A perfect day to put our professionalism under the microscope

Alan Thomson reports on SET’s second annual conference, where delegates had a chance to hear, share and discuss good ideas and enjoy the camaraderie of teaching in such an energising sector.

The second annual conference of the Society for Education and Training (SET) saw more than 350 delegates gather in Birmingham for a day packed with professional learning, sharing, networking and catching up with friends and colleagues. More than 170 providers, stakeholder organisations and companies were represented by delegates who attended the conference in the Vox, at the NEC, on 6 November. The conference, titled ‘Promoting Professionalism’, was introduced by the new chair of the SET Management Board, Major Jim Crompton, who is second in command at the British Army’s Staff Leadership School, and the new vice-chair, Dr Barbara Van der Eecken, director of quality and service standards at the training provider, Babington. (See News, page 5). Both Jim and Barbara stressed that teachers and trainers are stronger working together to develop and share their professional knowledge through their daily activities at work, and through their membership of SET. David Russell, chief executive of the Education and

Training Foundation (ETF) and SET, picked up on the theme in his morning keynote address in which he outlined how education and training policy is developed. He concluded by likening policy to the weather, creating the climate in which teaching and learning take place. David said that practitioners were in a position to

affect most of the drivers of policy development and change, but not individually.

of developing future leaders.” Nafisah Graham-Brown, ELATT, during a panel debate on the power of coaching in leadership development


for our students, but we don’t necessarily do them for our colleagues. That’s why I got involved in coaching; it’s invaluable in terms

“Sometimes we do all these great things

“As an organisation the ETF tries to influence the weather and, as SET becomes bigger and more vocal, then SET too will begin to influence the weather,” David said. (See photo, top right on page 27). Another highlight of the morning session was the panel discussion (photo top left) on technical pedagogy chaired by Sarah Simons, founder of UKFEchat. Sarah was joined by panellists Alison Brightwell,

hairdressing/barbering lecturer and course coordinator at East Durham College; Andy Armitage, teacher, teacher educator and author, and Stephen Mariadas, chief executive at South West Institute of Technology. There were morning and afternoon breakout sessions on a range of topics: English, mental health and wellbeing, digital education, technical education, early careers workshops and SEND (see page 27). Geoff Petty, teacher, author and inTuition columnist

(top right), ran two workshops aimed at early career teachers. His morning session looked at formative assessment and questioning to aid learning and understanding. In the afternoon Geoff talked delegates through the power of planning for topic, as opposed to lesson planning, and he outlined strategies to encourage learners to revisit, and otherwise reuse, what they have learned in order to make it stick. A fascinating panel discussion on the usefulness of coaching in developing leadership kicked off the

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