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Education 2023 – Two-day service-wide training event – 209/2023

By April 5, 2023 No Comments

Gibraltar’s second full service-wide inter-school INSET training day took place last Thursday 30th and Friday 31st March.

Over 900 staff from all Gibraltar Government Education establishments gathered at the Bayside/Westside Schools complex and at St Paul’s for two days of workshops designed to allow practitioners to share best practice; refresh their skills, knowledge and understanding; and delve more deeply into areas that are of particular interest to their role. 

Teachers, SNLSAs, technicians, nursery nurses, nurses, librarians, secretaries and school attendants from all schools participated in two training days consisting of a wide range of education-focused workshops and sessions tailor-made to specific roles. Educators from non Government schools in Gibraltar were also invited to attend along with students currently completing their PGCE at the University of Gibraltar.

The event was designed to offer all participants choice and variety, with over 200 different 1.5 hour workshops on offer over the course of the two days. Participants were invited to select the 6 workshops that most interested them and/or that would be most useful to them in their daily role. 

Workshop topics focused on a wide range of 90 foci directly related to learning and teaching including amongst others: learning through play; multi-sensory learning; inspiring inquiry through Project Based Learning; taking learning beyond the classroom walls; interdisciplinary approaches to learning; improving attendance; risk assessments; developing children holistically; creating opportunities for children with SEND; autism in the mainstream classroom; neurodiversity and managing anxiety through de-escalation; sensory processing as a building block to support learning; ESSENCE of Adolescence – rethinking the teenage brain; climate change and its importance in education; STEM; AI within the classroom; Gibraltar’s heritage in the classroom; adverse childhood experiences; an insight into children’s residential care; unconscious bias and how to challenge stereotypes within the classroom; nutrition and wellbeing; understanding and responding to self-harm. There were also workshops which focused specifically on developing skills within particular subject areas such as Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Computing, PE, DT, Art, Music and Dance; others which focused particularly on certain key stages within the child’s learning journey; as well as others which developed teachers’ skills in areas such as mentoring, using data to inform strategic priorities, and managing difficult conversations.

A large number of Education staff members  contributed to the days by leading workshops which showcased areas of practice that they are leading on within their schools/education settings or in which they have particular professional interest in at an individual level. The contributions of these individuals provided fellow colleagues with real contextual insight into their professional development. The Department of Education hopes that the cross-sector and cross-school nature of the organisation of the days will have very much enhanced the professional discourse throughout and served to ensure all educators, regardless of the pupil age group that they are currently working with, develop a deeper awareness of the full learning journey from Nursery to Year 13.

Colleagues from other government departments and agencies also supported the event by running specialised sessions and workshops for Education staff. The variety of workshops on the day was very much enriched by the workshops organised by the Ministry of Equality; Public Health Gibraltar; the Care Agency; the Gibraltar Health Authority; the Wellbeing Team; the University of Gibraltar; the Department of the Environment, Sustainability, Climate Change and Heritage; the Youth Service; the Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority and the Heritage Trust. 

Minister for Education John Cortes, who spoke to many of the participants and attended some of the sessions, said: “This is a really useful initiative, which we started last year and will now be a permanent part of the Education calendar.  The staff involved found it incredibly helpful, and enjoyable at the same time.  I am certain that the outcome will be continuing improvements to the teaching and learning experience for all.”

“It was exciting and inspiring to see so many different skills, approaches and areas of knowledge,” mentioned one teacher, with another staff member commenting on “the buzz that was palpable onsite” with members across the education community gathering together to share knowledge, experiences and perspectives.

The Director of Education, Keri Scott, explained: “As educators, our aim is to serve our community in the best way possible, by supporting learners today and preparing them for the world of tomorrow. In this way, we will help to empower learners to realise their potential and contribute to society in meaningful and positive ways. Whilst working with children, young people and their families is an immensely rewarding job and one which we are privileged to undertake, it can also be very demanding and relentless at times, and one which can have a significant adverse impact on staff wellbeing. The two day event was designed to provide staff with a multitude of opportunities to refresh and deepen their skills, knowledge and understanding; and also to celebrate all Education staff in recognition of the incredibly important role educators play in the lives of the children and young people in our community.”

In order to celebrate Education staff and help fill their cups at the end of another intense academic term, a raffle of prizes was held in order to help give staff an uplifting treat and remind them that they are valued members in our community. The staff appreciation raffle was made possible by the generosity of the following local businesses: Aphrodite; Atlantic Suites; Beautify with Dee; City Mill Bakes; Glow; Hotu; Marble Arc; Rendezvous; Seruya; Star of India; Thai Orchid Spa; The Jewel Box, The Look; The Muscle Bakery; and The Rock Hotel.

Many thanks to all involved in making the two-day training event a success!