Thoughts on Northern Rocks 2015

At this moment I am recovering from infected horsefly bites on both feet and still feeling a bit spaced out from antibiotics, painkillers and anti- histamines, so the events of yesterday have taken on a bit of a dream-like quality!
Despite having to battle through the pain barrier, when every step felt like I was wading through broken glass, I still managed to really enjoy my first #NRocks and hope that the lovely Emma and Debra will find enough energy to carry on with it next year!

I am not going to analyse in depth what people said in which workshop but want to give a more impressionistic feel of how the day went. There is always a danger when you look forward to something for months ahead that you will be disappointed but, aside from having poorly feet , the day lived up to my expectations.

It was an early start to catch the Leeds train but I was excited to be travelling with @cherrylkd and @clyn40 . We had a smooth journey to the venue and there was a real buzz when we arrived and a great welcome. @emmaannhardy looked gorgeous and was taller than I expected.@debrakidd was wearing a lovely dress and came to give me a hug. It’s great when tweeps turn out to be just as nice in the flesh as they appear on Twitter!

I immediately started to look for other tweep buddies….it took a while to locate @rachelrossiter and @DiLeed who I haven’t met before and was pleased to find they are just as I expected. Rachel couldn’t stop hugging me and kept asking “do you think I’m the same?” Di looked nothing like an egg (quelle surprise) and is a cool and elegant lady….and she does have fetching purple hair!!

We moved to the gymnasium for the introductions and panel discussions but it was hard to hear at times as there was some sort of games match going on in adjacent hall. I was impressed by @cyclingkev (NUT) and so glad to be part of the union! …but didn’t agree with anything much that Jonathan Simons said….a bit risible to say that politicians don’t have a negative view of teachers when Gove kept referring to ” enemies of promise”!!

In the individual workshops, l was happy to have attended four crackers! The two Mark(c)s were brill and made me really think about growth mindset and how we label children. It was mentioned that children from socio-economically disadvantaged homes are subject to low expectations but in our topsy turvy world that can embrace anyone! There are many “middle class” families who now fall into this bracket and rely on food banks et al; I think we need to redefine who the “poor” might now include.
During this session the lovely @imagineinquiry sat next to me….so lovely to meet another great tweep pal!!
@rachelrossiter was busily tweeting away on the other side but I refrained….didn’t want to miss anything!

Next up was a great session on ‘spaced learning’ from my twitmentor @EddieKayshun. …I call him that because he was the one who got me blogging…..I’ve never met him before but my first impressions were…very handsome and very TALL!! Weird how Twitter can distort how people look ( mind you I look nothing like my cat avatar…I don’t think!! ) I really feel spaced learning could help our children in the PRU and I particularly enjoyed the yoga session being part of the lesson. If you want to know more you’ll have to read Rory’s blog! @FarrowMr can testify to its power to help you remember Japanese symbols!!

At lunch we had super packed lunches (free) and I met some more tweeps..has been nice to meet Nichola and Little Mavis and Shinpad and see  Ali Bowman and Richard Farrow again and have quick catchup with Tom Starkey. If there are others I’ve forgotten I apologise but I was in a lot of pain by then!
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to go to the afternoon sessions with @DiLeed and @imagineinquiry because my feet were killing me (literally) and I couldn’t face the walk to their building; I have heard their sessions were great!
However I did see the totally awesome John Tomsett who absolutely echoed my view that children need to be shown love in order to thrive. He is a fantastic headteacher who strives to improve learning outcomes for all his pupils.

I also attended the brilliant @ICTEvangelist session and was able to take away something practical for our I pads now school have FINALLY got WiFi. …welcome 21st century!! Loved quizlet,  Kahoot and Post-it plus! Also the fab thing that is Thinglink!

The final session of the day back in the gym included a great debate between Sean Harford and ATL’s Mary Bousted! And I could hear it!! Now I had to sit on my hands ; for those of you who’ve read my blog on OFSTED you will understand why! I think it is right that OFSTED should have an independent accountability system….it would take away some of the fear factor if thinking of appealing against a particular judgement. However I am not in favour of any alternative system which relies more on data….ridiculous in a PRU…of course learning outcomes are important but I don’t feel that national data comparisons are useful or meaningful for us when we are comparing completely different cohorts over the year. Also, we have to baseline all our children on entry and we often uncover undiagnosed SEN such as dyslexia….it’s a nonsense!

Rant over and the lovely Mick Waters gave a great roundup of the debate giving food for thought. Then Mick, Hywel and David had a lovely comic conversation about how things were done in the past! Frighteningly I remembered a lot of them! It made me realise that teaching has moved on but not necessarily in a good way!!

Rounding up a super day the ORRSOME Rachel sang a song about fun things like triple- marking (she has the most beautiful, powerful voice) and David Cameron got us all dancing with his disco tunes….phenomenal!

The fun didn’t end there….after a glass of wine Cherryl, Carolyn and I met up back at our hotel with Rachel, Di, and later awesome pals Ali, then Keziah,  Karen, fabulous @betsysalt (fellow cat lover), Rachel Orr…..had a great Chinese meal and drinks…..amazing evening with the #sisterhood.

I really feel that #nrocks is a fantastic event ….you can feel its heartbeat and its soul personified by the arrangers, the helpers and the attendees all magnificently coming together to share their passion for education in their own time. It gives me great hope for the future. #blogsync



2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Northern Rocks 2015

  1. Pingback: ORRsome blog posts June 2015 | high heels and high notes

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