A rather RACI #Edfest


A rather RACI #Edfest

22 Jun ’14 Reflections Teaching 0

Look, I will be brutally honest with you, there was very little that was raci “racey” about my #Educationfest though there was a good deal that was of value and two, as yet, unanswered questions. RACI was just an acronym I picked up and it made for a much more intriguing post title. The very fact I bothered at all, implies to me at least, that I am a better writer (and English teacher) today, than I was when I first started writing this blog.

With the majority of Wellington Academy staff accepting an invitation to attend, and Wellington College staff of course on home soil, there were numerous “Wellington” conversations (I arrived at 7:20am and left a little before 10pm) as well as the customary Twitter 3D introductions (even if Martin Robinson @SurrealAnarchy did rather embarrassingly quiz me numerous time, “Who, Kristian-Still? So who are you on Twitter? @Kristianstill? So who are you?” – to the delight of my colleagues) and caught up with some familiar and highly respected professionals, plus the keynotes, presentations and seminars.

What we got right?

My first reflection. This year I pushed on an open door and we were able to offer an invite to all our Wellington Academy staff. We laid on a coach from The Wellington Academy (8am and leaving the College at 3pm). We offered a limited number of staff places to opt out of the visit if staff wanted to make an alternative and agreed professional visit. The ten alternative spots were filled. Second, belatedly (sorry team) we opened the invitation to associate staff. Many joined us.

The Education Festival is without question fantastic value for a self-serve professional development event, the menu is vast, and I do not think we were the only school to draw that conclusion. £50 or less, given there is a multi-buy discount for more than 5 staff and a potential “Student Voice/Leaders/prefect” reward event too. Don’t scoff – there were a hatful of student workshops and activities (and of course Facebook brought Oculous Rift).

Stand-out memory snapshots – colleagues from the languages team discussing “we going together” sessions and “were going it alhttps://twitter.com/SimonKnight100ons.” The finance team walking between sessions and adding how much they were getting from the day. The two or three abbreviated conversations ‘cos “I on route to see XYZ, I catch you later.”

Offering to pay the additional fee for staff that wish to attend both days.

Introducing @SimonKnight100 the conference team and encouraging a great SEN presence.

What we could do better?

Edfest 2015 is already in the diary. That is an improvement. Todo list;

Communicate the date early, make it clear what is on offer. Make better arrangements for the transport.

Departure from the Academy will be at 0800hrs prompt. The returning coach will leave at 1500hrs although if you indicate you would like to stay for more time and experience more of Edfest, it may be possible to arrange a coach for a later departure time.

Our coach departed late and left at 1500hrs. The outcome was that staff missed some great talks. Managing the requirements of the contracted school day and the opportunities of the the Festival day needs to be investigated further.

Discuss / plan accommodation either on the Thursday, or Thursday / Friday. Two nights camping, £37 per person – could be fun if a dept camped together? Glamping – variable £150pp for two nights, same applies. Then there is the usual Premier / Holiday Inn types £70 for a twin room and B&Bs. What can we offer and achieve if we plan well in advance?

I will add here when we receive the feedback forms.

What I learnt

Getting to Edfest early is never a bad thing. Parking. Getting an early coffee, getting your wifi sorted, reading the Twitterati arrival /  “I’m stuck in traffic” tweets and planning your route through the days programme is a very pleasant way to start your Edfest experience.

Glenys Stacey presented Ofquals position on qualification reform. From her seminar;

  • School can expect more comprehensive Assessment Outcomes (though few in the room shared her view that the current AOs are wooly – they are best light-weight in my view).
  • Teachers can expect more content and great specificity of content in the new qualifications too.
  • Grades across specifications will be consistent. Interesting, more consistent than they are currently? Will NEA be more consistent across specifications too?

Prof Rob Coe was calm, collected, articulate and intriguing and he shared his slides. He presentation “Reclaiming professionalism: Improving teaching” was informative and he was engaging. Will I return to this training experience in 6 months time? Probably not. We will use and take note of some of the key messages he shared.

As for Q/A. I asked what three things would he do differently, if he were back in the classroom teaching.

A – He would be using praise more carefully. (He talked about the balance of challenge and praise.)

I look forward to hearing what the other two changes / strategies he would make at some point.

Lastly RACI – a simple leadership acronym. Responsibility, accountability, consulted and informed.

  • Responsible – Who is responsible for the execution of the task?
  • Accountable – Who is accountable for the tasks and signs off the work?
  • Consulted – Who are the subject matter experts who to be consulted?
  • Informed – Who are the people who need to be updated of the progress?

What I likes about David Hayes (Oldham Oasis Academy) seminar was it was built upon real experience, warts and all. Less racey, more real life.

Hurdles not barriers.

A comment worth noting.

One final point, that the unexpected / unplanned can present some very positive opportunities. The Education Secretary’s hour delay was hugely frustrating however Jimmy Mulville was brilliant and the early evening soiree had, literally, hundreds of teachers talking teaching, (what else do teachers do when thrust into unplanned conversation) whilst sharing a glass of something in their hands.

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Oh and of course we got the weather right.





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