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November 24, 2013 by hallyd


Last weekend I headed off to deepest darkest Dorking to spend the weekend with other school leaders to attend #SLTcamp – an unconference put together by Stephen Lockyer and Sarah Findlater.  My reasons for going were simple, since September I have been acting Deputy Head and just before half term was appointed full time, for me the weekend presented an opportunity to discuss leadership, school systems, meet new friends and think about my own style of leadership that I am looking to develop.

The weekend was amazing and this blog will not do justice to the the feel, atmosphere and passion that was on display – and that was just during the Salsa dancing :)

It all started on Friday when setting my Satnav I set off, I was getting slightly worried as day turned to dusk, the roads became narrower and my signal became non-existent.  I eventually found the youth hostel and walked in to be greeted by people I had never met before but felt like I already knew because of twitter.  Penny Leach and I quickly became acquainted while we made up goody bags, stuck signs on beds, dished out chocolate and unpacked the drinks! People started arriving in a steady flow and it was great to sit and start chatting, find out where people were from and their reasons for venturing.

Then on to tea and a teach meet – Stuart Lock spoke from the heart about CDH Uk a charity very close to his heart and after a teapot was found £400 was raised, the genouristy was amazing, The food was a real highlight of the weekend – vast in quantity and quality and sustained us all.  The teach meet went on past 11, but it was a teach meet for me with a difference – no technology! No-one was able to send tweets or check their timelines, everyone went analogue, wrote notes, listened and discussed.  It was also more secondary focussed, with some personal highlights for me looking at behaviour in school, embedding literacy an


d developing middle leaders.

Once the teach meet was over it was time for sparklers and more discussions over a fair few bottles or two.  Then sleep – much needed!

The morning arrived with the smell of a fry up wafting through the hostel – a great way to start the day and we all set off in convoy to our destination for the day.  The duo that are TeacherTweaks had set up a range of ice-breaker activities for us to get to know each other better and to identify our skills – great activities and ones that were easily transferrable to the classroom.

For the rest of the day it was discussions, loosely arranged around key questions and enabled us to form groups and discuss these.  During the day I was in groups that looked at levels, CPD for all staff, leading teaching and learning, education tools, education research and the new primary curriculum.  By the end of the day my head ached – it was great.

Then back to the hostel to for Mexican night – which involved the surprise of Salsa – this was greeted in equal measure with cries of joy and despair – a bit like the feeling that children can have when approached with something new that puts themselves outside of their boundaries.  It was a good reminder of what it feels like.

The next morning was one spent in reflection, although unfortunately I had to leave to be back, so missed the videos that were shown.

However on the journey back I reflected on what I had taken away from the weekend:

- a great new set of twitter ‘go tos’

- a  group of #goprimary colleagues to add to my network

- wobbly wallets

- importance of educational research and where to go

- more reading material – Teach like a champion and leveraged leadership have landed on my mat

- rolling numbers


- being true to yourself- knowing when to ask for help and where to ask for it.

It was a truly great weekend, one that over the last week at school has come back to me in snippets and pockets as I process it all  and begin to put into practice tips that I took away.  Overall it was the sense of togetherness – it did not matter who you were or where from – we were all there to learn together.

You can register your interest for #SLTcamp14 here – I suggest you fill that form in now – go on, start building the bridge.


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1 comment »

  1. Jill Berry says:

    It was good to meet you, Dawn! Hope you caught up with the videos – this is the link to mine:

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