Nick Dennis's Blog

Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

Tag: Alistair Smith


The Teaching, Learning & Assessment Conference on March 16th, 2013 at Berkhamsted has been a pleasure to organise. Helped by Neal Watkin, Dai Barnes and Laura Knight as a Steering Group and the workshop leaders giving their time freely, we have been able to create something which is focussed on learning and improving the craft of teaching.

I freely admit that the model for the conference comes from the Schools History Project national conference held in June/July every year. To be part of that conference is inspiring; excellent teachers freely giving up their time to share with the purpose of improving the quality of teaching for all.

Aware of the financial burdens schools are under, we deliberately picked a Saturday for the event. This would remove cover costs for people attending and also allow us to get as many great teachers sharing their experience without feeling they were sacrificing the progress of their students on a school day.

We were also very mindful about keeping the costs as low as possible. From the beginning, it was never intended to be a profit making exercise. As a result, it has been agreed that £40 for entry is about right as it will cover costs.

The price covers talks by Alistair Smith, Professor Bill Lucas and Dr Bill Rankin. In their own right, each one is an excellent speaker and you would be very fortunate to hear just one of them at a conference priced five times the amount we have settled for. Each speaker was invited specifically because they have a deep appreciation of the learning process and the practicalities that need to be considered if students are to progress.

The price also includes three workshops by excellent teachers and I would urge you all to break out of your subject areas for at least one session so you can benefit from the talent and wisdom of people who are ambitious for their students and who work very hard to improve their own professional learning.

The price also includes breakfast, lunch, refreshments and other resources for you to take away on the day. We are still working on elements and further announcements will come appear on the conference website next week where tickets can also be bought (there will be limited numbers).

I do hope that you will be able to join in this celebration of collaboration, learning, teachers and teaching next March.


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Conference Update #2

I am very pleased to announce that we can now confirm the final main speaker for the Teaching, Learning & Assessment Conference at Berkhamsted on the 16th March 2013.

In addition to renowned trainer and writer Alistair Smith (who has produced a new set of training resources for schools called ‘Step Up‘) and the thoughtful, challenging but always practical Professor Bill Lucas (seen through the ‘Expansive Education‘ Network) speaking to the whole conference, Dr Bill Rankin has agreed to share his thoughts and intellect to the event. Dr Rankin has been a leading light in the use of mobile technology in the US and his talks are always deepely rooted in scholarship and a desire to improve learning. I highly recommend viewing the video below:

With quality workshop leaders from all sectors and Key Stages and speakers of international standing, the conference is really shaping up to be something special. The only piece missing is you! We are working hard on pricing and are hopeful that tickets will be available online in mid-November. If you have any questions about the conference, please post below. I am really looking forward to seeing you on March 16th to share, discuss and learn.

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Conference Update #1

I love good news especially when I know others (as well as myself) will benefit. This weekend I had two good pieces of news which I am really pleased to relay.

The first piece is that Alistair Smith, author of Accelerated LearningLearning to Learn, the Secrets of Successful Schools and renowned trainer has agreed to speak at the Teaching, Learning & Assessment conference at Berkhamsted School on the 16th March 2013.

The second piece of good news is that Professor Bill Lucas, co-author (with Guy Claxton) of New Kinds of Smart, The Learning Powered School  and co-director of Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester has also agreed to speak.

With workshops run by outstanding teachers from across the country alongside distinctive and challenging key speakers, we believe that the conference will be a unique learning experience for attendees with lots of practical, effective ideas. Ticket prices and details about booking will appear on the blog and the Berkhamsted School website in October. What I can reveal is that the event price will be pleasing to everyone!

Places will be limited on the Saturday to make the workshops manageable so please bear this in mind when tickets are released. To enhance the weekend and to provide as much collaboration as possible, we will also be holding a TeachMeet on Friday 15th March which will be free to everyone. Further details will also be released in the next few months.

The response to the call for workshop proposals has been fantastic and we are still looking for more suggestions. If you would consider presenting a workshop or would like further information, please sign up to our Google Form on the original announcement post.

We look forward to seeing you on the 16th March! Stay tuned for further updates….

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