Learning to Learn: Swalefest 2018





Teachers from schools in Kent and East Sussex took part in one of the largest educational events in the southeast on Thursday, March 29. SwaleFest 2018 was put on by Swale Academies Trust to bring together teachers and key influencers to collaborate, learn and push education forward.

Click Here for the SwaleFest 2018 Newsletter

The event, held at Westlands School in Sittingbourne, hosted some 800 delegates including teachers from the 17 primary and secondary schools that are supported by Swale Academies Trust.  The conference’s theme, Learning to Learn, sought to inform, support and inspire teachers through talks, panel discussions and workshops covering a wide range of different topics.


SwaleFest was opened by student leaders from all the secondary schools in the trust.  Each student spoke about initiatives to empower students that are happening in their school.   They were followed by keynote speaker Professor Guy Claxton, one of the UK’s leading experts on the development of young people’s learning capacities.

Other guest speakers included Laura McInerney, education journalist and founder of Teacher Tapp; writer David Didau; Dame Alison Peacock, CEO of the Chartered College of Teachers; Ben Walden, a former Shakespearean actor who teaches communication and leadership skills and Dominic Herrington, Regional Schools Commissioner for the Southeast and South London.   They were joined in panel discussions by other movers and shakers in education including, Priya Lakhani, founder of CENTURY –Tech and Douglas Archibald, Director of Whole Education, along with MPs Stephen Lloyd and Gordon Henderson.


Jon Whitcombe, CEO of Swale Academies Trust, spoke about the collective power of schools working together and sharing best practice. He paid tribute to teachers and support staff whose passion and commitment was tangibly improving schools in the trust. 

Teacher Christopher Pettett, from Regis Manor Primary School, said he found Guy Claxton’s talk particularly inspirational.  He added: “It’s also great to be around like-minded teachers – we are all working to the same goals.”

00100dportrait_00100_burst20180329101425Fatma Bacha, a Year 10 student from Peacehaven Community School, said: “I think SwaleFest is hugely inspiring. It’s good to see teachers taking time to find new ways to teach us. And it’s not just about the grades – they are going deeper, helping us to develop life skills.”