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FTS National Conference Goes Online

FTS virtual National Conference was an online success.

Held on 11-12 September 2020, FTS National Conference transformed from one of the most inspiring education face-to-face events of the year into a resounding online success.

The Future Teaching Scholars annual conference is a real highlight of the year, where we bring our future teachers together to discover more about school life and the role of a teacher, as well as developing their vital skills. Scholars benefit from a range of workshops led by expert practitioners and are able to share their experiences with their fellow Scholars from across the country.

Future Teaching Scholars, developed and delivered by Education Development Trust and funded by the Department for Education, aims to develop the classroom skills and confidence of aspiring teachers, as they study undergraduate courses in maths and physics at some of England’s top universities.

The conference aims to introduce Scholars to range a topics that are vital for new teachers, helping to prepare them for their Initial Teacher Training. Sessions included how teachers can make effective use of technology, approaches to behaviour management and classroom culture, and practical strategies for scaffold learning.

Usually hosted in Nottingham, with a number of cohorts coming together under one roof to take part in two-days of interactive sessions, this year required us to take a different approach. Although it wasn’t possible for our Scholars to be together in person, we wanted to ensure that they didn’t miss out on this important event. Bringing such a large and complex conference online doesn’t come without challenges, but it was important for us that we were able to offer the same opportunities for interaction and discussion.

As an organisation, we know the benefits of face-to-face learning, so we felt there was a real need to retain and replicate these benefits when moving to an online conference programme.

Through leveraging technology to allow for interactivity and ensuring this was plugged into each session, we also developed the format of workshops to allow Scholars to engage with the content, work together in groups to discuss and explore, and discover more about each other’s experiences whilst being able to develop their practical classroom skills. The suite of interactive sessions, each hosted by a member of the programme team, made full use of the functionality on offer including breakout rooms for smaller group discussions, polls allowing Scholars to instantly share thoughts and feedback with us, and even a mixed cohort maths and physics based quiz led by Rob Eastaway, Director of Maths Inspiration.

Overall, the conference was a resounding success with 100% of Scholars telling us they were satisfied or very satisfied with the event.

Scholars that attended the conference told us:

“I really enjoyed the breakout zones, the transition was smooth from breakout zones to conference.”

“Although it is not as authentic as the in person conference, I found the online virtual conference surprisingly enjoyable and felt I have learnt a lot after attending!”

“I found the first session on challenging schools very interesting, I had never considered working in a challenging school before, but am now thinking that could be something I’d like to do in the future.”

We would like to say huge thank you to our fantastic speakers and to our Scholars who attended the event! We look forward to seeing you all again next year!