Swindon Teach Meet March 2019

On Wednesday the 27th March, Oakhurst Primary School hosted Swindon’s first Teach Meet of the year.

Led by Oakhurst’s deputy head teacher Paul Strange, the event was aimed to inspire teachers by giving them an opportunity to come together, listen to a selection of inspirational speakers and share tips and ideas. The event attracted a large number of teachers from across Swindon and Wiltshire.

There was also a range of presenters who covered a number of topics. Each 5 minute presenter was a current classroom practitioner who shared with the audience great advice and practical ideas they could take back to their classroom.

Jenny Pearson spoke first about the power of partner talk in maths. Jenny shared some great tips on how to encourage and support maths discussion within the classroom.

Next up was Rhona Phelps who talked about the importance of STEM clubs. Rhona gave the audience some great ideas on how to get these clubs started and how to share the responsibility across the school. Rhona also gave a link to the STEM Ambassador Programme. Here schools can find inspiration and support from local STEM businesses.

After Rhona, Paul Strange went through some of the great work Oakhurst Primary School had been doing with improving boys engagement especially in writing and reading. Paul offered up some fantastic ideas on how to inspired boys to write including ways of giving them choices, purpose and an audience. Paul also shared the great work the school had been doing with engaging dads with their children’s learning including the FRED (Fathers Reading Every Day) initiative.

After Paul, Reuben Elliot from Coresham Primary School went through some of the fantastic research he had been doing on the effects of ‘low stakes testing.’ base on neuroscience and  Dr Richard Churches’ fantastic book ‘Neuroscience for Teachers‘, Reuben showed us the positive effects that giving children regular ‘low risk test’ had on their timetable retrieval knowledge. Reuben also highlighted the great work being done by the website Learning Scientists.

Kelly Butts spoke passionately about the work she is doing in her classroom to inspire children to read for pleasure. She shared some amazing ideas including; the great response from authors by messaging through Twitter, book talk homework, making time for reading for pleasure, the power of book recommendations and book shelf-ies. Kelly also discussed the importance of children knowing that it is ok to not finish a book if they don’t like it.

The last of the 5 minute presenters was Wendy Matthews. Wendy discussed how to develop outdoor learning in EYFS. Through a series of slides and photographs, Wendy demonstrated all the wonderful ideas EYFS practitioners could use to address the range of skills required of the EYFS curriculum. She showed the audience simple and cheap ideas on how to develop the outdoor environment to engage children in learning.

After a short break where audience members had the chance to network and visit a number of exciting education-based stall holders, Andy Hind delivered his keynote speech. Andy Hind spoke passionately about how to develop children as risk-takers.  Through a very interactive session, Andy asked the audience to think about the role they had in developing children as thinkers. Through the ideas of Bloom Taxonomy, he asked people to come up with practical tasks that could develop the 3 forms of thinking; Input thinking (Knowledge and Understanding); Process Thinking (Analysis and application) and Output Thinking (judging and creativity). Andy shared some fantastic ideas of his own and suggested ways in which teachers could frame and aid the different types of thinking (including Tony Ryan’s Thinkers Keys)

Swindon’s first Teach Meet of 2019 was a great success. It highlighted the benefits of giving teachers time to come together to share ideas and listen to inspiring practitioners. Please listen out for more Swindon Teach Meet Events in the future! via Twitter #SwindonTeachMeet


A special  thank you to Paul Strange and Oakhurst Primary School for hosting and organising the event. A special mention also goes to Pickwick Learning Teaching School Alliance and the North Wiltshire SCITT for supporting the event alongside the Swindon Teaching Schools.