Spread the word

If you ever thought your problems were your own, unshared by other schools, make sure you check out the report from this year's networks, partnerships, collaboratives annual conference.

You will discover the thoughts of 1,000 other educationists who contributed to the "learning conversations" at the UK's largest school network conference organised by the National College for School Leadership.

Last year's conference which attracted 750 delegates is still providing practitioners with food for thought, thanks to the downloadable directory, available from the college's website, which shares the learning from more than 100 school networks. This was achieved through a series of interactive seminars where each network shared its best practice, answered questions, gave out resources and asked for advice.

The directory received 856 downloads during the month after the conference and has continued to receive a high number of downloads every month, more than 5,500 to date.

Kate Bond, lead facilitator and co-ordinator of this year's conference, says: "We were surprised at the level of interest in the 2005 directory. It started as a programme but it's been used more widely. Networks are interested in the practice of other networks. The directory of learning conversations has been a link to the practice taking place and illustrates the work that is making a difference in classrooms.

"This year, we've changed the directory to meet the needs of those using it during and after the event. Each entry will include the network's contact details and identify a resource which shares the learning of the network."

Gene Payne, formerly operational director at NCSL, says: "Our experience with the 2005 directory highlighted the need for a tool which helps networks contact each other. This has led to the creation of two network directories, one outlining primary national strategy learning networks and one of networked learning communities, excellence in cities clusters and other education partnerships."

Both directories allow the user to search for networks working on a similar focus or in a particular region. It is hoped that the directories will help schools to connect with the learning of other schools across the UK.

Melissa Murphy Download the 2006 Learning Conversations directory and Learning Networks directory from www.ncsl.org.uklearningfrompractice

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