In 2017, after 16 years of teaching, developing from a novice to an outstanding practitioner, working as a behavioural specialist, completing the NASENCo qualification and becoming a teaching Deputy Head, I walked away from education.
The long hours, the stacks of marking, the demands of preparing children to pass tests, achieving standards, tracking data, planning outstanding “generational” lessons, differentiating for the least and most able, managing behaviour, communicating with parents, jumping through government hoops and all the many other jobs that teaching involves took their toll, as it does for many. I felt broken.
However, the passion for education was not gone. Recognising that there are other ways to have an impact, I spent days, weeks and months reading about the issues that face the education industry and searching for ways to provide a solution, to assist under-pressure teachers and heads in achieving a balance to their lives, while allowing the children under their care achieve their potential. I knew there had to be a better way.
It was while reading an article on the 2018 Teacher of the Year awards that I realised, the challenge wasn’t finding solutions – they already existed. So many individuals inside the education system were doing wonderful work creating solutions for the problems that they faced. The challenge was to spread those solutions, allowing the best school leaders and teachers to have a greater impact on the education system.
As a teacher, it can be hard to share your best ideas, you work long hours just to ensure that your own children are doing well – compared with similar students nationally. Imagine giving your best ideas to other schools so they can improve and raise their standards!
Education has essentially been made competitive by league tables and performance targets. But in a system like this, there are winners and losers. Imagine challenging the nature of that system through collaboration and raising the standards not just in your own school, but in a host of other schools equally prepared to invest in the future of their pupils.
In return, those schools share their experiences, ideas and strategies that you can tailor to suit your setting.
Recognising that each school is unique and that there is no “one-size fits all” answer, the key to increasing the impact of teachers is to encourage them to engage in supportive dialogue, to meet as equals and through collaboration solve their common issues.
No more attending courses run by experts who don’t know your school and it’s unique needs. Experts who have written books, but haven’t taught in a school like yours.
Education Roundtables was born to engage education professionals in dialogue, discovering the common challenges they face and provide a forum for them to collaborate and find bespoke solutions.
Participants not only feel part of something bigger, as a result of sharing their experiences, they also gain huge insights from working with a network of heads and teachers outside of their normal sphere.
The mission is simple; To give teachers the capacity to impact a greater number of pupils by enabling them to overcome the challenges they face through conversations that matter.
Connect. Collaborate. Support. Lead