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Leeds conference to inspire newly-qualified teachers


The Head Teacher at Huntington School in York will share his secrets of success with Newly-Qualified Teachers (NQTs) from Leeds Beckett University at a special event.

The second annual NQT conference will be held on Friday 3 February, with Leeds Beckett graduates from the last two years gathering from across the country at the University’s Headingley Campus. 

John Tomsett, Head Teacher at Huntington School, which has recently been designated as the research hub for Yorkshire and Humber, will deliver the keynote presentation, sharing his passion for research-informed teaching and demonstrating how this is central to effective classroom practice. 

Yasmin Valli, Principal Lecturer in the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett and organiser of the conference, explained: “The theme of this year’s conference is ‘transition and beyond’ and the aim is to enable NQTs to continue their professional development and make progress in their careers, thereby helping to tackle issues of teacher retention. 

“We are thrilled by the response shown towards the conference. NQTs do need to be challenged but they must also be nurtured and supported in their first year in the classroom. The conference provides a platform for them to continue to develop their expertise for the benefit of all the pupils they teach.” 

Speaking ahead of his keynote, John Tomsett commented: “There is a huge amount of informed practice-sharing going on in our education system. My advice, however, to attendees is this: be highly selective in what you take away and try in your classroom. If you do find something at the conference which might just help you improve your practice, take it away, think about it for some time, develop it so that it is genuinely yours, then try it out over weeks and months and evaluate whether it works, with improved outcomes for your students as the single most important metric. Stop guessing about what works and use research-evidence practices to ensure your students have the best chance possible to make progress." 

The teachers will be welcomed to the conference by the school choir from Meanwood Primary School before attending a variety of training workshops based around the key themes identified by NQTs and Ofsted as priorities for further training, including: assessing pupil progress; moving towards leadership roles; working with parents; promoting the needs of diverse learners; and behaviour management. Throughout the day there will be a focus on the impact of research on learning and teaching. 

Delivering workshops will be Leeds Beckett education academics alongside external speakers, including: Sarah Tew, Deputy Head Teacher at Pudsey Lowtown Primary School; Helen Sanderson, Head Teacher at Meanwood Primary School; and Tony Phillips, Deputy Head at Wakefield Pupil Referral Unit (PRU).

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