Edfest – Day 1 – my takeaways

Making Every Lesson Count – Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby


I have more of an involvement with Teaching and Learning next year and when applying for my new position, I referenced this book as being at the heart of the TL across the faculty. The beauty of Shaun and Andy’s TL policy is that it is simple. Core principles that are at the heart of great TL. The book is fantastic – quite simply the best book on TL out there. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the core principles with plentiful examples of how the principles can be addressed across a range of subject classrooms.

Quote of the session: Responsive differentiation is better than planned differentiation.

Next steps:

  • We are in the process of writing our core principles with regard to TL. I am part of a group for this and don’t feel that I can’t branch out on my own with it.
  • However, I do think the core principles Shaun and Andy have identified are core principles of really effective teaching and, therefore, I will begin to see how they could marry with the principles we have identified.
  • Our new TL principles I don’t believe are going to be shared with staff until September so in the meantime I am quite keen to see what our students’ experiences of Shaun and Andy’s core principles are and our students’ perceptions of these principles in their everyday classroom experience.
  • Once the principles have been shared, I want to ensure there is explicit consideration for these principles when creating new schemes of work. As Shaun and Andy have suggested, not all principles would be used every lesson but I want to work with Subject Leaders to ensure these principles are embedded across schemes and we are developing strategies to support these principles.
  • Andy Tharby and James Theo have both blogged their TL bulletin for staff. I think this is a fab idea and would love to see us introduce this with a focus on our core principles so I am going to suggest this to my line manager and other SCLs.
  • I want to begin to develop a bank of strategies that will support teachers in strengthening their practice in these key areas. A bit like a teacher toolkit.
  • I am also really keen to develop a staff reading group. Choosing a TL book to read and discuss once a term.

Explicit Instruction – Greg Ashman


I really enjoyed this session. I’m really interested in developing subject knowledge at the moment and how this subject knowledge is communicated and practised. Greg started off by exploring the definition of explicit instruction to ensure clarity. Once this had been established, Greg shared Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction which are below:

  • Begin the lesson with a short review of previous learning
  • Present new material in small steps with students practice after each step
  • Ask a large number of questions and check the responses of all students
  • Provide models
  • Guide student practice
  • Check for student understanding
  • Obtain a high success rate
  • Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks
  • Regular monitor independent practice
  • Build in weekly and monthly reviews

It is striking that these principles of instruction are quite closely aligned to the TL principles from Shaun and Andy. For me, this reinforces the importance of these principles to great TL practice.

Next steps:

  • It will be interesting to see how structuring lessons in this way – e.g. with recap every lesson etc so I am going to plan my year 9 unit of work in this way to see what the impact on the students.


Leadership transitions – Jill Berry

I adore Jill Berry. She has a lovely persona, is incredibly experienced and knowledgeable and is a great example of a woman in leadership. For that reason she inspires me. I have just been promoted within my school to a role that is new and completely unfamiliar. I am incredibly nervous about the transition I need to make and the unknown of what the core of my business will be and therefore this felt as a really good session choice. Interestingly, I am also dealing with the transition of two new leaders coming into our academy as well.

Jill is brilliant at getting everyone thinking and talking and a range of questions were thrown out to get us thinking. Questions such as

  • What is your current sphere of influence? Do you have aspirations to expand it?
  • Are you making the most of current opportunities? Are you enjoying them or relishing them?
  • What are the particular demands or challenges of your current role? Are you building capacity?
  • Are there specific opportunities, satisfactions and rewards in the role you aspire to which motivate and drive you?

Jill spoke about the importance in having a vision and going back to your core values. She asked us to consider what our vision was for the leaders we want to be and what our personal / professional values are.

Jill asked us to consider what some of the challenges are with regard to leadership transitions and how these can be overcome. Here’s the list of what we came up with:

  • Be receptive / Active listening and learning before doing anything or making any decisions
  • Draw upon the expertise of others
  • You inherit a lot / legacy – inheriting is inhabiting
  • Lead in period
  • Consult
  • Reflect and build in thinking time
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself
  • Sustainable balance in lives

Next steps:

  • I want to spend time working through my core values to really focus me in before I start my new role.  (Mary Myatt’s book is fabulous book for exploring values)
  • I am also keen to frame a vision for the work I want to complete in my new role with my core values at the heart of this.
  • I am going to email Jill as she has kindly put together some book and blog suggestions which I am going to read over the summer

3 thoughts on “Edfest – Day 1 – my takeaways

  1. Great to read this Freya – pleased you had such a positive day. Hope you manage to get the balance right this summer, resting and refreshing so that you are energised when term starts and ready for the next stage of the adventure, in addition to doing some preparation so that you feel you can make the most productive beginning in your new role.

    Please do get in touch if I can help in any way at all, either as you make the transition into your new professional identity, or once you’re established in the role.

    I have every confidence that you will make a success of it! They are lucky to have you.

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