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BSJT Staff Conference 2019

BSJT Staff Conference 2019

Graeme Searle
Graeme Searle
BSJT Staff Conference 2019

On Monday 4th November 2019, all staff across the BSJT convened at Bushey Meads School for our annual conference.  We were delighted that this year, we were also joined by staff from Chessbrook Education Centre in Watford, a fantastic educational institution who we work closely with on a daily basis.

The theme was ‘Harnessing the Power of Independent Learning’ and after morning refreshments, the day began with a keynote speech from C. J. Simister – a leading education expert with more than 25 years experience, working both in the UK and internationally who advises head teachers and is also the author of three books.

For the rest of the day, staff then attended three workshop sessions that they had signed up for in advance of the day which were run by experienced and outstanding members of staff from across the four schools in attendance.  The workshop choices were as follows:


Developing Independence Through Changing Student Roles


Andrew Symeou (Advanced Lead Teacher)


Ashley Cartledge (Head of PE Health)

Tried and tested strategies for giving students more responsibilities in both classroom and practical lessons.

We will look at the impact of changing student roles and provide ideas to take away and try with your students.


Developing Independence Through Using the Physical Environment


Niralee Pattni (Advanced Lead Teacher)

Independence is an attribute that we hope to see in our classrooms and as teachers it is a trait that we try to develop in our students. But how can we encourage our students to be more independent via small tweaks to the classroom environment?

This workshop aims to share a variety of strategies to take directly back into the classroom to make your students confident, independent learners.


Developing Independence Through Effective Home Learning


Kate Hoskins (Advanced Lead Teacher)


Samantha Cole (Head of Art)

“To be ready for tomorrow’s opportunities, do your homework today. Learn, refine your skills and focus on growth.”

Students exploring for themselves is at the very core of learning. Making discoveries from the task the teacher sets that they are genuinely interested in and find challenging, and the feeling they gain from self-direction, is wonderfully rewarding for learners as well as an incredible life tool.

This workshop aims to explore some strategies for teachers in setting effective homework that will help students become independent learners.


Developing Independence Through Group Work


Danielle Bowe (Lead Practitioner)

“More hands make for lighter work.”

“Two heads are better than one.”

“The more the merrier.”

These old proverbs highlight the potential group work has in enabling students to be more productive, creative, and motivated than individuals on their own. This workshop will explore how group work is also an ideal opportunity to increase student independence and confidence as it helps them to find their own voice and perspectives in relation to peers.

Come and experience a few practical strategies for setting up and establishing a strong group work culture in your classroom.


Developing Independence in the Early Years


Julie-Durrant-Patel (Assistant Head, SENCo and EYFS Lead)


Geraldine Allsopp (EYFS Teacher and Humanities Lead)


Independence is an essential life skill and one that needs to be nurtured from an early age. In Reception, we promote independence from the very beginning, from the way we structure our day, the environment we provide and the learning opportunities we offer. In this workshop, we hope to provide an overview of how we foster independence, and enable children to become competent and self-motivated learners.


Developing Independence in Upper Key Stage 2


Michael McMahon (KS2 English Lead)


Reciprocal teaching and learning has consistently been identified in studies as a powerful tool for moving children’s learning along.  We will look at the process in a KS2 reading context and reflect on how this approach can inform other aspects of the curriculum – as well as it’s potential for deployment in other educational key stages.

Practical Ideas and Strategies to Develop an Independent Learning Environment Greg Harper (Deputy Headteacher)  

Being able to think and act independently remains one of the most important skills that a student can learn. By creating learners who are in control of their own education, we also create young adults who will continue to be independent thinkers in their lives beyond the classroom. The ideas in this workshop offer practical guidance to developing habits that, once embedded, will enable students to respond proactively and positively to any challenge they might face.


Effective lesson planning based on student data and learning strategies Jess King     (Teacher – Chessbrook)

Nicola Shine

(PE & Science Coordinator)

In this workshop, we aim to cover the following:

●      What do we understand from the data we receive on students?

●      How can we use this data to inform our planning?

●      Which teaching and learning strategies can be used for students who present with needs such as autism, low literacy scores, ADHD etc.

●      The sharing of good practice.


Embedding a culture of Positive Behaviour Andy Mirkovic (Assistant Headteacher)

Alison Towler (Primary Outreach Teacher)

‘Creating a positive behaviour culture’

In this workshop we are going to explore 3 key areas that have a huge impact on behaviour in the school environment:

●      Language and communication

●      Avoiding behaviour pitfalls

●      If at first you don’t succeed…the key is perseverance


Capturing opportunities for Personal Development Nish Sabur (Teacher – Chessbrook)

Michael Chapman (Leader in Learning – Chessbrook)


What does it mean to be British?

What exactly are British values? Why should we care?

What kind of impact do you want to make in a school?

How is cultural capital covered?

In this workshop – together, we will explore why Personal Development is essential in every aspect of a school.



Services and Successes of Chessbrook

(Pastoral Staff Only)


Alison Daley (Pastoral Outreach Lead – Chessbrook)


Kashan Malik

(Pastoral Manager)


Chessbrook Education Centre offers many excellent services such as R&R, Switched On, Chessbrook Outreach and GADE – all with proven track records in supporting students, schools and families in securing a brighter future.

This workshop will elaborate on the services available and provide you with real life success stories from many of the BMS students who have benefited.

There will be a primary phase workshop and a secondary phase workshop.



Manual Handling Training



External Organisation


All Learning Support Assistants at BMS work with a variety of students who have additional physical needs.  In order for these students to access and enjoy the education on offer, staff need to be confident in moving the students safely so that on the occasions when this is required, all parties do so correctly.


All of the workshop sessions were informative, interactive and fun and staff left with a number of new ideas that they can use to increase the level of education for the benefit of the students in our care.

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