Annual Conference 2023: ‘The Shape of Things to Come’

What is the Delta Conference?

Every year, Trust leaders come together for a two-day conference. This year the 7th Autumn Delta Conference was held at The Principal, York and the theme was “The Shape of Things to Come”, where we discussed what was on the cards for Delta as a Trust moving forward. Colleagues delivered important updates and developments, while guest speakers cast a unique perspective on different topics relatable to all of us in education, from leadership styles to the political landscape.

All Things DofE and Dallowgill: Jane McCabe

Collaboration Updates and Activity

A segment was dedicated to talking about education outside of the classroom. More specifically, the Duke of Edinburgh programme and our eco-sufficient residential centre, Dallowgill. We were able to discuss the importance of teaching students life skills that they might not learn elsewhere, including home. For some students, Dallowgill is there first time away from home, making their own bed or packing a bag.

This opportunity has currently been extended to over 3,600 students since its’s opening in 2021.

50% of students that visit Dallowgill come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Here’s what some of the children have to say:

“I didn’t know you could make pizza, I thought it just came in a box”

“Normally I hate walking, but this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.”

“This is the first time I’ve been able to have a shower without an adult helping me”

A child with disabilities who lives in an unadapted house

Guest Speaker: Sam Freedman

Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government

Sam Freedman was one of our guest speakers at the conference and spoke from the perspective of a senior fellow at the Institute for Government. He writes regularly on politics and policy for Prospect, New Statesman, TES, Financial Times, The Guardian and Sunday Times.

Previously he was a CEO of Education Partnerships Group, which supports governments in sub-Saharan Africa to provide education policy support to Governments, and was an Executive Director at the UK’s largest teacher training charity, Teach First, ending up as the Executive Director in charge of recruitment and teacher training.

Sam discussed some hard-hitting topics around the educational landscape from a political perspective, including SEND statistics, community poverty and financial figures.

“I’m a big fan of what your Trust is doing.”

Sam Freedman

Sam did congratulate our Trust on its financial position which is a “testament to [our] leadership”.

Many principals, heads of academies and Trust leaders followed Sam’s presentation with leading questions around how Delta can provide support for all of its communities and families that are affected by the political and social landscape.

Guest Speaker: Brigadier Nicky Moffat CBE

The highest ranked woman in the British Army

“You don’t have to lead like other people, not least because there is often little joy or success in trying to be someone you’re not. If you lead in a way that’s appropriate for your role and authentic and natural to you, your far more likely to thrive personally and to inspire those for whom your responsible.”

Brigadier Nicky Moffat

Brigadier Nicky Moffat is the highest ranking woman in the British Army with a 27 year long career in the forces. She joined us with an inspiring and engaging speech about how she was able to gain the title she now holds.

In 2012, after resigning from the British Army, she established “What Good Leadership Looks Like” helping businesses across the nation (sometimes even the globe) make transformative and sustainable adjustments in leadership and culture. She spoke of the different types of leadership and how not all are always appropriate depending on the role you have.

This very engaging speech was followed by many questions and conversation starters from colleagues who were present at the event, with many interested in implementing the techniques and perspectives spoken about.

Guest Speaker: Dr Philip Smith OBE

Dr Smith has a degree in Theoretical Physics, a Masters in School Leadership and a Doctorate in the Transformational Leadership of Schools.

Dr Smith talked about “Fixing the pipe” and using sketches from a student to demonstrate how copying someone else who is doing a good job instead of finding a unique solution to your problem with trial and error.

He gave a very captivating speech about how to guide pupils and teach them to right their wrongs without just telling them off and not teaching them how to improve next time. He talked about real life scenarios where he has helped to guide a student and improve their behaviour and helped change their lives for the better in doing so.

He had everyone captivated with his storytelling abilities, sprinkling humorous stories and details throughout his presentation. We can’t wait for him to join the Delta team in 2024!

Guest Speaker: Dr Simon Witham

Accompanied by Sarah Gill

Simon was formerly the headteacher of Thorpepark Primary School, based in Orchard Park, Hull. In 2015 he was appointed as the Chief Executive of Venn Academy Trust. A growing Trust that is acknowledged for its work in the SEMH and primary mainstream sectors. Simon and his teams work with some of the most disadvantaged young people across four local authorities, understanding the important role education plays in challenging areas.

During his speech, Simon talked about how our Trusts collaborated on the redevelopment of the Milton School. A school which was in an abysmal state before we were able to work together, creating a safer environment for the children that go there and the surrounding community.

We were able to discuss the importance of putting the students first when working in education.

Want to find out more about the Venn Academy Trust? Visit their website Here!

An Outstanding Conference

We would like to thank all our guest speakers and colleagues who made this conference one to remember. The conference allows all leaders to come together and experience what makes Delta special. It also provides an opportunity to share Trust messages, updates, developments, statistics and training to all academies in one place. Find out what our colleagues think of the Annual Conference by watching the video below!