I attended my fourth Primary Rocks this weekend and it felt as fresh, fun and positive as my first. Primary Rocks is not about slick presentations, corporate big bucks; it isn’t political or after making sweeping changes to the education system…

Primary Rocks is something very special… it is about relationships. It is about meeting people, discussing what we do, agreeing, disagreeing, telling stories, laughing, drinking, eating (massive shout out to the catering this year – very special and such a lovely touch). It is about telling more stories, banter, being introduced to new faces and familiar twitter handles, it is ice cream In the rain, and puddles as deep as lift shafts.

Primary Rocks would not work on a week day; it would not work outside of Medlock school with its transparent drains (which were more than active yesterday). I joked with Gaz (or is that Jazz) Needle over a curry… how such a desperate group managed to come together and create such an event is one of educations little miracles. He was offended of course… but I knew what I was trying to say. I think because they are all so different and their strengths shine out like some sort of dysfunctional Avengers team is one of the reasons the event is such a success for those that are lucky enough to get a ticket.

It has to be in that lovely school. Tickets will always be gold dust… it can’t become a franchise… a label packaged together to sell out… coming to a town near you -The Primary Rocks! How do you grow a thing? You make it special. How do you become a part of the thing… you invest in it.

The debate that has been very active tonight is an important one… but even if you could go… it would not be Primary Rocks – if it wasn’t on a Saturday or in a small venue. It’s always going to disappoint many of us.

My highlights this year were:

@ClareSealy taking the curriculum apart with a scalpel and putting it back together with such clarity. Never have I felt so sure what I need to do with our curriculum.

@imageinquiry showing us all how methodical thinking can create a lesson of such control with so much potential to develop the learning. I liked how Tim just gave us a snippet and yet there was so much fun, discussion and backbone for a great lesson in that short moment. I ruined it by getting over excited and then Tim showed us all how you deal with ,’that child’ and we learnt another lesson. Well I did.

@ColinGrimes developing a talk that has real potential to explore – looking at the principles behind army life and the art of war within education. I think there’s a book in there Colin.

I was so impressed with people being very candid and talking about their mental health and shining a light on what we need to do (talk about it) and what they are doing.

I was first to win the raffle this year and was struck down with terror knowing I had to sit on the ‘best seats in the house’ staring out into the audience dreading the inevitable singing… but even my cold dead heart was warmed by Sweet Caroline and the contrast between Simon Smith and Chris Dyson… if primary Rocks is anything it is eclectic, quirky even… I think it’s quite unique to have a Keynote like theirs which showed successful schools but the actions they took were so different.

It would not matter who you are- you’d be accepted and welcome here. There is an honesty in Primary Rocks – a vulnerability that helps us reflect beyond any ordinary CPD – (summed up by @grahamandre in his opening talk). It is SO needed in education right now. It is not pretentious – it exists comfortably in the principles it sets out. Primary Rocks is happy to talk about what we do – wearing a turquoise shell suit.

So, Monday night chats coming up and I’m already looking forward to not getting a ticket next year. If someone gets my ticket… good on you.