A conference to launch the #LearningFirst vision was held at Sheffield Hallam University on 21st May 2016.

This is the original live, unedited streamed video. Here are lots of edited clips for sharing (kindly edited and shared via Leah Stewart):

The lecture theatre sessions were captured by the incredibly talented Penelope Mendonca penmendonca.com @MendoncaPen You are free to download and share these images but please ensure that you credit Pen, in all instances.


Click on the image above and you can then click through to see all 3 posters. Pen has provided high resolution versions for you to download here.

Hannah Tyreman did a fantastic job of documenting much of the day:

HannahTyreman on Twitter

My reflections on #LearningFirst (and links to notes I made throughout the day) https://t.co/hMQmsVuNLs

Simon Cowley

TSC South West Regional Representative. Sch imp and PM responsibility for White Horse Fed.

Perspective: across TSAs
It is very much my feeling that pupil performance will not be dictated by a number, point or a step. That’s why I have entitled my workshop : ‘Data (as we knew it) is dead!’ I will looking at this from my perspective of working and collaborating across many organisations.



Speakers’ presentations will be uploaded over the next week. Box will be marked with a PP, once presentation is available. Gemma Andrews & Lorraine Oldale

Head of Learning and Development, AET & HT of Wix and Wrabness PS

Perspective: across TSAs
We have called our workshop, ‘Finding  the Balance’ and are very much looking forward to sharing how we are working as an alliance of schools to find an assessment method that works across the key stages.



Gill Kelly

Consultant Headteacher, EOS

Perspective: across MATs
Anyone who know anything about EOS Education will understand why the title of my workshop is: ‘Don’t see things as they are, see them as they could be!’ Looking forward to explore this exciting approach with delegates.



Alison Ley

Deputy Headteacher, Castle Hill School

Perspective: SEND
I am going to share our approach to SEND assessment using MAPP as an ongoing assessment tool linked with P levels, the achievement continuum and EYFS. Thinking together about how to keep up with the changing needs.

Handout 1
Handout 2

Di Leedham & Dianne Excell

English/Literacy/EAL teacher; Regional Groups Coordinator NALDIC
The title of our workshop is ‘Multilingual Matters’. Come to our workshop and discuss the principles of EAL Assessment, with examples of approaches to make the most of your EAL Learners and their linguistic potential



Natalie Packer

Member of DfE Commission for AWL

Perspective: SEND
My day job involves providing a range of support for SEND across schools and other organisations. I am really looking forward to sharing my ideas on an inclusive approach to assessment.




Charlotte Hacking

Learning Programme Leader, CLPE

Perspective: Progression in reading & writing
We will share the thinking and research behind the CLPE scales and give delegates an opportunity to reflect on how to use them in school in their current context.



John Tomsett, Victoria Umpleby & Rebecca McCrea
Huntingdon Secondary & Primary SchoolsPerspective: cross phase KS2-KS3
We are really looking forward to sharing how we work together across our schools to ensure that our assessment systems work in the best interests of all our pupils.
Ros Wilson

Education Consultant and creator of Big Writing and Power Writing

Perspective: quality writing
I really looking forward to my workshop. It will be a great opportunity to discuss my ideas on how teachers can become informed, expert and confident in the assessment of writing.



Shirley Clarke & Seamus Gibbons

Education author, researcher & HT Langford School
Perspective: formative assessment
We are looking forward to sharing Shirley’s  wealth of high quality ideas, practical strategies, classroom and whole-school examples of her approach to formative assessment.


Lisa Pettifer

Head of Profess. Dev, Nelson Tomlinson School

Perspective: enabling teacher agency, literacy
My workshop title is ‘Playing the game without gaming the system in assessment in English.’  We will look at the theory and practice of assessing writing in English, and how you can make the difference to your pupils’ development.


Dr Julian Grenier

Headteacher, Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre

Perspective: EYFS
I am looking forward to sharing with delegates a project that’s being developed by the East London Partnership and the STEEP Teaching Schools in London. We are looking at how we can develop our thinking about EYFS assessment, using the existing frameworks. It seems like there is far too much focus on coverage and huge volumes of data and tracking in many EYFS settings, and too little emphasis on children as learners and thinkers.


Dr Mark Boylan

Director, The Evaluation of the Mathematics Teacher Exchange: China-England,  Sheffield Hallam Uni

Perspective: Shanghai primary maths
I am very keen to share some of the lessons learned from the evaluation, which I have been leading, of the Shanghai primary maths teacher exchange government initiative. In particular, how ‘learning first’ challenges teachers’ mindsets about differentiation.




Sameena Choudry

Founder of Equitable Education

Perspective: EAL
The title of my workshop is, ‘Positively Plurilingual’. We will explore how we can build on and enhance the linguistic repertoires our EAL pupils bring to school.








Binks Neate-Evans, Katie Mack & Sarah Mardell

West Earlham Infant and Nursery School
Perspective: EYFS
We are looking forward to sharing the approaches to assessment that we use in our Infant and Nursery school. Would love to hear delegates’ ideas too.








Kat Schofield

Consultant Headteacher, Mead Teaching School

Perspective: research & trialling
My workshop will encourage delegates to embrace AfL to support vocabulary and language development; applying AfL principles to develop oracy, language and vocabulary.

See the article about Kat’s session below.








Ally Daubney & Prof. Martin Fautley

Uni of Sussex and Incorporated Soc of Musicians & Director, research in education

Perspective: music education
Our workshop will explore some challenges presented by the Arts in the curriculum and consider some practical solutions for meaningfully assessing throughout your work. You will leave with some practical ideas to develop the curriculum, pedagogies and assessment in your own setting which are ethical, in line with “what Ofsted want” and help to inspire learning within and beyond the classroom.


Freely available materials from the ISM website – teachers just need to add their contact details to get access to the primary and secondary materials. www.ism.org/nationalcurriculum

Pete Sides

South Yorkshire Maths Hub

Perspective: maths
I am aiming to help you become more confident in assessing maths and too challenge you to become listening and reflective practitioners, if not ‘classroom researchers’, perhaps through the use of Lesson Study.






Karen Wilding

NCETM Professional Standard holder

Perspective: maths
Entitled ‘Stopping them trying to guess what’s in your head! Real Assessment in Maths.’ My workshop is an opportunity to explore the power of the ‘neutral face’; getting all children thinking and talking, and the idea of ‘teaching’ becoming listening.





Gary Wilkie, Hannah Phillips and Alannah Palmer

Sheringham Primary School

Perspective: developing AWL systems
We are really looking forward to sharing how we have developed a culture of formative assessment in our school and how our PITA (point in time assessment) system, is based on a set of principles that we have developed  and is not an attempt to recreate levels. It allows us to focus on what children need next in their learning, rather than tell us that they children can’t do yet what they haven’t been taught!


Simon Smith & Gareth Davies

Headteacher and MD and co-founder of Frog Education

Perspective: implementation of assessment principles
We are passionate about bringing assessment back to where it should be – for teaching and learning. We will be given an honest review of the implementation of the NAHT assessment principles, from a software supplier working with lots of schools and a head teacher who has dared to think differently – and been through an Ofsted inspection during the process.

Marc Hayes

Teacher, Bader Primary School

Perspective: Visible learning, pupil voice
In my workshop we will be looking at Visible Learning, which requires teachers to see learning through the eyes of the learners, and use assessment as feedback to us. It provides three guiding questions: Where am I going? How am I doing? Where do I go next? Pupil voice is at the heart of this, as Hattie says feedback is most effective when it is from pupil to teacher.

Lee Card

Deputy Headteacher and SLE

Perspective: workload
The title of my workshop is ‘ Assidere: Assessment Agency – Creating Workload Within Limits’  The word assess comes from the Latin assidere, which means to sit beside. Literally then, to assess means to sit beside the learner. In my workshop we will look at ways to seize the AWL agenda! Harness trust and co-agency to build  ‘Workload Within Limits’.


Diane Swift

SCITT Director
Perspective: initial teacher education
In my workshop, I am looking forward to  sharing our SCITT’s use of concepts content and contexts to enable disciplined, careful and sensitive assessment so as to empower progress across the primary curriculum.

Diane’s Swift’s session on ‘Supporting Beginning Teachers in Being Assessment Capable’. Diane is Director at Keele and North Staffordshire Primary SCITT. See the article below.








Andy Moor

Principal and Director of Ignite TSA

Perspective: principled assessment
I have entitled my workshop, Our journey to the Emerald City of assessment – using technology to find the balance. Perspectives across TSAs and beyond’. We at Ignite and St Bernards, are extremely passionate about getting assessment right for our children and as a result have developed something that I would like to share with delegates.


Jeremy Crook


Perspective: initial teacher education
Could you use evidence of your pupils’ progress to demonstrate your own competency and progress?  It’s easier than you might think! Come to my workshop – I would love to share my ideas with you.






Paul Scales

Subject Leader for MFL, Langley Grammar Sch

Perspective: MFL
I am going to be sharing a radical new approach to assessment in MFL, which follows the advice of the AWL Commission.  No more “can do” statements. an alternative to common MFL assessment models.






Asher Levin

Director of Inclusion and Research

Perspective: cognitive science in education
My workshop title is, ‘Bringing cognitive science to life in the classroom to aid learning.’ We will be exploring the idea that learning is a science and how we can put cognitive science research into practice.




Shahina Burnett

On behalf of Wayne Tennent

Perspective: guided comprehension & dialogic teaching
I am very much looking forward to leading a  workshop based on Wayne Tennent’s research on guided comprehension and dialogic teaching. Looking at how we can develop children’s inference and vocabulary.




Alan Eathorne & Stef Edwards
Assistant Headteacher, Meadowdale PSPerspective: developing practice, lesson study
We are going to be looking at developing assessment expertise through lesson study. What difference does it make? We will explore how lesson study will provide a lens for viewing the developments in practice you are making in your setting.
Summer Turner

Director of T&L, East London Science School

Perspective: assessment design
Entitled ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants: aspirational assessment.’ In my workshop we will look at what it takes to design a meaningful assessment system from scratch and to build a system which raises the bar of expectation for all.


Kat Schofield’s session was captured by a Pearson Blogger. Great job!

#LearningFirst: The Power of Talk in Developing Children’s Higher Order Thinking Skills

What’s the difference between formative and summative assessment? According to Kat Schofield, you can relate the 2 neatly to Steven Covey’s ‘circle of influence’ and ‘circle of concern’. On Saturday 21 May, a group of us from Pearson went along to the first #LearningFirst event hosted by the @BeyondLevels team organised by Dame Alison Peacock.

Diane’s Swift’s session on ‘Supporting Beginning Teachers in Being Assessment Capable’, was captured by one of the Pearson Bloggers who attended the day.  Diane is Director at Keele and North Staffordshire Primary SCITT.

Pearson Primary UK on Twitter

On 21 May, we went to the first @BeyondLevels #LearningFirst event. Read the first in our series of blog posts on it https://t.co/ZmOOlq6BT8

Assessment Tracking Systems – Keeping it Simple

Assessment Tracking System – Keeping it Simple. #Learningfirst I have embraced Life without Levels from the start of my first headship. Listening to Tim Oates at The Key Conference, I agreed with the key principles of fewer things in greater depth and studying things at the right pace to secure deep learning.

A Head Teacher’s Response – Find Professional Courage: The White Paper and a Profession in Crisis

The following post originally appeared in the Issue 6 of #TheFeed, and was written by Tom Rees, Head Teacher of Simon De Senlis Primary School. #TheFeed – Issue 6 – May 2016-Tim BushDocs.com Find Professional Courage; The White Paper and a Profession in Crisis? It’s a funny old time in education at the moment; budget…

Saturday period 4 – #Learningfirst conference @beyondlevels

So thought it might be appropriate for a small reflection on the rather excellent #learnfirst conference that I have been to today. There were a couple of profound moments the second one was when was when Mick Walker (he the wise owl of QCA and curriculum) reminded us that the average age of teachers in…

#LearningFirst Conference – In a Nutshell

I attended this first #LearningFirst conference and wanted to summarise the key messages that I left with. (The fact the day has inspired me to set up a blog is a result in itself!) The profession has taken a public bashing over recent years, yet a large number of us gave up a Saturday for…

Thank you #LearningFirst

It was a breath of fresh air spending my Saturday last weekend at the #LearningFirst conference in Sheffield. It would have had to be something special for me to give up half my weekend and it certainly was that. One of the strongest impressions I came away with was the need for pupils, teachers and leaders to…

Why we need to take a ‘Punk’ approach to the future of assessment

“Don’t be told what you want. Don’t be told what you need” God Save the Queen, Sex Pistols (1977) This weekend, educationalists who have answered a call from Dame Alison Peacock (article free to subscribers) are gathering in Sheffield for the inaugural #LearningFirst event.

Here are Rob’s punk posters

Cirrus Assessment on Twitter

Read our thoughts after a fantastic #LearningFirst #Assessment Conference https://t.co/Ywp5NX3Es4 @BeyondLevels

school data updates on Twitter

Following on from talk yesterday, here are my 5 Golden Rules for tracking https://t.co/qMYCeiz32r #LearningFirst

John Tomsett on Twitter

NEW POST “This much I know about the #LearningFirst conference and unfettered teaching” https://t.co/jZLf2LGEIE

Tes on Twitter

ICYMI Eight ways to improve primary assessment – from the weekend’s inaugural #LearningFirst conference https://t.co/1GCjNDqXCr

CLPE on Twitter

We were so glad be at #LearningFirst on Sat – Here are the Reading & Writing Scales we shared https://t.co/BS7O6tS1FO @BeyondLevels