Tuesday 20 November, 11:40 – 12:50

1.1 - The role and purpose of education in an era of Google, YouTube and the Blockchain

Independent Thinking

Location: Hall 9

With talk of disintermediarisation of formal education institutions and YouTube being the world's second largest search engine, what can colleges do to ensure they remain relevant and useful? How can colleges use the student voice more effectively to enhance their offer? Drawing on his experience working in education and living around the world, Ian will discuss what education is actually for and what colleges might be doing to ensure they remain relevant in a fractured world.


  • Ian Gilbert, Educational Innovator, Speaker and Writer - Independent Thinking

1.2 - Students with high needs in college - challenges and possible solutions

Association of Colleges and Department for Education

Location: Hall 8a

It is now four years since the implementation of the SEND Code of Practice. While colleges support the Code’s vision, there are increasing problems with implementation. The Association of Colleges SEND Policy Group have been working with the Department for Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency to try and address these concerns. This workshop will provide an opportunity for colleges to talk with the Department for Education and the Funding Policy Unit and to hear from principals who have worked with their Local Authorities to find some solutions.


  • Graham Razey, Group Principal and Chief Executive - East Kent Group of Colleges

  • Helen Brooks, SEND Alternative Provision and Attendance Unit - Department for Education

  • Russell Ewens, Funding Policy Unit - Department for Education

1.3 - Make your college world-class: WorldSkills UK competitions and quality outcomes

Association of Colleges - WorldSkills UK Strategy Group

Location: Hall 6b

Hosted by the Association of Colleges - WorldSkills UK Strategy Group, our panellists will discuss with you why engagement in skills competitions makes a difference to students, staff and quality outcomes, and how your college can embed competition practice into the day-to-day. Our panellists will include a WorldSkills UK competitor, a college curriculum lead and WorldSkills UK.


  • Nigel Leigh, Principal and Chief Executive - Stephenson College  

  • Christian Notley, Head of Furniture Studies/ WSUK Training Manager - Chichester College           

  • Ben Blackledge, Director of Education and Skills Competitions - WorldSkills UK

  • Vicky Black, gold medal winner, forensic science - WorldSkills UK National Final 2017

1.4 - The review of level 4/5 education in England

Association of Colleges and Department for Education

Location: Hall 5

The government is conducting a comprehensive review of level 4/5 education. The review particularly focuses on how qualifications at this level can best meet the needs of learners and employers. Colleges are key providers of sub-Bachelor HE and are therefore central to the review. The review will inform the implementation of the post-16 skills plan and feed into the post-18 education and funding review. This session will share interim evidence from the level 4/5 review.


  • Bridget Jones, Senior Policy Advisor - Department for Education 

  • Craig Myers, Level 4/5 Review, Professional and Technical Education Directorate - Department for Education          

  • Arti Saraswat, Senior Policy Manager, Higher Education, Policy, Curriculum and Funding - Association of Colleges

1.5 - Building capacity through effective employer engagement: Teach Too

Association of Colleges and Education and Training Foundation

Location: Hall 10b

Teach Too is about encouraging people from a range of different industries to spend some time teaching their work. Explore how to effectively embed Teach Too principles and practice to enable effective knowledge transfer between employers and providers. We will be sharing examples of genuine two-way street working that has informed curriculum co-design, planning and delivery, quality improvement in teaching and learning and enriched learning experiences for teachers, managers, employers and students, along with a diverse range of ready-to-use resources to support continuing professional development.


  • Jayne Holt, Assistant Principal - Walsall College

  • Colin Forrest, Teach Too ETF Associate 

  • Mo Gallagher, Head of Projects - Association of Colleges   

  • Cerian Ayres, Head of Technical Education - Education and Training Foundation

1.6 - Safeguarding: changes, misconceptions and duties

Disclosure and Barring Service

Location: Hall 6a

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) requires colleges to refer a student to the Disclosure and Barring Service if concerns exist to question their ability to work safely with children or vulnerable adults. The aim of this talk is to clarify legal duties and to explain what ‘barring’ and ‘regulated activity’ mean in practice so that colleges remain effective agents of personal well-being in their local communities, and nationally.


  • Helen Chandler, Head of Safeguarding Outreach - Disclosure and Barring Service

  • Linda Hackett, Safeguarding Outreach Officer - Disclosure and Barring Service

1.7 - Cards on the table – delivering devolution through partnership

Dudley College of Technology

Location: Executive room 2

Across England, AEB devolution is happening differently – different strategies, different ambitions and different relationships with colleges. Recognising the need for a coherent college voice and strategy, the approach adopted by colleges leaders in the West Midlands is delivering influence, profile and new funding opportunities. This session explores the behaviours, risks, new ways of working and lessons learned from the work done by college leaders in the West Midlands to be strategically positioned with their Mayoral Combined Authority.


  • Lowell Williams, Chief Executive Officer - Dudley College of Technology

1.8 - “Intensive care to rehabilitation, our journey so far”

Hull College Group

Location: Hall 11b

Hull College has completed one of the sector's biggest cost saving and restructuring exercise, saving £7 million in one restructure. This has been achieved entirely through voluntary redundancies, while utilising the support of stakeholders, and navigating media and public interest. With a high profile as one of the sector's most financially "troubled" colleges receiving support and intervention, our first-hand experience gives us key points of learning so far, tools, resources and experiences to share.


  • Michelle Swithenbank, Principal and Chief Executive - Hull College Group

  • Julie Milad, HR Director - Hull College Group

  • Anita Pace, Managing Director - PACE Communication

1.9 Empowering the next generation together – hear Jisc’s vision for FE, plus four colleges’ case studies of driving learner and staff engagement


Location: Hall 7b

Chaired by Jisc’s Chief Executive Paul Feldman, Jisc members from a variety of different roles and colleges share real and inspiring examples of how they have respectively driven learner engagement and innovative teaching using Jisc services.


  • Emma Furness, Learning Services Team Leader - East Coast College

  • Conrad Taylor, eLearning Co-ordinator - City of Wolverhampton College

  • Janine Magee, Teaching and Learning Manager - City of Wolverhampton College           

  • Frank McHale, eLearning Developer - Preston's College

  • Audrey Stranders, Learning Resource Centre Manager - Havering College

1.10 - Youth Commission: winners and losers

Learning and Work Institute

Location: Executive room 7

The workshop will engage delegates in the work and findings of Learning and Work Institute’s Youth Commission, which is looking at how to improve education and employment opportunities for 16-24-year olds. Delegates will explore what the data says about opportunities for young people in their area, be introduced to college case studies, share their knowledge of good practice, and have the opportunity to feed into the work and recommendations of the Commission.


  • Charlotte Robey-Turner, Senior Researcher - Learning and Work Institute

  • Stephen Evans, Chief Executive - Learning and Work Institute      

  • Jo Maher, Principal and Chief Executive - Boston College

1.11 - Blended learning and 20% off-the-job training: understanding Department of Education best practice

Mindful Education

Location: Hall 11a

Last summer the Department for Education published its 20% off-the-job training guidance for apprenticeships, providing welcome context and illustrative examples for colleges. Whilst the guidance restated that blended learning is permissible for apprenticeships - although distance learning is not - what does best practice in this area look like and what are the pitfalls that college senior management should avoid? The session will feature an illustrative case study from Harlow College.


  • Mark Mckenna, Managing Director - Mindful Education     

  • Karen Spencer, Principal - Harlow College

1.12 - The Future of Skills & Sustainable Learning - what have we learned about how to prepare our learners for 2030 and beyond


Location: Hall 8b

Pearson's Future of Skills report, published in conjunction with Nesta and the Oxford Martin School explored the knowledge and skills combinations employers are most likely to desire in 2030. Building on this Pearson has been supporting the Commission on sustainable learning for life, work and a changing Economy. This independent group, with experts drawn from HE, employers and the professions are undertaking a comprehensive, practical review of the challenges facing the UK in this area.


  • Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President BTEC and Apprenticeships at Pearson and Member of the Commission for Sustainable Learning

  • Nikos Savvas, Principal and Chief Executive - West Suffolk College

  • Alison Cox, Head of Apprenticeships and Stakeholder Engagement - Chartered Management Institute  

  • Corrienne Peasgood, Principal - City College Norwich 

1.13 - What's involved in governing a college turn-around? (Governors only)

The Sheffield College

Location: Hall 10a

After two Ofsted RIs, FE Commissioner scrutiny, and the loss of several senior staff, governors needed to get a grip and ensure improvement. This “Chatham House Rule” workshop for governors focuses on turning around a large urban college. We will:

  • Present a candid, up-to-date situation report

  • Discuss with fellow governors the main challenges of knowing what is going on whilst working with the leadership team to bring about rapid improvement


  • Beri Hare OBE, Vice Chair of Governors - The Sheffield College 

  • Seb Schmoller, Chair of Governors - The Sheffield College

1.14 - What to do when the unexpected happens

Ashley Public Relations

Location: Hall 7a

How prepared is your organisation for a crisis? A crisis can be an opportunity to show what an organisation is worth to its community and society as a whole. This practical session will discuss the latest in crisis communications strategy and give practical tips and advice on how best to prepare for the unforeseeable.


  • Sue Wolstenholme, Managing Director - Ashley Public Relations

1.15 - Four Nations College Alliance – working together for a stronger sector

Association of Colleges

Location: Executive room 1

Against a backdrop of significant future shortages in skilled labour, compounded by Brexit, politicians hold up European education systems as examples of excellence.  But are the answers closer to home? 

Over the last 12 months, a group of principals and officials from across the Four Nations have begun to review the existing education systems to identify commonalities, where approaches are working and where there is better policy or practice in other Nations.  They have also worked to identify ways to articulate the impact the college sector already has on meeting the challenges of developing a skilled labour force across the UK and the potential to increase this further with the right investment, collectively.  The panel will explore strengths and weaknesses of educational policy and implementation across the Four Nations, their own reflections on excellent practice from other Nations, followed by a session discussing proposed activity to raise the profile of colleges across the UK.


  • Huw Morris, Director for Skills, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning, Education and Skills Department - Welsh Government

  • Northern Ireland: Marie-Therese McGivern, Principal and Chief Executive - Belfast Metropolitan College

  • Wales: Simon Pirotte, Principal and Chief Executive - Bridgend College

  • England: John Laramy, Principal - Exeter College

  • Scotland: Audrey Cumberford, Principal - Edinburgh College