A vibrant conference programme, designed to inspire and inform.

A Different Take on Disadvantage Conference | 22 March 2024

Sean Harris is an expert on the impact of poverty on our pupils. He has a different approach to tackling disadvantage using research-informed approaches to curriculum design with poverty and disadvantage in mind.

Keynote: The ‘P Word’ – Sean Harris

During his keynote Sean will work with you to consider:

  • The common misconceptions and mental models about poverty in our schools
  • Look at what research says about poverty currently in our contexts
  • Practical and actionable approaches to further understanding poverty in our settings
  • Practical and actionable strategies to develop poverty informed practice in our settings.

Workshop: Crafting curriculum with poverty in mind – Sean Harris

In this workshop Sean will lead a 90 minute interactive workshop, during the session you’ll consider:

  • Poverty and curriculum research and its implication for our curriculum design and intent
  • Research informed approaches to tackling poverty through curriculum planning & design
  • Case study research reflections from a SHINE funded curriculum project in the Tees on this topic
  • Actionable and practical tools to take back into settings to work with curriculum/phase leaders.

Workshop: So what does this look like in practice? – Anna Carter

The afternoon session will be led by Anna Carter. Anna has worked with Sean and his research, putting the theory into practice. At NPAT their aim is to have a positive impact in raising attainment in disadvantage across 14 primary schools.

Anna will share their experiences of creating a multilayered approach involving pastoral and community work, alongside teacher education and effective teaching. She will explore examples of where the trust is seeing a difference and the challenges involved.

This will be an active session and there will be opportunities to work with different colleagues.

Don’t miss this opportunity to work with Sean and Anna to develop your understanding of disadvantage, poverty informed practice and curriculum, and how to move beyond the pupil premium.

Conference Schedule

8:30am – 9:00am: Arrival and coffee
9:00am – Welcome
9:15am – 10:30am: Keynote – Sean Harris
10:30am – 11:00am: Coffee
11:00am – 12:30pm: Workshop – Sean Harris
12:30pm – 1:30pm: Networking Lunch
1:30pm – 3:30pm: Workshop – Anna Carter

Each member school has TWO free places!


Sean Harris

Sean Harris is a doctoral researcher with Teesside University investigating the ways in which system leaders can help to address poverty and educational inequality in schools. He is also a trust improvement leader at Tees Valley Education, an all-through multi-academy trust serving communities in the North East of England.

Anna Carter

Anna is Education Team Co-Lead,Trust Lead for Curriculum and Professional Learning at Northamptonshire Primary Academy Trust (NPAT) and Delivery Partner Lead for Northamptonshire Teaching School Hub.

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‘Lessons from Cleverlands’ Conference | 1 February 2024

Join us for an insightful talk by education expert Lucy Crehan, author of ‘Cleverlands’.

Lucy will draw on her experience researching the world’s top-performing education systems to share some surprising insights on pedagogy, the philosophy underlying their high performance, and some practical school-level strategies which schools in England can consider, taking inspiration from Finland, Japan, Canada, Singapore and Shanghai.

In this talk, you’ll discover:

  • Surprising findings about what really drives success in top school systems like Finland and Singapore. Gain a new perspective on what’s possible in education.
  • The guiding philosophy behind these high-flying systems and how it underpins everything else they do.
  • Three practical strategies your school can implement around curriculum design, student support, and teacher collaboration. Walk away with actionable steps to transform your practice.

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain actionable insights from one of the world’s foremost thinkers on high-performing school systems. Attendees will gain a fresh perspective on how to support their students, clarity on best practices that get results, and inspiration to bring out the best in their students.

WalkThrus – Demonstrating impact
Matt Stone, Operations Director of WalkThrus will lead a session about the impact of WalkThrus as a pedagogical approach. You may have heard of them but have little experience of running them in your school or already have signed up to the WalkThrus platform and want to know how to use it most efficiently in schools. We feel that the approach provides clear models for learning, based upon a secure evidence base, and we want to explore using them across the membership. There will be an opportunity for Q&A following the presentation.

Each member school has TWO free places!

Conference Schedule

8:30am – 9:00am: Coffee
9:00am – 10:00am: Keynote
10:05am – 10:45am: Panel
10:45am – 11:15am: Coffee
11:15am -1:00pm: Workshop 
1:00pm – 2:00pm: Networking Lunch
2:00pm – 3:00pm: WalkThrus – Demonstrating impact

Lucy Crehan

Lucy Crehan is an education explorer and international education consultant. She began her career as a Science teacher, and then spent time living and working with teachers in five ‘top-performing’ education systems; the basis for her book, ‘Cleverlands: the secrets behind the success of the world’s education superpowers’, one of The Economist’s ‘books of the year 2016’. On her return, Lucy wrote a book on teacher career structures for IIEP UNESCO, and spent a year as part of a team advising foreign governments on education reform at Education Development Trust. She now works as an independent consultant, most recently working on curriculum reform in Wales, and teaches an online Masters module on International Comparisons in Education at the University of Buckingham.

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This approach provides clear models for learning, based upon a secure evidence base. In 24/25 join the Norfolk WalkThrus cohort to provide a network to integrate this pedagogical approach to improving teaching and learning across our schools. CPD, networks and instructional coaching all included in membership!