What are you up to? #7

We Are In Beta Community News: celebrations, funding, events, jobs, blogs, pods, news and more.

This is the free We Are In Beta Podcast Newsletter - written by me, Niall Alcock. We - the education community - Are In Beta - always learning. Sign up to learn how school leaders are tackling the big issues in schools.


Thank you to everyone who said hello last week after I admitted I’d been spying on you. 🕵️

It’s been great to get to know so many of you, learn about what you’re working on and, where I can, share it in this week’s We Are In Beta Community News.

If you’re a new subscriber or didn’t get round to it last week, tell me a bit about yourself if you’d like to share what you do with the community. It’ll also help me ensure We Are In Beta is as useful to you as possible.

This week’s been about working out how to share more of our research and interviews with you in different ways - looking for a someone who loves education, learning and writing to turn our audio into blogs which ooze positivity, practicality and personality. Perhaps that’s you? I'd love to hear from you.

We’ve been developing an approach to finding and sharing case studies that are hidden beneath the data. More on that soon.

Work on Series 3 continues. So does the second part of our project with PiXL (pic below). And we’ve been working with a MAT to digitise and share the approaches to school improvement.

We’ve been getting ready to start fundraising and there’s a new website on the way too. So a few things going on!


(Colette Firth - Executive Headteacher St Johns Church School & Winyates Primary School, Rachel Johnson - PiXL Leader & Patrick Cozier - Headteacher Highgate Wood School recording The PiXL Leadership Bookclub - coming soon).


We Are In Beta Community News

As usual I’ve curated a bunch of great stuff you listeners and subscribers are up to. To thank you for being a part of this journey. To fuel growth and connect people throughout the community.

This week you’ve served up:

  • 4 celebrations 🎉

  • 1 award/funding opportunity 💰

  • 7 events 📆

  • 6 blogs 📃

  • 2 books 📚

  • 3 pods 🎧

  • 1 video 🎬

  • 10+ jobs 💼

  • 7 resources and ideas💡

  • 3 press mentions 📰

  • 6 professional development opportunities 👩‍🏫

  • 4 opportunities to connect and collaborate on projects 🤝

  • 1 chance to be kind ❤️


Celebrations 🎉

Holly Power is a winner of the #TimewisePower50, flying the flag for flex in the education sector. Congratulations.

Rob Carpenter, Nav Sanghara and team at Inspire Partnership are celebrating Elaine Primary in Strood being the most improved school in Medway Towns.

They are also celebrating the addition of Delce Academy to their growing trust. Catch up on Rob’s We Are In Beta interview here.

Sam Butters, Gina Cicerone, Siwan Davies and team at the Fair Education Alliance are celebrating launching as an independent charity working with 150 organistions to tackle entrenched education problems. Congrats team!

Awards and funding 💰

The Fair Education Alliance team also invite you to apply for The Innovation Award. They are offering salary, advice, official endorsement and office space. An award I benefitted from and will be forever grateful for when it was part of Teach First. Apply here.

Events 📆

Alison Woodward encourages you to get behind the Visible Governance In Schools Campaign and invites you to free Spring networking sessions for school governors and trustees in Norfolk. 3rd and 9th March.

Josie Mingay and Brad Nash are hosting a Dive Deeper session on the Tutor Reading Programme at Henley Bank High School. 4th March.

Will Mackintosh and Dennis Simms have planned, and invites you to the Teach First Heads Forward School Leadership Summit. We Are In Beta guests Ed Vainker and Elroy Cahill will be speaking too. 7th March. Catch up on their We Are In Beta Interviews here.

Allan Osborne is speaking on ‘Leading with Authenticity’ at BrewEd East London. 7th March.

Nav Sanghara invites you to Inspire Partnership’s fist recruitment event in Croydon at West Thornton Primary. Competitive salaries, innovative CPD, networking with outstanding schools and leader progression up for grabs. 10th March.

Allana Gay, Penny Rabiger & Rachel Warwick are speaking at ASCL Annual Conference. Consider whether your school's take on diverse leadership is more about promise or practice. Tickets here. 13th-14th March. Catch up on Allana’s We Are In Beta podcast here.

Andrew Lifford invites you to ‘DiscussEd’ - an opportunity for anyone interested in the world of education to come together, meet new people, listen and discuss issues and trends. It’s designed to be accessible to everyone from teachers, ex-teachers, ed-tech entrepreneurs to parents. 10th March.

To read - blogs 📃

Aziza Ajak and her Principal share what it’s like to start a brand new school and the lessons learned from it. Keep an eye out for her appearance in The PiXL Leadership Book Club We Are In Beta is producing.

Josie Mingay writes about ‘The elephant in the room: the academic side of KS2-3 transition’. She identifies some key challenges and questions to consider if we are to smooth transition.

Jo Facer reflects on the achievements and importance of King Soloman Academy 10 years on.

Bukky Yusuf does her fortnightly share of educational aspects which have been of interest to her.

Lucy Flower reflects on why her PGCE course leader was so important.

Nat Parnell, Owen Jones and Northampton Academy students have been using new Tutor Reading Discussion cards to encourage them to think and share ideas from their books in a more detailed and academic way.

Northampton Academy has more subscribers to this newsletter than any other school. Thanks for sharing and signing up team!

To read - books 📚

Sam Strickland has published his no nonsense ‘Education Exposed: Leading a school in a time of uncertainty’.

Kat Howard has released her new book ‘Stop Talking About Wellbeing: a programatic approach to teacher workload’.

To listen - pods 🎧

Kiran Gill is a guest on Geoff Barton’s ASCL Leadership Podcast discussing the importance of working in alternative provision as part of a leader’s experience.

Cath Murray is a guest on Naylor’s Natter talking about IntegratED which works for ‘fewer exclusions, better alternative provision’. Learn more about their methodology and partners here.

The late Sir John Rowling reflects on the idea that not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts in #weareinbeta’s PiXL Pearls, which has a fan in Geoff Barton.

To watch 🎬

Pran Patel asks ‘What does ‘Decolonise the Curriculum’ mean to you?’ He speaks about the school curriculum in the UK in his TEDxNorwichEd talk combining passion and practical solutions.

Jobs 💼

People who are outward facing, love to learn, get involved and support each other are great to work for. That’s what We Are In Beta is about. Don’t miss out on the chance to work with them.

Jim Smith is asking: do you want to be a senior leader at Meden School? One of the most improved in the country. He is looking for two talented leaders to join their senior leadership team as AHTs. If you want a chat or a look around the school get in-touch.

Aziza Ajak is recruiting for Teachers of Music, English & Science, Head of Year, Lead Teachers of RE & Drama and Subject Leaders of Science & History. All up for grabs at their growing start up school. DM her for more details.

Jeremy Hannay is recruiting for a teacher at Three Bridges Primary School: “Agency, mark if it's right, plan so it works, minimal admin, PPA where you like, no formal obs. or scrutiny, professional challenge & inspiration, kindness, calm & caring responses, 6 days term time release, collaborative work, action research, voice, happy staff, school empty at 4”. Catch up on his We Are In Beta interview here.

Allan Osbourne is recruiting for the ever expanding Ongar Academy, Ongar 6th Form and Bridge Academy Trust: PE, History, English, DT & Science.

Evelyn Forde is recruiting for a Teacher of English at Copthall School.

Emma Turner is not only writing another book, she invites you to go and work with her at Discovery Schools Academy Trust.

Amanda Burnell is recruiting class teachers for September 2020. “Sherington is a thriving and dynamic school. We believe that ‘character + academics’ is the goal of true education and deliver this through Positive Education and the PERMA model.”

Alan Blount is recruiting teachers in Maths, Science, DT and PE for September at Newstead Wood School - proudly doing their bit to increase representation, diversity, inclusion and flexible working.

Phil McCahill is helping recruit for 3 teaching posts to double the size of Shireland Primary School as they enter their second year.

Dave Whitaker is recruiting a class teacher and EYFS Leader. Deadline 2nd March. Catch up on his We Are In Beta story here.

Resources & ideas 💡

Jo Ambrose has put together and shared Greenshaw Learning Trust’s exit timetable template.

Will Lau is right in saying many stereotypes about Computer Scientists need challenging. So he’s made a Computer Science Colouring Book. Sneak peak here. Download a free version for your students here.

Sarah Vardy has found distance is no barrier for her Secondary SENCO Meeting - staff in 3 different locations receiving Y11 academic mentoring training.

Cath Kitchen provides educational support for children and young people aged 4 to 18 who cannot attend mainstream school due to a diagnosed complex medical and/or mental health condition. They have a collection for resources for schools with children with mental and medical health conditions here.

Mike Hoad has discovered an automated way to save or print multiple versions of the same worksheet but with different contents based on a selection from a dropdown menu. Time saver.

Christopher Harris has been listening to a podcast for people who hate networking and applying what he learned about ‘reciprocity circles’ to the classroom to identify misconceptions and empower students to help each other to improve.

Ele Stoneham has been celebrating World Book Day and made instant posters with this website

In the press 📰

Deb Rutley has been profiled by Schools Week where she reflects on how her experience of school made her the teacher and leader she is today.

Marie Gentles and Jenny Thomson are part of a 7 strong team working alongside headteachers and leaders to improve behaviour in around 500 schools. Catch up on Marie’s We Are In Beta story here.

Penny Rabiger is delighted Lyfta has been featured in the Ed Tech 50, which shines a spotlight on people, projects and products enhancing teaching and learning in our schools.

Professional Development 👩‍🏫

Lucy Rose and Lindsay East are offering free CPD for Headteachers interested in exploring flexible working. 12th March. Catch up on Lucy’s We Are In Beta story here.

Dan Morrow & Julie Carson are hosting ‘Enrich your curriculum and excite your students’ with Lyfta's global learning platform at Peareswood Primary School. 23rd April.

Clare Fletcher and the Norfolk Teaching & Leadership Excellence Centre (NTLEC) are now offering SEND reviews for schools in the area.

Jonathan Rees is striving for excellence in schools across SE Wales at Education Achievement Service (EAS) for South East Wales. Services and CPD offer here.

James Jackson invites you to a range of CPD opportunities in March at West Lakes Teaching School including: ‘Intervention Planning and Assessment’; ‘Planning for and Assessing Students with Autism’; and ‘Planning for and Assessing Students with Attachment as a Recognised Difficulty’.

Connect & Collaborate 🤝

Najat Hassan would like your help: “How is your school assessing reading (not summative assessment) regularly while using a ‘Whole Class Reading’ approach?” Check out the responses here.

Will Teece is reviewing the assessment model at KS3 at Walton Academy and is wondering what others are dong with: “1. Checking security of knowledge over time. 2. Clearly identifying learning gaps/ next steps. 3. Communicating effectively to pupils & parents the above +% on track”. Give him a shout to help or learn what others have said.

Martyn Cox has got through the first inspection at their brand new school - Scott Medical and Healthcare College. Get in touch if you’re starting a new school. Martyn is super open to learning and collaborating.

Elaine Bennett is looking for someone who is doing interesting things around engineering in primary schools for a story she’s working on.

Be kind ❤️

Chris Richards - Villiers High School - will be running the London Marathon supporting AKTCharity - safe homes and better futures for LGBTQ+ young people - because no young person should have to choose between a safe home and being who they are. Give generously.


Want to share your news?

Let me know here. I’ll include it next time and tweet if I can.


If you like staying up to date with what the doers, makers and creators in education are up to but don’t have much time to do it hit the button below to get these updates direct to your inbox. Then check your spam to see if the welcome email lands there.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for playing your part in making education the place we all know it can be.

Speak soon,

@NiallAlcock


Catch up on We Are In Beta Series 2

While you’re here, catch up on Series 2 of the podcast:

👂 Listen on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn 🔉

🔔 Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss series 3 when it’s released.


️❤️ If you found all this useful give it a cheer, hit the like button.

🎙️Like discovering new podcasts? Check out Find That Pod. Nominate us while you’re there.