The Tony Little Centre (CIRL), Eton Admissions and Eton Connect were proud to host primary and prep school leaders at the inaugural Primary Heads Teaching & Learning Workshop at Dorney Lake on Tuesday 7 June 2022. Attendees heard from leading researchers in the fields of evidence-based pedagogy, character education and cognitive neuroscience, learned more about Eton’s New Foundation Scholarship, Primary School Collections visits and the Eton Connect programme. The event concluded with a lively group discussion workshop around the all topics. Attendees left feeling more informed about engaging with Eton Connect and CIRL and felt enriched by the talks and discussions.

The creation of a yearly Primary Heads Teaching & Learning Workshop brings Eton College into close conversation with local primary schools. Through this event, the aim is to share knowledge of our existing partnership and bursary programmes, as well as, hear how we can work together to create future learning opportunities for pupils and teachers.

The event’s theme ‘The Science of Learning’ was chosen by CIRL, who brought together four expert researchers to give presentations. Professor Stuart Kime, Director of Education at Evidence Based Education, spoke energetically on guidelines for selecting and adapting evidence-based practice strategies to make learning stick and attendees were keen to introduce his ‘Teachers’ Tool Kit’ to their staff. Dr Kathy Weston, Founder of Tooled Up Education, presented an emotive talk tiled ‘What Every School Leader Needs to Know about Resilience’ which gave practical advice for the classroom, but also for working with parents. Julia Harrington, CEO of BrainCanDo introduced, Professor Patricia Riddell, Professor of Applied Neuroscience in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, who took the audience on a journey through the growing brain of a child and explained the importance of teachers applying this knowledge in the classroom. 

Using these experts’ talks, Jonnie Noakes (Director of CIRL) led a workshop sparking discussions around the implications and applications of the research for schools, teachers and pupils. Three talks were given by the Eton Partnership team on, admissions to Eton and the New Foundation Scholarship, an overview of Eton Connect and the new booking platform. The Collection educations officer organised for a selection of objects to be distributed to tables and used these at a starting point to discuss what is on offer within the Collections Primary Schools’ visits programme.

The aim of the event was primarily to make new connections and strengthen current relationships with our local primary schools. This is in order to both promote our current partnership opportunities and discover new avenues of partnership through discussion with our primary school colleagues. The other key objective was to create a space for collaborative learning for primary school senior leaders. The talks and workshop led on this aim. A secondary objective was to share information about the New Foundation Scholarship, which was delivered through a brief talk, short film and dedicated booklet.

Attendees left feeling more informed about engaging with Eton Connect and CIRL and felt enriched by the talks and discussions. Also, the Lake View Room at Dorney Lake provided a relaxed but professional environment which encouraged easy interaction between attendees.