Ambitious, inspiring- and the first of many?

The Trust’s first ever education conference proved a hugely successful event, bringing together our family of schools in a celebration of teaching and learning.

Top speakers including a former Government minister and leading education specialists from across the country set the scene for an inspirational conference attended by close to 600 secondary school teachers.  

It proved to be an exciting day that included a chance to network and share good practice as well as to join with relevant and engaging disvenue1.jpgcussions on education and how best to deliver it.

Feedback from the teachers and guests was full of positives, with delegates using words and phrases such as “positivity”, “inspiring, energetic and diverse”, “thought-provoking” and – in reference to Lord Jim Knight – “A true visionary, showing an understanding of the importance of individualised learning that teachers need to provide for their students”.

After hearing from renowned keynote speakers including former Minister of State Lord Knight and leading educationalist Steve Munby, delegates at the event, held at Westlands School in Sittingbourne, took part in a series of debates and workshops aimed at sharing best practice.


The conference, conceived as “a showcase of excellence”, was set up as a celebration of teaching and learning across the Trust’s seven Kent and East Sussex secondary schools

Wide-ranging workshop topics including Be well, teach well, Creativity, What if?, The power of the peer factor and Sticky teaching - getting revision to ‘stick’.

Steve Munby, chief executive of Education Development Trust, shared his own philosophy around his love of teaching in a well-received speech.

He then joined panelists including Trust Chief Executive Jon Whitcombe and Kerry Jordan-Daus from Canterbury Christ Church University for a debate on the future of education chaired by Simon Cox, headteacher of Westlands School.

debate1.jpgLord Knight, Labour front bench spokesman for agricultural matters in the House of Lords as well as Chief Education Adviser to TES Global and a former Minister of State for Schools, closed the conference with a carefully considered look at the future of schools.

He was later described by one delegate as “a highly motivating speaker who made me think about the future of schooling and how the school curriculum is still rooted in the past”.


Derek Trimmer, the Trust’s Director of Secondary, said SwaleFest 2017 had been  “a celebration of exciting teaching and learning which brought together teachers from our family of schools and delivered some inspirational and challenging messages”.

With planning already underway for next year’s SwaleFest 2018, the Trust is currently looking ahead to a student leadership conference planned for 23 June at Community College Whitstable. The event will bring together students to look at action research projects and student leadership with the support of teaching staff from around the Trust.


M Triggs/ Images courtesy of E Frost