Summit 2016: highlights from the biggest annual gathering of Head Teachers

The Secretary of State for Education attended the SCHOOLS NorthEast Summit yesterday for the first time, addressing the largest annual gathering of school leaders in the region.


This was also one of the Secretary of State’s first speeches after being appointed in her new role.

The annual SCHOOLS NorthEast Summit took place yesterday, 13 October, at St James’ Park, where more than 450 Head Teachers in the region gathered together for the day.

Ms Greening focused on the alternative routes for young people who don’t wish to pursue higher education, stating that the Department for Education has a chance “bring all policy together” and do a better job of improving transitions for all young people at all ages: “there is a real need to start knitting together a pathway for young people into technical education”.


The Education Secretary also mentioned that teacher training needs to improve in order to include school improvement: “We need a generation of teachers who understand school improvement and it needs to be embedded in teachers’ education”. CPD needed to become the norm, she said, as it’s “absolutely vital”.

The Education Secretary made it clear that she wants to work closely with the profession and that children in the North East are the country’s future.

A Q&A session was held after her speech, where the Secretary of State and Summit delegates discussed assessment, FE colleges, grammar schools and school finance.

The Summit started with a welcome from Chair of SCHOOLS NorthEast John Hardy and Jill Donabie of Muckle LLP, the main conference sponsors, followed by an inspiring speech on resilience by Masha Gordon.

Masha is a Guiness World record holder whose adventures across the Globe, from the South to the North Pole, caused a few gasps in the audience. Masha told Summit 2016 delegates she was the only mother in the Mount Everest Base Camp, but added that in difficult situations people should “put one foot in front of the other, keep going and open doors”.
MASHA GORDON 2.JPGMasha quoted statistics that show 40% of girls wouldn’t “take a risk” and suggested there’s a “bravery deficit” in the country and her charity, GRIT&ROCK, aims to change that. They recently launched an initiative with schools to help instil more confidence and resilience into young girls – more on that here.

SIR DAVID CARTER 7.JPGSir David Carter, the National Schools Commissioner, also joined us on the day for a session on the impact of effective leadership in schools and beyond. He shared five Vision Triggers for school leaders: Belief, Ambition, Realism, Aspiration and Consultation. Sir David called for more collaboration between school regions, stating we can’t have “21 islands operating separately”.

SCHOOLS NorthEast Trustees and Director Mike Parker chaired a session on what will shape the future of the organisation and launched the SCHOOLS NorthEast 3-year strategy.

SCHOOLS NorthEast Trustee and Headmaster of the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle Bernard Trafford announced that Dame Sue Bailey will chair Healthy MindED, the school-led commission into the mental health of pupils in the region.

Roger Pope, National Leader of Education and Chair of the National College of Teaching and Leadership took the stage next to discuss how a resilient school-led system can be developed. He told delegates that the North East “is way ahead of the game” in the way in which schools collaborate.

roger-pope-2“I believe passionately in working with others towards a joined up solution” he added, praising SCHOOLS NorthEast for organising the Summit and bringing together over 450 school leaders from across the region.

Mr Pope urged schools to actively engage in school to school support, saying schools had called for years to have greater control over school improvement and now “the Government have called our bluff”.

The day ended with several different sessions led by Sally Collier – the Chief Regulator of Ofqual; Dr Rebecca Allen – Director of Education Datalab; Prof. Rob Coe – Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) Durham University; and, Sir Nick Weller who is leading a review of education in the Northern Powerhouse.

Speaker and session slides will be made available as soon as possible via email to delegates and next week’s newsletter.

Huge congratulations to the lucky winners of the Summit prize pots and Golden Tickets:

Samantha Robson, Bridgewater Primary School
Lee Gallon, Farne Primary School
Christina McDermott, St Joseph’s Catholic Junior School
John Stubbins, Bearpark Primary School
Nicola Bentham, Cestria Primary School
Anna Diggle, Birtley East Community Primary School.

SCHOOLS NorthEast would like to thank everyone who supported this year’s Summit. Huge thanks go to the Main Conference Sponsors Muckle LLP, as well as to Session Rooms Sponsors  Capita Education Recruitment and Engagement in Education.

All pictures taken on the day are available to view and download here.


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