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Tuesday 14 November 2023 - Strand 1 Breakout Sessions (11:25 - 12:25)

1.01 - How future skills needs are transforming qualification design and development to provide a future for every learner

Lead organisation: Pearson

Hall 5


  • David Abrahams - ACMI MIET, Cloud & Service Partners – Key Client Manager Global Operations, Schneider Electric IT UK Ltd
  • Donna Ford-Clarke - Products & Services Director, Pearson

Join our panel of experts as we explore how the understanding of future skills needs is reshaping the development of qualifications.

Gain practical insights into how Pearson is using AI data and analysis to understand future skills needs, and embedding these into qualifications to ensure that learners get the skills employers really want and need.

The session will explore the changing landscape, and how we need to meet the diverse needs of learners, educators, and employers to bridge the skills gap and boost social mobility.

1.02 - Delivering the Adult Education Budget – What works?

Lead organisation: FE Commissioner; Department for Education Luminate Education Group and Suffolk New College

Hall 9


  • Joanne Dye - Director Adult, Community and ESOL, Leeds City College
  • Marianne Flack - Director of Quality, Teacher Development and Student Progress, Suffolk New College
  • Stephen Jones - Head of Area (Cumbria, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region), Department for Education
  • Alan Pease - Principal & CEO, Suffolk New College
  • Jo Pretty - FE Adviser, Department for Education
  • Andrew Tyley - Deputy FE Commissioner, FE Commissioner's Team

The session will share findings from joint research undertaken in the summer of 2023, in a range of FE colleges and local authority providers, aimed at understanding and sharing their practice in maximising use of the Adult Education Budget. The session will include input from DFE’s 19+ funding policy team plus two of the participating colleges to outline some of the barriers to making best use of AEB and how these have been overcome. This research forms part of a suite of effective practice materials being launched by the FE Commissioner with input from the territorial team as joint sponsors.

1.03 - Skills System for a net zero economy

Lead organisation: NOCN Group

Hall 7b


  • Graham Hasting-Evans - Chief Executive, NOCN Group

The transition to a net zero economy hinges on a skilled 'green' workforce to build, operate and maintain vital energy, retrofit, and carbon capture assets, alongside relevant infrastructure in logistics, utilities, transportation, and the environment. Despite the UK's strong engineering, science, and technology capabilities for Net Zero, the shortage lies in the workforce. This requires the skills and education policy to be more agile, to provide pathways for both new entrants into the workforce and upskill the whole of the UK’s workforce. This session will address these skill requirements and outline the work which is currently underway to develop new skills and the challenge we face in developing an agile and responsive skills system that will be needed over the next 5-10 years, to effectively combat climate change and provide the UK with a successful net zero economy.

1.04 - AoC Mental Health Charter - The relaunch

Lead organisation: Association of Colleges

Hall 11b


  • Chris Ball - Post-16 SEND and FE Mental Health policy lead, Department for Education
  • David Gregson - Policy Advisor, Department for Education
  • Jen Hope - AoC Area Director (East & West Midlands) and Senior Policy Lead (Mental Health), Association of Colleges
2023 is a very different place and time from 2019, when the AoC Mental Health Charter was first created. Colleges are experiencing an unprecedented demand on their mental health support services and are dealing with increasingly complex student need. The new AoC Mental Health Charter provides a robust framework and meaningful guidance to support colleges to proactively safeguard student wellbeing, respond to student need, navigate emerging policy and demonstrate accountability. In this session, delegates will be introduced to the new charter and discuss how a mental health strategy and activity can be sustainably embedded into college practice.

1.05 - How research from and for the sector can support improvement and growth

Lead organisation: Association of Colleges and Research Further Scholars

Hall 7a


  • Caroline Dunstan - Lead Learning and Development Practitioner and Research Further Scholar, Riverside College
  • Martin Hoskin - Head of Teaching, Learning & Quality and Research Further Scholar, HSDC
  • Pat Jones - Deputy Chief Executive and Research Further Scholar, The Bedford College Group
  • Jacqui Scott - Head of Teaching and Learning Standards, Riverside College

Two years after the launch of Research Further, attendees will hear from some of the scholars on how their research is driving improvement at a departmental, college and sector level. The Research Further scholars work in FE colleges across the country and are true thought leaders in their fields. Their research focuses on key challenges and themes for the sector, so this session will give an insight into innovative and exciting practices taking place in colleges today- and how practitioner-researchers can support this in their own settings.
Research Further is supported by NCFE, The Education and Training Foundation and Edge.

1.06 - Student takeover

Lead organisation: Association of Colleges, Student Governors, FE Youth Collective

Hall 6a


  • Sara Genis - FE Youth Collective, Solihull College and University Centre
  • Oliver Johnson - FE Youth Collective, Blackburn College
  • Leah Kelly - FE Youth Collective, Blackburn College
  • Sharon Owusu - FE Youth Collective, Newcastle & Stafford Colleges Group

Association of Colleges and our members are committed to youth participation and enabling and encouraging student voice. This session will be devised and delivered by FE students themselves, covering the issues and topics relating to their education that matter to them most. The session will involve a discussion between the students and an interview with an FE leader and will be recorded as part of a podcast that will also include further interviews and discussions that will take place across the conference days.

1.07 - Driving professionalism: What leadership practice looks like to create a sustainable FE system for the future?

Lead organisation: The Education and Training Foundation

Hall 11a


  • Palvinder Singh - Principal and CEO, Kirklees College
  • Dr Vkki Smith - Executive Director of Education & Standards, The Education and Training Foundation

We are in a time of rapid technological innovation, shifting economic and funding landscapes and demographic change, all of which are influencing national education agendas. In the context of these heightened challenges, what does our system leadership need to look like? Come together to explore how we can create the leaders for the future; hear ideas and inspiration for how to use your leadership practice to lead your organisation through challenging times; and discuss the vital role of a professionalised workforce in enabling the sector to thrive.

1.08 - Transforming governance, inspiring change

Lead organisation: Calderdale College, Hopwood Hall College, Department for Education, Peridot Partners

Hall 8a


  • Julia Heap - Principal & CEO, Hopwood Hall College
  • David Malone - CEO & Principal, Calderdale College
  • Esme Winch - FE Advisor, FE Commissioner’s Team

Targeted at Governance Professionals, Chairs and Principals/CEOs, we will explore the success of DfE’s FE Governor Recruitment Service to date, demonstrating the benefits to colleges relating to solving skills gaps, increasing diversity and identifying high-quality board members. With an opportunity to learn about the processes involved, we will highlight how this service can support colleges to transform governance and address succession planning whilst improving the national standard of FE governance.

1.09 - Exploring T Level and T Level Foundation Year implementation practices, challenges, solutions, and experiences

Lead organisation: Association of Colleges

Hall 10a


  • Sandra Bull -Assistant Principal, Weston College
  • Josephine Howarth - Head of T Level Foundation Year, Department for Education
  • Andrew Kaye - CEO, South Hampshire College Group
  • Amber Shepherd - Team Leader - T Levels, Department for Education

Join us for an engaging Panel Breakout Session featuring prominent figures in T Level and T Level Foundation Year education. This session promises to be an informative and enlightening discussion, focusing on two key aspects: the latest DfE T Level and T Level Foundation Year policy updates from the DfE, and valuable insights from providers on delivering these innovative educational programs (including adaptations they plan to make to their strategic thinking following recent policy changes).

Don’t miss this opportunity to delve into the latest policy updates and gain first hand knowledge of provider experiences and lessons learned in delivering T Levels and the T Level Foundation Year.

1.10 - How colleges can adjust to the increased blended learning requirements of awarding organisations, employers and learners

Lead organisation: Mindful Education, AAT, Birmingham Met College (BMeT), RCU

Executive Room 2


  • Richard Boniface - Managing Director, RCU Ltd
  • Janne Kärkkäinen - Compliance Director, AAT
  • Mark Mckenna - Managing Director, Mindful Education
  • Oliver Stokes - Director: Creative, Digital, Business and Law, BMeT

Gain insights from a leading market analysis organisation on the growing demand for blended delivery from both employers and learners. Learn how awarding organisations are increasingly monitoring and regulating blended learning provision at colleges. Hear best practices from a large college group, including their journey from fully face-to-face teaching to outstanding learner results through blended delivery.

1.11 - Driving organic culture change with intent

Lead organisation: Loughborough College and The Sheffield College

Hall 8b


  • Jo Maher - Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Loughborough College
  • Paul Simpson - Executive Director - People, The Sheffield College

They say that culture can’t be created, it can only be revealed. So how do you ensure your organisation's culture is welcoming, inclusive, equitable and, above all – student-first?

It starts with an impenetrable resolve, leadership commitment, and a clear and intentional strategy that outlines your goals - underpinned by clear values that are shared by all colleagues and communicate a commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

It’s crucial that change-makers are able to develop safe spaces for open, honest and informed dialogue, and create channels for staff to influence change, report concerns, and offer suggestions.

This session will look at the practical steps being taken to purposefully and intentionally embed organic change.

1.12 - Creating place-based ecosystems: The role of partnerships between FE and HE

Lead organisation: South Bank Colleges and Exeter College

Hall 10b


  • Rob Bosworth - Vice Principal, Exeter College
  • Fiona Morey - Executive Principal, South Bank Colleges

Successful partnerships between further and higher education are necessary for creating place-based ecosystems that are crucial to meeting regional skills and economic priorities. This session will showcase two different models of FE-HE partnerships- a unique integrated college-university model led by London South Bank University Group, and another led by Exeter College and the University of Exeter. It will be an interactive session with plenty of time for questions and discussion.

1.13 - AoC member drop-in surgery

Lead organisation: Association of Colleges

Hall 6b

A chance to talk about the issues of the day, from the conference, or the next few years, with the President, Chair, CE and Deputy CE of AoC – just an informal chat with questions, ideas, thoughts, and curiosity.

1.14 - Achieving ethnic equity in further education

Lead organisation: The Ethnic Equity FE Consultative Group

Executive Room 1


  • Robin Landman OBE - Director, Black Leadership Group
  • Karen Redhead OBE - Chief Executive and Principal, West London College
  • Sara Russell - Principal and CEO, Peter Symonds College

Following the Black Leadership Group’s Crisis Summit in the summer, the Ethnic Equity FE Consultative Group was established to drive the need for sector-wide action to address black staff under-representation and black student attainment gaps. Among the suggestions are to repair and strengthen the black talent pipeline and increase representation in governance and staffing at all levels; to adopt the Ethnic Representation Index, to understand the granularity of student attainment gaps and support action. We need to approach this challenge with humility and a collective determination to do the right thing. This session is an opportunity to hear from members of the Consultative Group, to contribute to the debate and actively support the campaign.