Hot Topic 1

Keeping young people safe from violence, exploitation and extremism: A challenge for colleges and for society

Many young people are dealing with serious threats to their safety and wellbeing, including being subjected to grooming and exploitation by criminal or extremist organisations. While these are wider social problems, colleges can offer some solutions and support. What more could colleges do to keep students safe an build better communities?

Hot Topic 2

Industry Placements – The straw that broke the camel’s back?

Next September colleges will start delivering T Levels.  By 2025 there will be 25 T Levels being delivered all over the country. Industry placements of 315 to 420 hours are one of the defining features of these new programmes. The policy intention of enabling students to experience real life working environments in their specialism and hone their skills is laudable.

However, in practice how will colleges meet the demand for hundreds of placements each year? What is currently being done to encourage employer engagement? What would you like to see in place to support your college to deliver on this initiative?

Hot Topic 3

Beyond the ‘hard binary’: What should the curriculum offer for 16-19 year olds look like?

The first stage of the review of qualifications at level 3 and below raised many concerns about the creation of a hard binary divide between academic and technical qualification routes. This could result in a system which fails to meet the needs of all students.

As we look towards the second stage of the consultation, how can we ensure that our qualification system promotes the learning, achievement and progression which can help all students to thrive?

Developing leadership skills, mindset and networks

Leadership in FE has never been more challenging and building a strong pipeline of leaders is essential for sustainability in our colleges. There is a wealth of leadership training available and our own Senior Leadership Programme continues to be a training option for many leaders each year.

We are keen to review the content and format to ensure we are enabling leaders to develop their mindset , skills and networks in the most effective way. This is an opportunity to discuss and shape a new programme for leaders.

Hot topic 4

Hot topic 5

Upskilling and reskilling adults in a digital age


Lifelong learning, upskilling and reskilling is becoming increasingly important in a world where industries are embracing automation and digitalisation.  How do we support adults to have the skills to progress within rapidly changing work environments and what are the major challenges to this? 

This session will present some of the main structural and policy issues affecting adult learning, including a focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the devolution of the Adult Education Budget, a look at the National Retraining Scheme and how the latest technology is highlighting a gap in industry needs.

Brexit is ‘Marmite’: Love it or hate it, what role do colleges play in a UK outside the EU?

As the UK grapples with Brexit, this panel session will debate how colleges can contribute to the UK’s future skills and productivity needs in a new world outside the EU.

It will analyse what the opportunities and challenges are for FE both domestically and internationally and where the sector should focus its attention. The panellists will contribute practical advice and ideas for college leaders.

Hot topic 6

Balancing oversight, support and intervention

Hot topic 7


Hear from key players involved in the implementation of the new College Oversight, Support and Intervention guidance issued in April 2019 and the launching of the Insolvency Regime in January 2019, who will be reflecting on:

Where are we now? Is the balance between oversight, support and intervention right? How will recent experiences impact on the future of intervention?  What guidance can delegates take back to their own organisations?

Can college HE thrive in the new regulatory world?

Hot topic 8


Higher Education in England it witnessing considerable levels of change. There is a new regime with OfS coming into full power as a regulator, high costs associated with OfS and QAA fees, intensified competition with universities and several other factors that impact on the present and future of college HE.

On the other hand, there is a steer from the government to promote Higher Technical Education, as highlighted in the recommendations made by the post-18 panel and the current review of level 4/5 that might present some opportunities for colleges.

As part of this session, there will be a debate and discussion on how college HE could thrive and what could be the position of college HE in the new HE landscape.