CRSAAT Leadership Conference

All Senior Leadership Teams across the Trust met for the first leadership conference from 4pm-7pm on Wednesday 7th March at Central Assay Studio office.  Eric Griffiths Chair of the Trust welcomed all and the leadership teams worked together on the future strategic plan/vision for the Trust with CEO Guy Shears. Deena Frost (Head of School Abbeywood) and Di Smith (Executive Head and Primary Lead) shared a fabulous video clip of Year 2 pupils developing their discussion skills through the vehicle of Philosophy for Children (P4C) which can be accessed throughout Abbey Wood website ( .  Debra Kidd author of ‘Uncharted Territories – adventures in learning’ then delivered the main and highly engaging slot on ‘Oracy’- one of the key CRSAAT 6 attributes.  Debra’s pedagogical approaches are rooted in classroom practice.  She is a current practitioner and teaches across Primary and Secondary, working on projects within schools and in the classroom.

Debra’s uplifting and thoughtful presentation was on the importance and complexity of Oracy.  The focus was on curriculum models which place talk at the heart and referred to bodies of research which have differing aspects but all value high quality talk (EEF 2017 on Dialogic Talk Improving Outcomes; Reswick and Michael 2007/17- Child to Child talk and Massachusetts Institute Technology research showing the importance of the reciprocal turn taking nature of talk rather than simply the belief that it is the exposure to a number of words which makes the difference).  Debra talked about tiered vocabulary (Doug Lemov) and the importance of immersing children in language including using role play; arguing that when children go into the status of a character and use ‘I’ it heightens vocabulary, enables them to emotionally connect and they can increase formality as they play out the ‘role’.  A central message throughout the talk was that Oracy gives children a chance of happiness.  Oracy can improve confidence – there is a language of opportunity- but talk is also a basic human need and the role of talk in our classrooms is vitally important.  At the heart of the talk was whether we are creating a curriculum for the best interest of the child- with awe and wonder- where pedagogical approaches are rooted in research and the child is being asked to consider big questions.  Oracy is a one of the key CRSAATs attributes and plans to form a working group across the Trust to explore ways to pull together work on Oracy will be the next step.

Link to and link to her book ‘Uncharted Territories- adventures in learning’.

Other books mentioned on the Leadership conference and brilliant reads are:

Making Every Lesson Count (secondary)‘ and ‘Making Every Primary Lesson Count’