to conclude there's a set of characteristics shared by all the most effective teachers. These 10 features cover all aspects of planning, teaching, and assessing learning and will give food for thought and self-evaluation for those delivering at the chalkface and those leading our teaching teams in secondary schools. With this keynote, Matt will 'tee up' the rest of the day, providing useful insights about leading learning, teaching and learning, and removing barriers to learning. He’ll also provide plenty of links to further reading!

DELIVERING TEACHING – Why do we mark and what do we need to mark? Tips and tricks for your assessment, marking & feedback
Speaker: Chloe Testa

Why do we mark and what do we need to mark? This workshop will offer practical classroom strategies, tips and tricks for streamlining your assessment, marking and feedback while at the same time ensuring it has high impact. We will discuss feedback/marking as a tool to help us, including drawing on the latest research evidence on effective practice. We will also address the different elements of feedback for different subjects and different types of curriculum work – right/wrong answers versus extended writing or analysis for example. Then we will talk hard strategies for marking, including live marking, whole-class feedback, coded feedback, verbal feedback, considering the place and purpose of each approach. We ask what we assess and why we assess it, including keeping assessments straightforward and streamlined rather than trying to assess everything every half-term. And we will address the elephant in the room: how much of our marking is for the students’ benefit and how much is actually performative for senior leadership and Ofsted?

DELIVERING TEACHING – The why, what and how of test-enhanced learning: Making retrieval practice work in the classroom
Speaker: Kristian Still

Spaced retrieval practice, forgetting and relearning knowledge, pupil motivation, pre-testing, post-testing – the potential of the metacognitive techniques of test-enhanced learning to help your students remember more is clear. Indeed, test-enhanced learning can give teachers a blueprint for motivating your students to choose the most effective ways of learning, studying and revising. But what exactly is test-enhanced learning, why does it work, and how can you take advantage of it in your secondary school classroom? In this workshop, the author of Test-Enhanced Learning: A practical guide to improving academic outcomes for all students will offer practical insights into these techniques, explain how you can use them, which techniques might suit your teaching and your classroom best and common barriers to be aware of.

LEADING TEACHING – Managing workload: Essential practical tools for leading teaching
Speaker: Dr Robin Bevan

Teaching is hard work and can be very demanding. Is it possible to create a culture in which high expectations with outstanding outcomes occur without workload becoming excessive? There are simple workload monitoring and planning strategies that can help. This workshop will offer a case study presentation that will draw on the effectiveness and efficiency of whole-school workload approaches adopted at one leading secondary. This session will be particularly relevant to senior leadership leaders of teaching and learning as well as faculty leads/heads of department/subject.

LEADING TEACHING – Model, check, retrieve: Improving pedagogical practice with a universal yet bespoke approach
Speaker: Clare Duffy

This workshop will explore how the use of coaching within teaching and learning communities has enabled subject leaders at Uppingham Community College to effectively quality assure pedagogical practice, identifying and embedding strategies to drive improvement. Over the last two years, staff at Uppingham have worked in teaching and learning communities to develop their pedagogical practice, using a range of resources including the "Walkthru" materials. These communities facilitated CPD sessions, led by internal expert practitioners, focusing on key areas of teaching and learning and sharing innovative best practice. This universal approach to improving classroom practice has evolved into our core teaching fundamentals of "model, check, retrieve" with an embedded focus on ensuring these basics are consistently delivered for successful curriculum implementation across the school. Subject leaders may identify a further need and add to these three core areas, as a bespoke subject-specific teaching cluster. Our high trust culture encourages regular learning walks between colleagues with peer coaching conversations aimed at improving practice in these core areas. This workshop will explore the journey we have been on, and the lessons learnt, along with advice on how you can empower your middle leaders to lead on teaching and learning within your school setting.

REMOVING BARRIERS TO LEARNING – SEND & Inclusion: Lessons for mainstream secondary schools
Speaker: Bukky Yusuf

What lessons can mainstream secondary schools learn from the special school sector? This session will explore some of the best practices for SEND support in special school settings and identify how these approaches can be implemented within mainstream settings to facilitate more effective inclusion for SEND students. The session will consider in-classroom approaches to teaching, learning and behaviour as well as wider whole-school approaches.

DAY 2 

LEADING TEACHING – What are your golden threads of teaching and learning?
Speaker: Paul Ainsworth
Do you know what the golden thread of teaching and learning looks like in your subject, department or secondary school? This workshop is aimed at leaders of teaching and learning and will offer practical advice for how you can ensure consistency in curriculum delivery and teaching and learning practice – while at the same time allowing individual teachers the autonomy they need to support their students and lead their classrooms. The workshop will consider your long and medium term curriculum planning – how is that consistent across your subject, department or school? When you walk into a classroom, how can we ensure a consistent approach without stifling our teachers – from how you start the lesson, model learning and encourage oracy to work in books and retrieval assessment strategies? How does the teaching and learning incorporate and reflect the culture, vision and values of your school? When you undertake learning walks, what are the golden threads of teaching and learning for you?

LEADING TEACHING – Keep calm! Leading and developing your teaching team
Speaker: Patrick Cozier

Leading people is tough. Calm leaders have a well-developed sense of perspective. They accept that first and foremost, leadership is primarily about people not systems and processes. They can remain focused, productive, and optimistic when under extreme pressure. They prioritise long-term values, principles and purpose over short-term productivity and outcomes. As a leader of people, they convey a calm, caring and reassuring authority. This workshop will look at how leaders of teaching and learning in schools – including middle leaders within subjects or departments and senior leaders across schools – can support, develop, and inspire their teaching teams. Drawing on aspects of his "calm leadership" approach, which he has honed over the last 16 years as a school leader, Patrick Cozier will discuss your approach to leadership in order to get the best from your colleagues. The session will include a focus on challenging conversations, developing and leading teams, and ensuring consistency of practice.

DELIVERING TEACHING – Growth Mindset: Practical ideas for the secondary classroom
Speaker: Dr Gohar Khan

Dr Carol Dweck’s growth mindset research has proved revolutionary, but it can sometimes get lost in translation. This practical workshop will consider the day-to-day implementation of growth mindset. What does this actually look like in the secondary classroom and why is it important. We will discuss classroom strategies, including how we can embrace failure and deliver meaningful and thoughtful praise. Themes under discussion will include how we can adapt pedagogy to include growth mindset ideas, ideas for how activities can support this work, the power of parental engagement to support growth mindset, and what "normalising failure" actually looks like in the classroom. Ultimately, this workshop will discuss how we can encourage our students to embrace and talk openly about "failure" and bounce back from the setbacks they may encounter during their learning.

DELIVERING TEACHING – EAL strategies for multilingual classrooms
Speaker: Sheila Hopkins

The diversity to be found in today’s classrooms requires that EAL (English as an Additional Language) strategies be embedded within pedagogy and teaching and learning. This workshop will introduce practical strategies that teachers and other school staff can use within the integrated classroom to provide learners who use EAL with opportunities to develop English language proficiency alongside curriculum learning.

REMOVING BARRIERS TO LEARNING – Promoting mental health in the everyday classroom: Practical strategies for subject teachers
Sperker: Jean Gross CBE

This session will suggest do-able, research-based practices which teachers can use in the secondary classroom to help prevent mental health difficulties and support students who may be struggling with their mental health. Drawing on the Early Intervention Foundation/Anna Freud Centre’s recent Classroom Wellbeing Toolkit, it explores how ordinary teaching practices - from establishing relationships to giving feedback, helping students prepare for exams and helping them deal with work that is difficult - can provide opportunities to build students’ mental health.

DAY 3 

LEADING TEACHING – Six Pedagogical Principles: Developing a model for teaching, learning and behaviour
Speaker: Helen Webb
This workshop focuses on the thinking, ideas and approaches behind the teaching and learning model and the behaviour for learning model in place at Orchard Mead Academy. This thinking has been inspired by Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby’s book Making Every Lesson Count (2015) and its six interconnected pedagogical principles, which have formed the basis for the Orchard framework for great teaching. These are: challenge, explanation, modelling, deliberate practice, questioning, and feedback. The workshop will describe what each of these look like in the classroom and in teachers' pedagogy, how the framework has developed into a fully fledged model for model for teaching, learning and behaviour – including the school's "I do, we do, you do" strategy, its F.A.S.T. behaviours for learning, how teachers check for understanding, and review learning. The workshop will offer practical insights, lessons learned, and advice and inspiration for other schools.

LEADING TEACHING – Why I banned the word 'CPD': Putting the 'professional' back into your school's Professional Development programme
Speaker: Jon Tait 
When Jon Tait was in charge of reinvigorating his school's professional development programme he dropped the use of 'CPD' and changed how teachers viewed and engaged with professional development – with impressive results. This workshop will discuss why so many CPD programmes can fall flat in schools and how we can revamp and reform professional learning and development to support high standards of teaching across our classrooms.....

DELIVERING TEACHING – Why we must create dialogic spaces in our classrooms and how we can do it
Speaker: Jessica Richards

This workshop session will focus on the pedagogy of dialogic teaching and how creating dialogic spaces in classrooms can enable students to delve deeper into their learning by providing a form of "cognitive scaffolding". Originating from the works of Socrates, who believed that all learning is born from notions of dialogue and that questioning should elicit new thinking rather than probe for set answers, dialogic teaching has proven a valuable tool in raising student engagement and attainment across age groups. Sharing the iconic work of Robin Alexander, and other key researchers in this field, this workshop will look at how we create a dialogic culture in our classroom (and across our school) and how to mitigate the potential barriers and pitfalls that teachers can face when trying to implement dialogic teaching.

DELIVERING TEACHING – How do you define your pedagogy? Precision, practice & impact
Speaker: Dr Fiona Aubrey-Smith
The term pedagogy is generally used to refer to the strategies or methods used by teachers in their teaching practices. However, as teaching has become more research-informed, the use of the word pedagogy has been increasingly used to refer to theory, beliefs, methods, intentions, strategies, approaches, practices, and politicised pedagogy. This has led to a lack of precision in our thinking and discussions in schools – and perhaps inconsistent messages about how to improve future practice. This practical workshop will: Provide clear definitions for your pedagogical vocabulary as a teacher; help you to clarify your own pedagogical beliefs; set out practical examples that illustrate the importance of precision when talking about pedagogy; and illustrate why precision in pedagogy directly impacts learner experiences and, crucially, their outcomes.

REMOVING BARRIERS TO LEARNING – Neurology, pedagogy and poverty: How disadvantage impacts learning and what we can do about it
Speaker: Sean Harris 

What do recent research trends tell us about poverty/neurology? What do we know about the science of learning? And how do we use this information to help remove barriers to learning and make knowledge genuinely accessible for our most disadvantaged children? This workshop will offer insights into how poverty impacts the cognitive development of children and what teachers need to be aware of. The session will discuss practical and accessible classroom strategies to support the progress of disadvantaged children. It will include a focus on attention and what the research tells us about techniques for directing attention in the secondary classrooms without compromising learning?