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The BlueSky Festival of Learning is back this month with some of the education sectors most highly regarded experts offering training and development to give our early career professionals a boost in difficult times.
Our Festival of Learning is back this month with an expanded range of sessions aimed at supporting and inspiring trainee and early career teachers around the country and featuring some of the leading experts in the field of teacher training and development.
When we held the first festival in the summer, which attracted more than 9,000 people to 33 events it was our commitment to provide something for professionals at a time of massive upheaval.
It seems a while ago now – and so much has happened since – but schools were thrust into reorganising the curriculum and adapting to learning online at terrific speed and we wanted to help people to cope with these unforeseen changes, adjust their teaching to the new environment and for our trainee and early career teachers enable them to still be able to pursue their own training and development.
We're building on these aspirations in our second festival which begins on Tuesday November 17. As previously, we're supporting in particular ITT trainees, NQTs and RQTs, though all are welcome to attend.
These young professionals in schools are dealing with the same issues and in exactly the same context as colleagues with much more experience and resilience and one of the motivations for our second event was to reward this cohort with some in-depth support for some of the country's leading education thinkers and leaders to thank them for stepping up in the way that so many have.
So there's a huge range of input from experts, school leaders and top practitioners to help guide and inspire. They include Professor Samantha Twiselton, Director of the Sheffield Institute of Education at Sheffield Hallam University who is speaking on the importance of early-career teacher support and development
Warren Carratt, CEO, Nexus Multi-Academy Trust on mastering one's own mindset and Peps Mccrea, Dean of Learning Design, Ambition Institute exploring how to build motivation for learning. Click here for the for the full list of speakers.
We've also added some elements to address the more holistic needs of our new teachers so there are yoga sessions – including ones you can do at your desk! – with Elena Fulton, Director, Wellbeing Yoga & Pilates plus mindfulness and meditation with Iris Gudsteinsdottir.
The content is, of course, open to colleagues at any career stage but I'm very conscious that new teachers are experiencing an early career like no other.
Talking to colleagues in the schools that we work with, I know that one of our fears as a profession, for the longer term, is the damage the pandemic might inflict on this new generation, undermining the resilience that they are trying to develop in their early years, chipping away at their enthusiasm and sapping their mental energy so very early on. We have long-standing issues with recruitment and retention in teaching and it's vital that we don't allow the pandemic to exacerbate them.
So I want those new teachers to be re-inspired and reinvigorated in how they approach their classrooms.
Anyone coming into teaching wants to make a difference and you can lose sight of that in troubled times. So our festival is also about pulling back and helping people to recognise what a glorious profession this is and what an incredible impact teachers can have on young lives. Hearing from people who have been on the journey and can share their expertise and knowledge will, I hope, help those at the start of it to ride out this challenging time and reaffirm to them that they have made the right choice in choosing teaching as a career.
The BlueSky Festival of Learning starts on Tuesday 17th November and runs until the beginning of December with daily am and pm sessions.
As in the summer, all of the sessions are free to anyone who registers and will be viewable after the event, too, via a free BlueSky career portfolio.