The biggest ARK Schools Summit yet was held on Monday 4 November, bringing together almost 2,000 staff from across the network. Designed to inspire teams for the year ahead, the day was packed with dynamic workshops and thought-provoking training sessions, as well as networking opportunities for teams from across the country.
Kevin Dickinson, the Facilities Manager at St Alban’s Academy, summed up the feeling at the opening ceremony: “Sitting in the Great Hall surrounded by all our colleagues really brought it home to me. As I watched the opening video, showing staff and students I work with, I realised that as support staff, I am very much a part of all of this. During Lucy Heller’s speech, I looked around me and saw just how many people I work with. It was actually quite difficult to comprehend. “
Popular training running like clockwork
One of the Summit’s most popular training sessions was delivered by Tom Bennett, the Times Educational Supplement blogger. Close to 600 participants packed into his session to hear about strategies for teachers to encourage the behaviour they want from their students.
One teacher told us: “Tom Bennett was inspirational and enthusiastically presented his ideas and knowledge on behaviour management. It was an excellent lecture.” (Bennett, thanking ARK for inviting him to present, later quipped on Twitter: “Just finished at #ARKSummit. It made Swiss clocks look inefficient.”)
Another well-received training session was delivered by the educational foundation behind Makaton, a method of using signs, symbols and speech to help children to communicate effectively. Helen Hayhoe, Training Services Manager at The Makaton Charity, said she was deeply impressed by the staff who attended her session. “The enthusiasm of the staff shone through and everyone engaged with the activities, sharing ideas about how they could put the learning into practice.”
We can be heroes, just for one day
The Summit closed with a celebration of outstanding contributions from across our network. Trustee Lord Fink and Principal of St Alban’s Academy David Gould presented awards to six network-wide winners, as well as a School Hero from every ARK School.
All in all, we hope you found it a memorable and inspiring Summit. Lucy Monk, Principal of Helenswood Academy, summed it up noting: “Thought provoking workshops, inspiring speeches and opportunities to network with colleagues who share the same ambitions to inspire all students to achieve excellence. Thank you for a truly remarkable day!”