It’s Official... #WeArePioneering

It’s Official... #WeArePioneering
Whole School Community

Brentwood School is living up to its #WeArePioneering hashtag, fast establishing itself as a thought leader in the world of education, and an innovator when it comes to staff professional development.

Two members of the Brentwood School teaching faculty and a governor took leading roles as presenters of ‘Friday Fests’ - two Continuing Professional Development (CPD) days which formed part of Festival of Education 2021. 

Festival of Education is an annual event, this year held remotely, and is described as one of the ‘most exciting, credible and inspiring education events of the year’. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson officially opened #EducationFest which took place across two weeks between June 16th and 30th and brought together a hugely diverse range of speakers, exhibitors, practitioners and thought-leaders.

Our expert practitioners, Miss Alice Miller, Deputy Head of Staffing, Co-curricular and Operations, and Miss Sophie St Clair Jones, Head of Research and Development, addressed peers on the theme Developing a research-informed, bespoke professional development programme.

Meanwhile Brentwood School governor Mr Sharath Jeevan, hosted another session entitled How can school leaders be more ‘pirate’ in a post-pandemic school system? Mr Jeevan is Founder & Executive Chairman of Intrinsic Labs whose remit is to ‘help organisations reignite their inner drive and solve deep motivation challenges.’

In their session, Miss Miller and Miss St Clair Jones spoke about the in-house professional development programme at Brentwood School and the dedication which had gone into making it both research-informed and bespoke for staff.

They highlighted the factors which have made the Brentwood programme so successful as well as the barriers they had had to overcome; offering advice to attendees interested in running a similar programme in their school or workplace.

Brentwood’s whole school professional development journey started in 2016 and hard work and investment had cultivated an organisation whose CPD model was both progressive and evidence-based with a shared methodology -  a grassroots programme to suit the needs of individual members of staff.

Miss St Clair Jones emphasised the importance of feedback and evaluation; the notion of action research; the prioritising of facilitator training and Brentwood's relationship with UCL Institute of Education. The school’s trailblazing continued with an established Ideas Fair, celebrating hard work and sharing best practice, presentations to parents through a range of Parent Talks, and the publication of an in-house journal, aptly-named The Pioneer. 

Mr Jeevan invited educators to be more pirate; to take risks and push boundaries. Teaching was an intrinsically purposeful profession which was all about helping and serving young people. The question was how to keep that front and central despite the many distractions and bureaucracy.

His timely presentation outlined how a post-pandemic education system offered the opportunity to dramatically shift school culture as we know it, where Ofsted regulations are often prioritised above nurturing and learning, and how the framework of intrinsic motivation is the foundation to rebuild schools as they should be.

‘Friday Fests’ featured over 200 CPD sessions, seminars and discussions. You can watch Miss Miller and Miss St Clair Jones’ session here.

You can listen to Mr Jeevan’s talk to the National College of Education about Intrinsic Motivation & Purpose here.

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It’s Official... #WeArePioneering