Breakout sessions

The conference hosted a range of practical workshops covering a variety of topics. 


English: English teaching, learning and assessment: investigating professional practices - Claire Collins.

This breakout session will focus on some key developments in post-16 English, such as using post-16 phonics approaches in Functional Skills, General English Competencies in T Levels and non-linear curriculum design on GCSE programmes. We will ask what persists in terms of our professional practices as English teachers and to what extent do we need to investigate and adapt our teaching approaches as curricula and policy contexts change. To help us answer these questions, we will consider the findings from research projects from across the post-16 sector.

Claire Collins is a post-16 learning and literacies specialist, who leads national development programmes for the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and other sector bodies. Currently, she heads up a national OTLA programme in English, the ‘Shaping Success in maths and English’ programme across the North and East of England, and a programme focusing on maths, English and digital literacies in T Levels. Claire‘s academic background is in philosophy and adult literacy, numeracy and ESOL. She has taught in FE colleges, adult and community learning, work-based learning, secure estates and workplace settings and she is the production editor of the Research and Practice in Adult Literacies (RaPAL) Journal.

Digital: Teaching and Learning for the Z Generation - Esam Baboukhan

The session will explore the range of tools within the Office 365 suite to use in your Teaching, Learning and Assessment (TLA) and help you engage with the new generation of learners. 

You will discover how Esam Baboukhan, awarded Pearson’s Digital Innovator of the Year award in 2019 (Silver), has utilised and integrated the different applications within Office 365 to: 

  • augment teaching, learning and assessment
  • engage learners and enhance the learning experience
  • improve learner autonomy and independence
  • reduce teacher/practitioner workload and improve efficiencies.
  • accessibility and inclusion 
  • amplify the learner voice 
  • improve communication and collaboration between teachers, students, parents and tutors.

The session will cover the Why, How and What.  These will include the following apps: 

  • Microsoft Teams 
  • Forms 
  • OneNote for Classroom 
  • Stream 
  • Flipgrid 

Mental Health and Wellbeing: Education Support Partnership

The Education Support Partnership will host a session showcasing the findings from recent research into the mental health of people working in the FE sector. Key themes will include the importance  of supportive line management, having autonomy and being trusted, vulnerable points in a FE professional’s career when
they may be a risk of poorer wellbeing.

Technical Education: Professionalism, Partnerships, Places - Technical Education for Sustainable Development - Cerian Ayres

This workshop will explore why now, is a time for action for all, as we face social, environmental and economic challenges. Technical education, learning and skills play a central role in driving economic growth, providing social justice and supporting inclusive communities.

Supporting individuals to access opportunities to progress to higher levels of technical study and employment, in industry sectors with recognised skill shortages. Improving the skills base available to employers which is key to the successful implementation of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, underpinning the 5 foundations of productivity- Ideas, People, Infrastructure, Business and Environment, Places

This workshop aims to:

  • Raise your awareness of the ETF Technical Education Workforce Development support offer.
  • Provide an insight into how FE colleagues and organisations are working to embed an integrated approach to addressing Education for Sustainable Development, 4 C’s: - Curriculum, Campus, Community and Culture.
  • Enable you to build an ESD resource bank that is classroom- ready to include practical action guides- how to 'act local and think global'.
  • Share case studies of effective practice -  small steps, big difference!

  • Raise awareness of how you can gain accreditation for your sustainable practices.

  • Provide opportunities fordiscussion and sharing of effective practice.

Early Careers workshop: Magnificent Methods - Geoff Petty

Some teaching methods hit the spot according to cognitive science, and raise attainment exceptionally well in rigorous classroom trials. They are routinely used by exceptional teachers. In the morning breakout session, Geoff looks at questioning methods and formative methods that far outstrip common practice.


SEND: Introduction to Autism and sensory issues - Kath Wood

This 30-minute interactive session will introduce you to the topic of autism by looking at some facts and figures about the condition before focusing on the sensory issues learners may face and how you can ensure your learning environment is adapted accordingly.

SEND: Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Annie Pendrey

Annie will share some case studies of FE tutors and how with the provision of professional development and opportunities, we are providing positive experiences for learners with autism. There will also be a brief introduction to 'Making Sense of Autism' and 'Good Autism Practice'.

Digital: Support to teach the new Essential Digital Skills entitlement - Angela Sanders and Vikki Liogier

The new Essential Digital Skills entitlement will enable adults aged 19+ with no or low digital skills to undertake ‘essential digital skills’ qualifications free of charge from 2020. The aim is to give everyone the opportunity to benefit from digital technology and stay safe online.

The new qualifications will be available for teaching from August 2020. Independent research commissioned and just published by the ETF shows that practitioners feel positive about the updated standards set out in the new entitlement, saying that they are more relevant to the way technology is used now and predicting a strong uptake of courses by learners. However, practitioners have also emphasised the preparatory work that needs to be done to support delivery ahead of the new qualifications going live. 

The ETF has responded by commissioning a significant CPD programme, led by Sero Consulting with DESQ and SkillsLogic, to support teachers and trainers in delivering the new entitlement. This breakout session will introduce the blended training and support that will be offered as part of the programme. Delegates will have an early opportunity to see the forthcoming bite-size training modules and get a taste of the face-to-face training, with an opportunity to provide feedback and to help shape the formation of the programme.

Mental Health and Wellbeing: Workshop on learner’s mental health - Nicole Capon.

Poor mental health can affect us all at any point. Knowing how to support a learner living with a mental health diagnosis can help to promote engagement and peer support. In this interactive workshop we will be looking at ways to encourage learner activity for those who are dealing with symptoms poor mental health.

Non-traditional learners: The Guess Who Game – Marie-Claire O’Brien

We are human, or at least most of us are! As with most living creatures we are programmed to make instant decisions about people, places and things. This is due to our fight or flight responses and remains to this day. 

Drawing on real people who have given their permission for us to use their personal stories and pictures to create a safe space for exploring these responses, we will ask you to vote for whoever you believe fits the description. Whilst the game can be upsetting for some people, please keep in mind that this is meant to be a disruptive exercise and that the full context of each statement and description will be clarified at the end of all of the voting – you’ll get to hear if you were right, or wrong.

We will then go on to discuss the prison teaching environment and how important education is to those who are viewed as at the bottom of society in providing social mobility.

The New Leaf Initiative is an innovative and transformative organisation which employs people with lived expertise of the issues we tackle; supporting people with convictions to move away from crime and into work, via a pathway of holistic support, education, training and real opportunities via one of our employment pathways, such as the Construction Gateway or our Virgin Trains employment academy.

New Leaf was established in 2014 and has helped over 300+ people to turn their lives around with 77.8 per cent moving into further education or training, and 60 per cent moving into work. It has developed a substantial positive reputation within the Criminal Justice and Educational Sectors as the only organisation in the West Midlands specifically working with people with convictions who are looking to move into work.

Early Careers workshop: How to teach even better - Geoff Petty

Geoff gets strategic - lesson planning can waste your time as plans often can’t be reused next time. Topic planning can be reused, so it saves planning time, differentiates better and far more easily, if you build a ladder of tasks for each topic from easy to more challenging. No more planning multiple lessons for different groups or individuals. In this afternoon session, Geoff asks: how do you plan a topic, and how do you sequence methods to ensure differentiation?  

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