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Ormiston Victory Academy's TeachMeet bringing together teachers to share and discover practices in education, says Tallulah Speed

Posted by Hannah Oakman | April 23, 2015 | Teaching

Amongst a workforce trained to teach, it’s perhaps unsurprising that informal meet-ups to educate peers are popular. The isolated nature of many schools coupled with the interpersonal sensitivity required of the profession lends the sector perfectly to conventions, creating support networks for teachers who might otherwise find themselves devoid of anywhere to turn for advice relevant to their level or subject.

One such event is Ormiston Victory Academy’s TeachMeet, which held their second event this spring. The day was organised by Nicky Pettit, Assistant Principal and Director of Learning and Teaching at the Costessey Academy. “TeachMeet [...] was something I was passionate about setting up, as I was keen to get Norfolk schools working together as much as possible,” she says. While TeachMeets are not a new concept, Pettit’s take on the event involved adding a little more structure and organisation, to secure more delegates by reassuring schools of the value of the day to their staff. “School leaders really value the sharing of best practice but understandably need to ensure that the CPD will support the training needs of their staff and be time well spent,” explains Pettit. “Apart from the great reviews of TeachMeet 2014, I think it was this extra structure which has added to its popularity this year.”

The whole-day training event featured a rich and diverse agenda of over 120 workshops, presentations and sessions. Session titles from the day included ‘Building blocks for communication: Lego therapy’, ‘Honour-based abuse and forced marriage’, and ‘What's so tricky about division anyway?’

Several local educational companies also set up stands on the day, seeking partnerships and other collaboration opportunities with schools. But it wasn’t all work and no play – one networking event took the form of a crazy golf game, while delegates also had the opportunity to try their hand at archery and even receive beauty treatments from the Academy’s beauty students.

Unsurprisingly given the vast spectrum of events on offer, Pettit described the feedback garnered from among the 500 attendees as “really positive”. She continued: “Delegates commented on how much they enjoyed being able to choose the sessions they attended and having the chance to talk about and reflect on their pedagogy with colleagues from a range of schools.”

As for Pettit, she feels strongly that collaboration is key to establishing successful, experience-led practices within the teaching sector: “For me, sharing ideas in this way works really well because most schools across the country are facing similar challenges, such as changes to the curriculum, exam specifications and the KS3 assessment, but often they are tackling these issues in different ways. I think it’s great to see the different solutions schools are trying, to ensure that they have the highest provision of education for their young people.”

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