TEACHERS from across the district joined over 900 colleagues at the Harrogate International Conference Centre for one of the biggest school training days the region has ever experienced.

The third biennial staff development day event organised by the Red Kite Teaching School Alliance took place on Friday, June 27 and saw staff from Ilkley Grammar School come together with those from Benton Park School in Rawdon, Horsforth School, and Otley's Prince Henry’s Grammar School, along with Harrogate Grammar School, Malton School, Nidderdale High School, Ralph Thoresby School, Rossett School, Roundhay School and South Craven School to share best practice.

The Red Kite Teaching School Alliance is a partnership of 24 Yorkshire schools and institutions, across all phases (primary, secondary, special schools and universities) from inner city locations to rural contexts, that come together to share their skills, experience, talent and capacity to help improve the learning and achievement of young people across Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Red Kite Alliance provides nationally accredited and bespoke leadership, training, support, research and development opportunities to school staff across the region. They have a bank of nationally and regionally recognised experts within the Alliance that can act as a task force to help schools and individuals in need of support.

The day gave staff an exciting opportunity to work with colleagues from 11 secondary schools in the partnership across Yorkshire. The theory behind the day was inspired by the marginal learning gains philosophy that underpinned the success of Team GB Cycling at the Beijing and London Olympics: focus on doing a few small things really well; aggregating all these gains together will give staff insightful and practical ideas to implement in their schools, providing a significant impact on teaching and learning.

Attendees were treated to motivational key note speeches from Damian Hughes and Rosie Swale Pope MBE. Damian Hughes is a Professor of Psychology at Manchester University and a former sports psychologist for Manchester United and England Rugby Teams. He works in UK’s schools as well as in international business and sport helping to create winning cultures. Global Adventurer Rosie Swale Pope MBE is recognised as one of the world’s most courageous women of her generation. She is the only person in history to have undertaken a solo unsupported run around the world over nearly five years.

During the day, groups of staff focused on key central tensions faced in schools, including literacy, numeracy, engaging boys, challenging the most able, and using technology to enhance learning. The outcomes of the discussions were showcased in the afternoon sharing the good ideas and solutions that had been collectively created.

Deputy headteacher for learner experience at Prince Henry's, Judith Nelson, said: "As a school within the Red Kite Alliance, the benefits of this cross-region collaboration are clear.

"Although we run several very effective training days in school throughout the year, being able to work with such a large group of professionals and gain knowledge and best practice from across the region is extremely valuable.

"The lessons we take from the day and the networks which are built are of immense benefit."