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System-wide assessment results demonstrate Insight’s early success

System-wide assessment results demonstrate Insight’s early success

Catholic Education Tasmania are delighted to see early indicators of the success of Insight implementation across schools, with a measurable outcome of improved student achievement.

Executive Director Dr Gerard Gaskin said he was thrilled to see the early impact of Insight as identified by student achievement demonstrated in 2023 Progressive Achievement Testing (PAT) results.

“Let’s celebrate the early indicators of growth and redouble our efforts to see every single student grow in knowledge, wisdom and service.”

“Let’s all take great encouragement from these results. We are setting all of our students up for continuous growth in their learning across all the core subjects,” he said.

In the domains of maths, reading, spelling and vocabulary, CET Schools have seen an improvement in the average scale score. A significant component of this forward progression is the scale scores from students from Insight schools that have embraced the Science of Learning and Science of Reading methodologies.

Students from schools that have embraced the Insight Science of Learning and Science of Reading methodologies over the past 12 months achieved better growth results on PAT results across all domains from 2022 to 2023.

This progression is notable when comparing the percentage increase in average scale score. Across the domains, Insight schools outperform non-Insight schools by as much as 11 per cent.

For more information, read our Becoming the Most Improved Education System in Australia brochure.

PAT has been implemented across all CET schools, offering a system-wide view of student progress in maths, reading, spelling and vocabulary. CET will continue to use the common assessment data to measure student progress as a means of monitoring growth in teaching and learning practices over time, providing a strong evidentiary foundation on which the Insight program can build.

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Teaching Matters Summit: Day Two unveils varied perspectives and innovative ideas

Teaching Matters Summit: Day Two unveils Varied Perspectives and Innovative Ideas

After a knowledge rich first day, the second day of the Summit saw delegates enjoy a relaxed breakfast accompanied by engaging conversation with the experts. This provided an opportunity for delegates to ask questions stimulated by day one’s presentations and draw on the vast national and international expertise.

Dr Nathaniel Swain networking with delegates at breakfast

Dr Lorraine Hammond in conversation with with a delegate

Day Two’s headline keynote speaker, Jan Hasbrouck PHD, presented on how comprehension can impact the success of fluency. Her key tip to for developing students’ comprehension skills was to ensure educators focussed on letter, letter-pattern and word levels plus semantic and syntactic processes at the word, phrase, and sentence level. She also delved into automaticity, whereby reading becomes as fluent as speaking, which can be assessed by using Oral Reading Fluency (ORF), a tool which Hasbrouck highly recommends that educators use to help predict comprehension ability.  

Jan Hasbrouck Ph.D

Dr Hasbrouck was then joined by Dr Lorraine Hammond to address questions that arose from her keynote. The conversation started with a discussion around recommended assessment tools for fluency. Both Dr Hasbrouck and Dr Hammond agreed that the most important element of literacy was to continue to practice phonics, fluency and comprehension. The pair recommended daily reviews to check for understanding before moving on to more challenging content.

Jan Hasbrouck PH.D and Dr Lorraine Hammond in conversation

Delegates listening to Jan Hasbrouck PH.D and Dr Lorraine Hammond

Host of the podcast Knowledge for Teachers, Brendan Lee, provided practical strategies to support teachers in achieving productive learning in mathematics. Brendan acknowledged that while mathematics is a complex subject, the role of the teacher is to make connections in learning for students. A framework he believes is useful when understanding how to teach mathematics is Instructional Hierarchy: Stages of Learning. The three steps to follow are acquisition, fluency and generalisation. It is important for educators to remember that mathematics is like learning another language.

Brendan was followed by author and educator, Toni Hatten-Roberts who continued the numeracy theme, informing delegates on how to increase student confidence, understanding and achievement through embracing maths fluency. Toni delved into the key insights from her published paper ‘The Need for Speed: why fluency counts for maths learning’, including the impact of using the hierarchy of maths learning, the three stages modelling (Explicit Instruction), immediate corrective feedback and practice for sufficient accuracy.

Brendan Lee presenting his keynote on mathematics

Toni Hatten-Roberts, COGLearn

The afternoon session commenced with an insightful presentation from Rebecca Birch, an English Teacher and Director of Research and Practice, that focussed on student wellbeing in implementation of a Science of Learning (SoL) teaching approach. Rebecca emphasised how explicit teaching structures can mitigate behavioral issues, enhance student self-confidence, and reduce stress through effective study strategies. Delving into the self-determination theory, Rebecca encouraged educators to prioritise meeting all human needs, including autonomy, competence, and relatedness. She elaborated on her personal implementation of these strategies within her college.

The concluding keynote address was presented by Dr Jennifer Buckingham PH.D FRSN,
Director of Strategy and Senior Research Fellow, focusing on the significant reforms in Initial Teacher Education (ITE). Dr Buckingham commenced her presentation by providing an overview of the educational landscape in Australia, noting the extensive array of higher education programs available. She delved into the insights of the Strong Beginnings: Report of the Teacher Education Expert Panel, and emphasised the recommendation to enhance ITE programs by enforcing core content mandates and augmenting them accordingly.

As two insightful and inspiring days of education drew to a close, Glenn Fahey, Program Director at The Centre for Independent Studies, led the second panel discussion on the Science of Learning. This panel included Rebecca Birch, Lyn Stone, Dr. Nathaniel Swain, Brendan Lee, Dr Jan Hasbrouck and Michael Roberts. The discussion commenced with a vibrant exchange on the challenges of implementing the Science of Learning, with Lyn Stone highlighting the importance of finding a supportive school environment conducive to growth. Subsequently, the panel explored the primary considerations essential for understanding the Science of Learning within a classroom context, elucidating the advantageous aspects observable in such environments.

To close out the Summit, CET Executive Director Dr Gerard Gaskin took to the stage to thank and acknowledge all staff, experts and delegates for their involvement.

“You can see from the talents and enthusiasm of generations of speakers, we are part of a ground swell that is the Science of Learning and Reading” he said. 

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Teaching Matters Summit: Day One delivers rich insights and invaluable content

Teaching Matters Summit: Day One delivers rich insights and invaluable content

The first day of the Teaching Matters Science of Learning National Summit got off to a spectacular start. Catholic Education Tasmania (CET) Executive Director, Dr Gerard Gaskin, commenced proceedings welcoming over 400 educators and leaders from around the country to engage with global experts in the best practice teaching methodologies founded in the Science of Learning.

Professor Pamela Snow kicked off the keynote presentations, speaking on the importance of reading and its distinction from literacy. She illustrated the benefits of applying public health principles to education and reading instruction and what Response to Intervention looks like. Professor Snow emphasised why progress monitoring and evidence needs to underpin the education system to the benefit of society.

Pamela Snow, Professor of Cognitive Psychology, La Trobe University

Ross Fox, Director of CECG

Professor Snow was followed by an insightful opening address from Catholic Education Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn (CECG) Director, Ross Fox. With three years’ of evidence-based High Impact Teaching Practice in the classroom throughout the system of 56 schools across NSW and ACT, Ross provided tangible data illustrating the significant improvement in student performance since the inception of Catalyst.

Dr Gerard Gaskin described the Insight journey, sharing early assessment data providing material evidence of improvement in their schools after only twelve months of engaging with the program. 

Dr Gerard Gaskin’s Opening Address

The CEO of the Australian Education Research Organisation, Jenny Donovan, spoke about the growing evidence for cognitive science backed teaching methodology, challenging the attendees to consider the barriers to implementing this methodology and providing strategies to overcome them.

The audience was then joined live by Tom Sherrington from the UK who shared a simplified model for everyday teaching, supporting every child to focus, think and grow knowledge through practice.

Dr Jenny Donovan, CEO, Australian Education Research Organisation

Delegates watching Tom Sherrington’s livestreamed presentation from the UK

Day One ended with a lively Science of Learning (SoL) panel discussion, chaired by Dr Jenny Donovan. Panellists Glenn Fahey, Jordana Hunter, Dr Lorraine Hammond, Ross Fox and Dr Gerard Gaskin articulated the importance of teacher education and support at a system and university level. The conversation encompassed the value of high integrity curriculum to reduce variation and enable the teacher to focus on the student and their pedagogy.

Science of Learning Panellists

Media Coverage

  • Highlighting Teaching Matters 2024

    25 Mar, 2024

    Listen to CET’s Curriculum and Pedagogy Lead, Jennifer White speak on ultra106five, as she explains why Science of Learning is the most impactful teaching approach and shares her excitement for the summit presentations.


  • Benefits of Explicit Instruction for Reading

    16 Mar, 2024

    Hear from Jennifer White, as she promotes the Summit and the key the benefits of Explicit Instruction for Reading on ABC Radio Drive.


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Insight’s All System Day February 2024: Reaffirming Knowledge on the Science of Learning

Insight’s All System Day February 2024: Reaffirming Knowledge on the Science of Learning

Over 1,500 educators from across Catholic Education Tasmania came together at five different venues across the state to explore and refresh their understanding of the Science of Learning.

Dr Gerard Gaskin, Executive Director of Catholic Education Tasmania, said All System Days enhanced educational development by providing access to global and national teaching expertise.

“We are blessed to have accessed experts in the Science of Learning. This will provide our educators with an even deeper understanding and appetite to apply the principles of the Science of Learning in our daily work,” he said.

The focus of the Professional Learning Day was ‘Questioning’, a key element of Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction.

The team was thrilled to welcome Tom Sherrington (UK) a former Head Teacher with over 30 years’ experience who now has a successful education consultancy. Tom presented virtually on the key components of Questioning and how it can apply in the classroom setting. Natalie Wexler (USA), a well-known Education writer and the author of “The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—And How to Fix It”, also joined the event virtually from New York. Both guest speakers tuned in live to field questions from participants.

The middle portion of the day involved interactive workshops, differentiated by year-level (early years, primary and secondary teachers). Dr Nathaniel Swain, a teacher, instructional coach and researcher, curated a dynamic virtual workshops series based on Checking For Understanding (CFU), drawing upon his experience in his own school, and in schools across Tasmania.

The afternoon session involved two in-person presentations featuring Rebecca Birch, a leading English teacher and the Director of Research and Practice at a top 20 independent school in Sydney, and Toni Hatten-Roberts, a leader in the Science of Learning and bridging the gap between theory and classroom practice.

The event boasted an impressive set of highlights, including:

  • Tom Sherrington’s session, which explored the connections between Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction, particularly around questioning and the process of supporting writing, particularly in more technical subjects and complex classroom environments, to ensure the success of every student and educator.
  • Natalie Wexler’s session, which emphasised the importance of writing in improving reading comprehension and analytical thinking. Her insights helped educators understand the importance of basic comprehension skills.
  • Toni Hatten-Roberts’s session, which focused on how best to support students in maths fluency, particularly the need for speed and automaticity in mathematics learning.
  • Rebecca Birch’s session, which encouraged all teachers to understand the power of writing and why it is essential for secondary teachers to teach writing to achieve the sophistication needed for upper secondary levels, ensuring that students can express their knowledge with clarity and confidence.

The Insight team would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to the event. We are looking forward to delivering the next All System Day in July 2024.

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International Literacy Specialist Headlines Teaching Matters 2024

International Literacy Specialist Headlines Teaching Matters 2024

An international literacy specialist has said that approximately 95 per cent of all Grade 1 and 2 students have the ability to learn to read at their grade level standard.        

Dr Jan Hasbrouck is a renowned educational consultant, researcher and author from the United States, who will discuss these research findings in Catholic Education Tasmania’s Teaching Matters 2024 ‘Science of Learning’ National Summit.  

Registrations are now open for Teaching Matters 2024, which will be held at Wrest Point in Hobart from March 24-26, with early bird discounts available until 9 February. 

With declining literacy rates across Tasmania and Australia, Teaching Matters 2024 Headline Presenter Dr Hasbrouck said these heartening statistics provide encouragement for our dedicated teachers. 

“Compelling evidence from a convergence of reading research clearly indicates that approximately 95 per cent of all students can be taught to read at or approaching grade level proficiency in Grades 1 and 2,” Dr Jan Hasbrouck said.  

“The actual percentage is limited primarily by students’ oral language abilities.”

These statistics also include students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, meaning that with the right support and educational techniques they can also attain grade level reading proficiency in Grades 1 and 2, Dr Hasbrouck said. 

“Early instruction makes a world of difference for our students. Early success breeds continued success and early struggles makes what is already a challenging process for many students seem impossible, and they are discouraged to even try,” Dr Hasbrouck said.

“Young children are hungry to learn and fascinated about language. We use that curiosity and voracious hunger to deepen their knowledge about their language and how the new skills of reading and writing make connections to that language for exciting and purposeful activities.” 

Dr Hasbrouck’s presentation at Teaching Matters 2024 will focus primarily on the complexities of reading fluency, and its essential role in reading comprehension. 

“Too many people think reading fluently means reading fast. While ‘rate’ is one component of fluency, it is not the only nor the most important component,” Dr Hasbrouck said.

“This is a topic I’ve been studying for many decades and I want to share some practical understandings about how to help our students become fluent readers.”

An expert in the field of literacy education, Dr Hasbrouck has provided educational consulting to schools in the US, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras and Jamaica, has been a university teacher and professor, consulted and advised to US state-level reading initiatives, undertaken significant research, authored and co-authored several books, and was a co-founder of the non-profit organisation Read Washington. 

Dr Hasbrouck has decades of professional experience and knowledge which she is looking forward to sharing as Headline Presenter of Teaching Matters 2024.

Hundreds of educators from all teaching backgrounds will participate in this knowledge-sharing Summit, which will feature an engaging program of keynote speakers, workshops, panel discussions, and the opportunity for networking.

Teaching Matters 2024 is centred around the scientific, evidence-based, high-impact teaching practice called the Science of Learning.

The premise of the Science of Learning is to break down educational tasks into small, bite-sized pieces, which are then taught sequentially, with frequent check-ins for student understanding. 

In late 2022, Catholic Education Tasmania launched their Insight initiative, which equips teachers with knowledge of the Science of Reading and Learning and high impact teaching practices.

In 2024 there will be 31 schools within the Archdiocese of Hobart that have embraced the Insight initiative.

For registrations and further information, visit:

Early bird discounts are available until February 9. 

Photo caption: Renowned international literacy specialist, Dr Jan Hasbrouck, will present at Catholic Education Tasmania’s Teaching Matters 2024 ‘Science of Learning’ National Summit in March.  

Media Contact: Damita Whiteley – 0437 721 466

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Educators from across the State come together to deepen Science of Learning knowledge

Educators from across the State come together to deepen Science of Learning knowledge

Almost 1,300 educators throughout the State gathered to learn from some of the Nation’s most innovative educational thought leaders and practitioners at the second All System Day for 2023.

The event comprised an innovative mix of keynote presentations, interactive sessions and curated masterclasses, with elements presented live and streamed across venues in Devonport, Launceston, Hobart, Queenstown and Rosebery.

The Insight team were delighted to welcome education experts Leila Bothams, a leading Principal from Western Australia, Jordan O’Sullivan, HITP In Action coach for Secondary Colleges, Oliver Lovell, Toni Hatten-Roberts and Michael Roberts, HITP In Action coaches for Primary and Dr Lorraine Hammond AM as our All System Day presenters.

The presenters were supported by our Insight team Subject Matter Experts: Rebecca Prenter, Simon Eade and Lisa Fenning, who led the interactive sessions.

Dr Gerard Gaskin said the event was designed to deepen knowledge in the Science of Learning and Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction to inform the teaching that happens in every classroom across the system.

“We join with our educational peers today because we want to grow in our content-knowledge and pedagogical capability – to embed the Science of Learning in every dimension of our work,” he said.

Thank you to all those who attended and contributed to making this professional learning day such a success.

Feedback from both staff and presenters in attendance has been uplifting and we look forward to seeing everyone again for the next event in October.


Leila’s session covered the vision and strategies she employed to establish a high-performing, high-care secondary school in outer metropolitan Perth. Her case study evidenced that when a compelling vision for excellence in learning and teaching is backed up by an uncompromising focus on high-impact strategies, school performance can exceed expectations.

Jordan O’Sullivan presented a masterclass on Sequencing Concepts and Modelling, which included a deep dive into Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction which aim to reduce working memory burden: Present New Material Using Small Steps (Principle 2), Provide Models (Principle 4), and Provide Scaffolds for Difficult Tasks (Principle 8).

Oliver Lovell’s masterclass highlighted “What’s the point of questioning?”, and how educators can use accountable questioning. Participants had the opportunity to create their own hinge question as part of the complementary interactive session.

Toni Hatten-Roberts followed with a masterclass on effective questioning and the myriad strategies teachers can embrace when refining and modelling checking for understanding.

In her keynote, Dr Lorraine Hammond discussed the intricacies of teaching spelling, and how explicit direct instruction supports student learning.

Finally, Dr Gerard Gaskin’s masterclass detailed the meticulous work of one of the most influential educational thinkers of our time E.D Hirsch Jr.

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High Impact Teaching Practice kicks off at 24 schools

High Impact Teaching Practice kicks off at 24 schools

Over 133 teachers and leaders across Catholic Education Tasmania’s schools have commenced the highly anticipated High Impact Teaching Practice (HITP) In Action course.

Participants will work closely with education experts and exemplary teachers to learn about effective teaching pedagogy based on the Science of Learning, and how they can implement these approaches in the classroom.

All teachers will receive several days of professional learning over the course of the year, which includes learning more about the science of learning theory, watching exemplar teachers demonstrate practices, rehearse using the methodologies themselves and then receive specific coaching feedback on how they could improve.

Between the formal sessions, teachers will be encouraged to continue implementing the practices in their classrooms and reflect on how they might use their new approach across all subject areas.

Secondary Schools and Colleges will be working with Jordan O’Sullivan from Shaping Minds and his team of expert teachers.

Primary Schools will be working with Michael Roberts and Toni Hatten-Roberts from COGLearn. Primary School leaders have also commenced their leadership mentoring with Michael Roberts, a former principal who has implemented Science of Learning teaching in several schools throughout Queensland, to assist in planning the roll out at their school.

To learn more about HITP In Action and the journey at your school, speak with your Principal, or the INSIGHT team.

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Sharing our passion for the Science of Learning

Sharing our passion for the Science of Learning – Teaching Matters National Summit

Over 300 educators from across Australia gathered in Hobart to learn from leading researchers and experts in the Science of Learning at the inaugural Teaching Matters Summit, hosted by Catholic Education Tasmania and Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn.

The Teaching Matters Science of Learning National Summit comprised three days of professional learning for educators from across Australia to learn from leading researchers and experts how the science of learning and high impact teaching practice impacts student learning.

The three day schedule was pack with engaging keynote sessions, panel discussions and opportunities to network, including at the Gala Dinner and the Breakfast with the Experts.

Endorsed by the Tasmanian State Government, the summit welcomed Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP as a speaker on the program, alongside esteemed education experts including

  • Professor Pamela Snow, Professor for the School of Education at La Trobe University
  • Dr Lorraine Hammond AM, Associate Professor School of Education, Edith Cowan University
  • Dr Jenny Donovan, CEO, Australian Education Research Organisation
  • Noel Pearson, Founder of Good to Great Schools Australia and Cape York Partnership
  • And many more

As part of his address to delegates, Premier Rockliff congratulated Catholic Education Tasmania on the strides made in using direct instruction and the Science of Learning and Reading in classrooms. Premier Rockliff explained his regret at not being able to attend the Summit in its entirety, talked about how passionate he is about education, and reflected on his time as Education Minister for Tasmania.

Key Moments

Dr Gerard Gaskin shared how curriculum and education practices have influenced student outcomes over time, and what he believes works best in practice – Explicit Instruction.

The Gala Dinner provided an opportunity for attendees to network with fellow delegates and presenters from the Summit, and to share their thoughts on the keynote presentations that took place throughout the day.

Due to unforeseen circumstances Noel Pearson was unfortunately unable to attend the Dinner in person as planned. Mr Pearson provided a pre-recorded speech and was as captivating as ever as he credited Catholic Education Tasmania and Catholic Education Canberra and Goulburn for their work within the Science of Learning through their respective projects, Insight and Catalyst.

Mr Pearson highlighted effective instruction as a means for providing social justice. If educators can use effective instruction it will provide better opportunities for young people around Australia to learn no matter their background or where they live.

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How INSIGHT will support Literate Learners for Life

How INSIGHT will support Literate Learners for Life

Teaching literacy, and key components of learning to read and write are integral to helping students reach greater achievement. We are not born with the skill of being able to read or write, so we must teach using explicit and direct instruction to develop these skills in the brain.

As INSIGHT begins to influence our schools, Literate Learners for Life continues to play an important role in creating better outcomes for Tasmania’s young people, the Science of Learning and Reading will help build stronger learning foundations for Catholic Education Tasmania students. 

“We’ve come from a place in Literate Learners for Life following the Science of Reading –  INSIGHT is embracing that and going deeper into the Science of Learning,” said Lisa Fenning, the Literacy Project Lead Advisor at Catholic Education Tasmania.

It is important that students are placed in an environment that gives them the best possible opportunity to succeed. Explicit teaching removes distractions for students and allows them to focus on the most important information. It uses a highly structured environment that is focused on producing specific learning outcomes, and breaks down topics and content individually.

Literate Learners for Life follows this structure and uses a Science of Reading approach to teaching in classrooms. The initiative ensures that the content within literacy teaching and learning is knowledge-rich.  This creates better understanding for students and ensures that what they are learning is full of relevant and essential information.

Speaking personally from her own experiences as an educator in Catholic schools throughout Tasmania, Lisa discussed how teaching explicitly can impact students and also how it impacted her. She believed at the time that her own grammar improved through exposure to text, rather than being taught literacy and grammar skills explicitly. This was the same throughout her teaching degree, where there was very little taught about grammar. Educators relied heavily on learning on the job and talking to other practitioners.

“The Science of Reading and Science of Learning has impacted teachers of my era and beyond because we did not have this knowledge ourselves, so understanding how the brain learns and what is best practice is key,” Lisa said.

“When teachers know better, we do better because all we care about is our student’s well being and our students learning.” 

Recommended Resources

  • Why Knowledge Matters: Rescuing Our Children from Failed Educational Theories –  E. D. Hirsch
  • Teaching Reading is Rocket Science, Louisa Moats
  • Proust and the Squid (The Story and Science of the Brain) – Maryanne Wolf
  • Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction – Doug Lemov, Colleen Driggs, Erica Woolway
  • How the Brain Learns to Read – Stanislas Dehaene

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All Systems Go – Providing Insight with the Science of Learning

All Systems Go – Providing Insight with the Science of Learning

On 31 January 2023, Catholic Education Tasmania hosted nearly 2,000 educators in four different locations throughout the state at an All System Day – CET’s largest professional learning event to date.

Educators were informed by a nationally significant  educational experts on high impact teaching practice and the positive outcomes it has for student learning. Presenters included

  • Dr Lorraine Hammond AM, Associate Professor in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University
  • Ollie Lovell, Teacher, Podcaster and Author
  • Dr Nathaniel Swain, Teacher, Instructional Coach and Researcher
  • Michael Roberts, HITP Coach for Insight
  • Toni Hatten-Roberts, HITP Coach for Insight
  • Reid Smith, Ochre Education

The event was held at Wrest Point Casino in Hobart, with three other locations throughout Tasmania simultaneously broadcasting the All System Day. Attendees, virtually and in person, had the opportunity to listen to six different presentations on important aspects of the Insight project. 

There were also opportunities for educators who attended the All System Day to have discussions about the concepts and presentations they had heard, and importantly it was one of the first occasions since COVID-19 for staff in each of the regions to be in the same location.

Attendees of the Insight day spoke glowingly of the high quality and professionalism of each of the presentations that were shared with staff on the day.

Two further development days will be held later in the year, which will provide the 24 participating CET schools with system-wide training and development for all educators.

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