Skip to main content

AoC SEND Conference 2023


15Hatfields, Chadwick Court, London SE1 8DJ

Date: 05 December 2023

Time: 09:00 - 16:30

Fee: Starting from £325 + VAT

This year’s AoC SEND Conference will feature a lively mix of keynote speeches and workshops about policy and practice in the world of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. There will be news of the latest policy changes as a result of this year’s SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, as well as practical sessions relevant to the whole range of students in our sector. Throughout the conference the emphasis will be on discussion and debate – SEND is a diverse field and it is one of our strengths that we have such a rich variety of ideas. More than one in five college students has a special educational need or a disability, so all teachers are SEND teachers.

Join the conversation and stay up-to-date with the latest news: @AoC_Info

Delegate Fees

AoC Member fee - per delegate £325+VAT

Affiliate Member - per delegate £350+VAT

Non member institutions - per delegate £375+VAT

Non member commercial - per delegate £750+VAT



Since 1903, we’ve been rewarding achievement through our fair and inclusive assessments – today we set and mark half of all GCSEs and A-levels. We’re so much more than an exam board, we’re an independent education charity. Reinvesting all profits – from funding cutting-edge research, to supporting new insights that raise standards in assessment practice internationally. We prioritise fair and inclusive assessment and the positive impact it has on teaching, learning and society.

AQA Website

AoC Jobs

You will find AoC Jobs both an easy and cost-effective way to attract high-quality candidates to your organisation. We have thousands of candidates using AoC Jobs every month to find jobs within the FE sector. For more information on AoC Jobs and our advertising options, please visit our recruiter site.

AoC Jobs Website


Navigate are excited to announce the release of their new EHCP management product. Following an extensive pilot phase, the platform is now available to FE colleges who want to put learners at the heart of the EHCP process and drastically reduce the administration associated with Local Authority reviews.

Navigate website

Dr Chandrika Devarakonda
Associate Professor, University of Chester
Dr Chandrika Devarakonda photo

Dr Chandrika Devarakonda is an associate Professor of Diversity and inclusion at the University of Chester since 2005. I have worked in special schools, co-ordinated Community based rehabilitation projects in India and with ethnic minority communities in Manchester, FE college for 10 years. I am passionate about issues around inclusion and diversity. I engage with local, national and international forums to share my research and have written books, chapters and articles. I share my passion through teaching and presenting in conferences. I am the Chair for the Research Development Communities (RDC) - Social Justice, Equity and diversity in the Association for Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE).

Dr Chandrika Devarakonda photo
Chris Quickfall
CEO, Cognassist
Chris Quickfall photo

Since being diagnosed with dyslexia at university, Chris has been driven to increase support and accessibility to learning, both in education and in the workplace. The experience of completing a cognitive assessment was genuinely transformative for Chris. It gave him a framework to understand how he thinks and learns as an individual. This is why he founded Cognassist, to help individuals and organisations reach their full potential through cognition.

Chris Quickfall photo
Roger Inman
Chair of Management Board, Stoneking
Roger Inman photo

Roger specialises in education governance and re-organisation. finance, admissions and all student provision issues. A recognised national specialist regarding special education needs law, Roger also works as a Judge in the SEN Tribunal in addition to his role at Stone King. Roger contributes to the Education Sector more generally by working closely with national schools’ membership organisations, notably with the AOC and Confederation of Schools Trusts. Outside work, Roger has volunteered in school governance for over 25 years and currently is a trustee for a sixth form MAT.

Roger Inman photo
Nicola Lace
Senior Operations Manager, Weston College
Nicola Lace photo

Nicola Lace is the Senior Operations Manager for the Faculty of Inclusive Practice at Weston College. She has over 14 years experience of working with learners who have barriers to education and her specialism is around implementing innovative curriculums and sustainable employment opportunities for all. She is a qualified teacher with a PGCE, and hold QTLS. She has a BA in philosophy and film and is currently conducting her MA in Education with a targeted focus on inclusivity, specialising in assistive technology and intersectionality in SEND

Nicola Lace photo
Jason Selormey
Specialist Engagement Practitioner, Weston College
Jason Selormey photo

Jason Selormey is the Specialist Engagement Practitioner for Weston College, with a background in in mental health, diversity, inclusion and criminology. He graduated with a 2:1 in BSc Criminology and Criminal Justice (Hons) in 2018 from the University of Portsmouth whilst also being part of the BAME network, a group that looked to tackle attainment gap between white students and students of colour at tertiary education.

Jason Selormey photo
Alan Benvie
Vice Principal, Oldham College
Alan Benvie photo

Vice Principal of Oldham College, a highly inclusive College and one of the four SEND Centres of Excellence. Alan has 20 years’ experience of senior leadership within post-16 education and training and has worked on numerous national development projects. Further Education member of the Board of Trustees for the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL).

Alan Benvie photo
Stephanie Firth
Director of SEND, Oldham College
Stephanie Firth photo

NASENCO and QTLS Qualified award-winning Leader of SEND provision with a demonstrated history of working in the Post 16 SEND education history. Responsible for ALS Support and SEND Curriculum at Oldham College and for driving SEND inclusion, ensuring it is the Golden Thread that runs throughout the College. Previously worked as Future Jobs Fund Manager with DWP supporting over 1,000 vulnerable individuals into work in Yorkshire region.

Stephanie Firth photo
Elaine Dale
Director of SEND Support, City College Norwich
Elaine Dale photo

Elaine has been working in the education sector for 25 years and as a specialist in SEND for the past 12 years, shaping and implementing inclusion. She is particularly proud of maintaining Ofsted outstanding for high needs, where inspectors highlighted that leaders ensure the college provides exceptional support and there is relentless focus on moving the students towards independence and employment

As a Centre for Excellence in SEND through Education Training Foundation she is particularly humbled by sector colleagues, who are access communities of practice, webinars, resources and undertaking college reviews enabling step change to improve outcomes for our learners with SEND.

Elaine Dale photo
Nola Smith
NEETs Re-engagement Manager, Weymouth College
Nola Smith photo

Nola Smith is passionate about making a difference, driven by the young people she works with. After years of working in Children’s Social Care, she moved into the FE sector 6 years ago. While her role has changed over the years, she is proud to be starting her 5th year running Weymouth College’s NEETs Re-engagement programme Step Forwards. She talks openly about her own mental health struggles which has informed her practice, and a framework built around resilience that is the core to their programme.

Nola Smith photo
Sue Dafter
Head of Student Services, Weymouth College
Sue Dafter photo

Sue Dafter has worked at Weymouth College for 27 years, initially teaching languages before venturing into personal tutoring where she found her niche working with and supporting young people. From there she quickly found her passion lay with those disadvantaged young people for whom life had thrown a curve ball and moved into safeguarding and welfare.

Sue Dafter photo
Sandra Hibbert
Head of Learning Support & Exam Access Arrangement, Cambridge Regional College

Sandra Hibbert has worked in the FE sector for over 20 years and is currently Head of Learning Support at Cambridge Regional College. Using the knowledge gained from her SPLD qualification and her skills and experience to manage a team of Specialists to enable students to receive the accommodations they need and support them to acquire the necessary metacognitive and self-advocacy skills to enable them to achieve independence throughout their educational journey and beyond. A late educational ‘bloomer’ unashamed philomath, she aspires to pass on not only her passion for learning but teaching young people how to learn too.

Lynn Lovell
Head of Professional Standards, British Dyslexia Association
Lynn Lovell photo

Lynn Lovell has completed an MA in Specific Learning Difficulties with a focus on developing self-esteem for those with dyslexia in an FE setting. She started her educational career as a teaching assistant, which she loved as she saw the difference support can make in the classroom and during intervention. She then progressed to become a specialist teacher in secondary and FE/HE settings and have taught on BTEC Forensic Science and Access to Nursing courses. Currently she is Head of Professional Standards at the British Dyslexia Association, advising and guiding on high standards of practice.

Lynn Lovell photo
Daniel Darbyshire
Alumni, Orpheus Centre
Daniel Darbyshire photo

Hello, my name is Daniel. I’m 23 years old. I attended Orpheus for three years having left Orpheus in July 2023. When I was at Orpheus, I had opportunities to do weekly work experience and have carried on doing them since I left. I live in my own supported housing flat with 3 keyboards and independently access the gym and local pool.

My biggest passion is playing piano and keyboard and I started learning when I was 8 years old. I have regular work playing, voluntarily at The Arc (community centre) where people can enjoy live music as they’re having lunches and teas. I also perform at Polesden Lacey (National Trust) either on my keyboard in the café or on the beautiful Steinway grand piano in the ballroom/Gold room of the old-stately house. I really enjoy working in a big volunteer team. I have also played the piano at larger venues, London Coliseum with the All England Dance, Windsor Castle Birthday celebrations, Freemasons Hall and Folkington Manor with Sir Richard Stilgoe. Also at The Education Training Foundations Annual Conference and The Natspec Annual Conference Birmingham, raising awareness and funds for the Orpheus.

I take bookings for weddings, birthdays, Christmas Fairs and other events to play my music. I can take requests for different artists and will learn in advance of booking as I play by ear. Classical, jazz and modern whatever is needed.

Daniel Darbyshire photo
Sam Barrett
Alumni, Orpheus Centre
Sam Barrett photo

While at Orpheus College, Sam Barrett, created props, background scenes, set designs, publicity material and animation films for theatre and film. He was commissioned to design illustrations for playing cards as a fundraiser, supported by the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards. He was award a Disability Arts in Surrey Commisions with Watts Gallery as an artist in residence. He received a diploma with distinction for Moving Image art and design at UCA Farnham.

Sam Barrett photo
Fil McIntyre
Manager and Assistive Technology Lead, Natspec TechAbility

Fil supports organisations to deliver technology solutions which enhance life, learning and communication. He has provided consultancy in assistive technology to education, charities and healthcare. Fil moved to managing TechAbility full time after three years in a split role between TechAbility and Beaumont College. At Beaumont College, Fil managed a team which assessed and supported students to gain maximum advantage from technology. Fil sits on the DfE AT experts group, is member of the Bett Advisory Board and delivers elements of the University of Dundee’s MSc in Educational Assistive Technology.

Nikki Perry
Head of Learning Support, Hartpury College

Nikki Perry has worked at Hartpury College for over 20 years in a variety of different roles. She started er current role as Head of Department for Learning Support in 2013. Her interest in support came from personal experience of seeing her own dyslexic son struggle at school and college and she wanted to make a difference to young people lives by enabling them rather than disabling them.

Jo Campbell
Director of SEND, East Kent Colleges Group
Jo Campbell photo

Jo has taught in Special Schools and established a support service within Primary Schools. Jo became Head of provision for students with complex needs and Additional Learning Support. With the experience of change management in SEND and collaborating with stakeholders, Jo now supports the development of SEND and inclusion across the EKC Group of Colleges.

Jo Campbell photo