Over 400 staff and governors from all six schools in SMART multi academy trust came together at Liskeard School & Community College on Monday 19 February to collaborate, share knowledge and be inspired at the inaugural SMART Day. The day forms part of SMART’s shared commitment to E.Q.U.I.P all students, staff and governors with the skills they need for success
The day opened with SMART CEO Dan Buckley’s introductory keynote, bringing together all teaching, non-teaching staff and governors to focus on collaboration across the MAT. This was followed by guest speakers Roger Pope CBE, who is CEO of Academies South West, and Director of Research at Education South West Research School, Lorwyn Randall.
Both Roger and Lorwyn praised the Trust for focussing on current research and using the best practice of staff to inspire ideas that really work. Roger Pope compared this to research in the field of medicine and how fighting infection requires team work from the whole organisation if it is to work. In the same way, educating children requires the whole Trust to work together at every level.
Lorwyn Randall spoke on how reflection and feedback methods have developed in recent years, and how important it is for all who work with young people to be reflective, to challenge, to question and to engage in new ideas.
Following the keynotes, staff attended five workshops they had chosen from an extensive range led by over 70 teachers, non-teachers and governors from all six schools in SMART. These ranged from photography and social media, to new forms of marking, working with community groups and challenging prejudices. The broad focus of the topics ensured that both teaching and support staff would have a wide choice when selecting their sessions.
After lunch, staff were challenged to work in cross school groups to create STAR projects, working with other attendees to take inspiration from their favourite session of the day, and plan how they can apply it practically in their work. Attendees who shared a common inspiration will remain in contact with one another, reporting back on how the project impacts on their work.
CEO Dan Buckley commented, “It was inspiring to see such active collaboration between colleagues from all six schools and so many projects involving both primary and secondary colleagues. All of the 70+ presenters received positive feedback for their sessions in the evaluation even though many were presenting for the first time in their career. Presenters and audiences took collaboration to a whole new level and I’m looking forward to seeing these ideas in action”.
Comments on the evaluation forms confirmed the impact the day had; “One of the most useful training days I have ever attended”, “What a great day! I really appreciated the opportunity to share information from other professionals within SMART”. One participant summarised the day well “Great sessions led by really passionate speakers – thank you!”