Twitter can be a soulless space. Its evolutionary track needs a touchy feely strand to it. The best bits of #PrimaryRocks was meeting ‘real people’. That, and talking to ‘real people’ whilst drinking…

I go to a lot of conferences. I’m a head, I have nothing else to do really. What I liked about Primary Rocks was the fact that it was not about slick international speakers (Though there are few better than @HYWEL_ROBERTS) but it was about the right now issues and practice of teachers. It had a grass roots feel. There’s something virtuous about getting up at 5AM to get to Manchester for 9 on a Saturday morning and then sitting in a lovely school surrounded by other positive souls all coming together because they have a love for what they do.

Lucy Powell the shadow secretary kicked off and was way too casual to really have the impact that she should have wanted. She had a room full of people desperately looking for someone to seize this moment in education and fly the flag. This is your audience Lucy. You are shadow education secretary. Now is the time to build your capital… (*trips over soap box).

@HYWEL_ROBERTS gave a personal touch to tackling the journey he is going on as he tries to take the children he teaches on a journey (If that makes sense?). He very simply got the room to think about the worlds they create and to stop seeing the curriculum as something we DO and more about something we can CREATE- something special, something inspiring. His Charlie and the Chocolate Factory follow up work was a powerful insight in to what the creative teacher can do. I would highly recommend listening to him if you ever get the opportunity.

I also really enjoyed the panel debate. Ensuring you don’t fill your room with like-minded people is crucial and some of the debate (though only small sound bites) tackled issues that mattered to the room (Pub based debate tried to solve it later! We may have solved it? I forget….). @jon_brunskill did a good job in ensuring the questions up for debate got the room motivated. This is more important than meets the eye. Suggesting making SATs compulsory every year is one solution to taking the pressure off of Y2 and Y6 teachers.

I warmed to Jon the moment I met him. I feel he is someone on a journey. I also had the pleasure of meeting @ConorHeaven (Who had every teacher’s tech nightmare session where NOTHING worked) he set up some very basic principles in his session via the questions; Why do it? Who is it for? And what impact will it have? Then prioritise… I feel there is much to build here – especially in terms of how teachers can challenge Senior Leadership Teams when they feel they NEED to (Which seems to be a lot lately).

I was very excited to meet @ChrisChivers2… I AM Old Primary Head (Impersonates Eric  Cantona) but Chris radiates calm reflective leadership. There’s something very reassuring in meeting him,.

I also got to meet @NancyGedge who did a fantastic and informed rant about the purpose of a school and then made everyone in the room laugh when she said, “That’s how ALL my tweets really sound!”

It was weird meeting twitter people in real life. You didn’t know whether to use your real name or your twitter handle. You were known only by what you have said in 140 characters or blogged about and then suddenly there was this real life person in front of you. For a moment you tried to guess who they were (It is easy with @NancyGedge – great hair) and then you say something and hope you don’t sound like a raging idiot, turning away 30 seconds later biting your fist saying… ‘Awkward…’  It never happened once during the day. People were lovely.

You see… I am getting at something here… (As my blogs kind of do sometimes)

It was @MichaelT1979 who left me with the practical thing I will take away, in his session on the lunacy of marking. He very openly shared his marking and tore it apart. This short session really hit home how much we have believed the hype of marking over the REAL impact of marking. The madness of a system that dominates teachers workload. Next work scrutiny in my school is going to be very interesting! I am up for the NO MARKING REVOLUTION! …OK, I’ll do it when it’s the next trend and everyone is doing it…

The day was so packed I never got the opportunity to speak to @JennaLucas81 about using P4C in assemblies. A sign of a good conference is leaving feeling you need another conversation.

The best bit of #PrimaryRocks for me was going to the pub… Not because I am a terrible alcoholic (Though this is a small factor, spills drink over self again) but because you then got to spend a little bit more time getting to know people. People like the absolutely interesting and upbeat @ali-bowman23. People like @theprimaryhead (Yes, we are two very different people!), @imagineinquiry, @gazneedle, @farrowmr, @missSMerrill, @WatsEd, @HeyMissSmith, @grahamandre, @shinpad1, and so many others who are not just white noise on the twitter highway (They move and have like ‘real lives and stuff’). They are the type of people who at the very least make you question, argue, smile or think… (Not bad at £10 a ticket).  And this is my point:

BURN TWITTER!

No, sorry that’s not my point.

We need more opportunities to come together as a profession. All in one room (classroom or pub) to talk about, be passionate about, care about, rage about, and think about… what we do. @redgierob briefly talked about the BREWDOG vision for education (You’re on to something there!) and spoke about education being about Bread and Roses. I think we are good at Bread and Roses in our line of work.We are teachers and we are in interesting times. I am not sure twitter will change the world of education, though it has been a catalyst for change – but as @mrlockyer showed at the end of the day – to be great at our job when working with children we need to have:

Warmth

Trust

Empathy

Positive relationships

In that case #PrimaryRocked

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