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COVID has shown us the future of CPD

05 Mar 2021   |   Natalie Hardman, Chief Administration Officer   |   Wellspring Academy Trust

The numbers speak for themselves: 1,700 people online for a single session, more than 5,000 individual sessions booked, 130 sessions to choose from.  One day.  45 presenters.  40 schools and an Education Support Centre work force.  Multiple locations.

Welcome to COVID-safe CPD.

Wellspring held its annual Festival of Learning on the Friday before the Half Term.  Circumstances dictated that the event was held wholly online.  Through it, we discovered the future of CPD for schools.  Using the Google Education platform, we were able to provide a blended offer featuring an everybody attend keynote first thing in the morning from Jaz Ampaw-Farr and a series of choose your own learning workshops throughout the day.  Workshops were limited to forty-five minutes each with ample break times in between in order to keep participation high.  The day included specialist workshops for Office Managers and Estates teams in addition to workshops on personal wellbeing, curriculum planning and behaviour support.

Wellspring is a community of twenty-five Academies in Yorkshire and Greater Lincolnshire.  The online workshops were all led by professionals from within our own community, alongside a small number of invited guests.  We were delighted to welcome colleagues from a further fifteen non-Wellspring schools who joined us in our Festival of Learning.  Professional generosity is an important part of our charitable purpose.  Welcoming these colleagues help us to push the boundaries of our technological capabilities even further.

The twittersphere was very active throughout the day with comments on the day that included: ‘’I’ve learned so much, from some great practitioners, that I will take back to my role. A truly memorable, fantastic day’’

And our plans for next year?

already begun our planning for a bigger and better Festival of Learning next year.  We aim to invite more schools to join us because we believe that schools achieve greater resilience when their staff have the opportunity to share ideas with and to learn alongside peers.  We hope to have at least a limited attend in person option for those people who prefer.  We hope that some of our students will be able to share their remarkable journeys and pathways to transformation with our staff teams.

More broadly, we are investing in our digital infrastructure at each of our school sites.  We are developing a Youtube channel and our means to broadcast live and recorded professional learning content.  We are developing learning content in areas that are key to our vision, values and philosophy that include quality SEND practice, behaviour support through relationship building, inclusion in schools in addition to leadership development, curriculum innovation and personal wellbeing.  We believe that we have seen the future of CPD in schools – and it is online.

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