We are pleased to once again offer our Annual Keynote Sixth Form Leadership Conference which brings together leading national and sixth form experts who will address the key issues and implications of the recent changes affecting sixth forms.

The conference includes keynote contributions from Sir John Jones (Author, international speaker, educational commentator), Julian Appleyard OBE Principal, Rochdale Sixth Form College, Chief Executive of Pontefract Academies Trust, National Leader in Education (NLE) and Mike Kilbride, (Principal, Birkenhead Sixth Form College, TES Sixth Form College of the Year 2018, CEO of Wirral Academy Trust).

We also welcome Bill Watkin (Sixth Form Colleges Association) leading a session on the current sixth form landscape, Jeremy Dry (Maximise Your Potential) who will discuss what Heads of Sixth Forms can do to give their students the edge, Dr Rob Cromarty (Head of Oxford and Cambridge Admissions, Wellington College), leading a session on Oxbridge and Russell Group admissions, as well as several other sessions addressing key sixth form issues.

With so much change happening, the impact of the new linear exams, new pressures on mental health and well being in the sixth form, this conference is an opportunity for all involved in sixth from education to find out more about the latest strategic thinking and practical improvement actions for implementation.

Key Focus Points for the day include:

  • Leading learning in the 21st Century
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Creating a culture of success and high performance
  • Assessing with confidence in the new linear A levels
  • Working with vulnerable students to achieve success

“Excellent day. Very informative, excellent resources + speakers.”
Alderbrook School

“Excellent, well organised, superb choice of presenters.”
Oakham School

“Really effective conference. Sessions were well delivered and focussed/relevant.”
Uxbridge High School

“Strong first impressions – well organised, varied programme and valuable resources. Has met my expectations of a conference in that it has given much food for thought, stimulated ideas and provided me with some methods/strategies to take away.”
Kingsbury High School, London


  • Be inspired by a leading expert on outstanding leadership which can dramatically improve teaching and learning
  • Explore the leadership themes that allow sustained excellence in a high performance environment
  • Take away effective approaches to support the well-being and mental health of sixth form students
  • Update your knowledge on the emerging policy priorities at sixth form level
  • Benefit from a range of strategies which can improve the chances and attainment of your students
DATE London Friday 22 June 2018
WHO FOR?  Headteachers and Principals
Heads of sixth forms
Deputy / Assistant leaders in Sixth Forms
Heads, Deputies and Senior Leaders in FE Colleges
Sixth Form Teachers
Detailed notes On-line materials
Powerpoint presentations CPD Certificate
 High quality training facilities Sit-down buffet lunch



9.50 – 10.00am: Introduction & Welcome

Jay TrivedyPrincipal, Wyke College, Hull


10.00 – 10.50am: Leading Learning in the 21st Century.

Sir John Jones, author, international speaker, educational commentator

“The future is not what it was – change is mandatory but growth is optional.”

  • What kind of leadership practice dramatically improves teaching and learning and therefore pupil outcomes? What are the ways to lead teachers so they become agents of change?

10.50 – 11.10am: Morning Refreshments


11.10 – 11.50am: Creating and developing a culture of success and high performance

Julian Appleyard OBE Principal, Rochdale Sixth Form College, Chief Executive of Pontefract Academies Trust, National Leader in Education (NLE)

  • This Keynote session will focus on the leadership themes that allow sustained excellence and a high performance environment.

11.50 – 12.40pm: Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Sixth Form

Mike Kilbride, Principal, Birkenhead Sixth Form College, CEO, Wirral Academy Trust

Birkenhead Sixth Form College is the TES Sixth Form College of the Year 2018. The College is shaped by the principles of positive psychology and a rejection of the concepts of ‘gifted and talented’. In this talk Mike Kilbride will outline how this approach shapes the policies and procedures that have helped foster a positive mind-set amongst staff and students and how this allows all to be more ready to face the challenge of hard work and build the resilience needed for academic success.


12.40 – 1.40pm: Lunch


1.40 – 2.35pm: OPTION STRAND 1

Either Option 1A: Marginal Gains: How to Succeed at A level

  • An opportunity for Heads of Sixth Form to see what they can do to give their students the edge and to help them become independent learners

Jeremy Dry, Maximise Your Potential

Or Option 1B: Preparing Your Candidates for Russell Group Universities

  • The Application Process – navigating the twists and turns
  • Managing Pupil and Parent Expectation
  • How to Best Prepare Your Candidates – some lessons from recent experience

Dr Rob Cromarty, Wellington College

Or Option 1C: High Expectations: tracking, monitoring and outstanding student outcomes

  • Using an evidence based approach to analyse underperformance against agreed targets and develop action plans that secure excellent outcomes. This session will focus on three specific case studies.

Jay Trivedy, Principal, Wyke Sixth Form College, Hull

Or Option 1D: Creating a Revision Mindset for Staff and Students

  • Practical workshop of techniques to create a whole school revision mindset for managing exam-relates anxiety and stress, including embedding memory improvement techniques into teaching and learning.

Ben Stephenson, Head of Sixth Form, Easthampstead Park Community School


2.35 – 2.45pm: Afternoon refreshments


2.45 – 3.40pm:OPTION STRAND 2

Either Option 2A: Assessing with confidence in the new linear A levels

  • A practical session on the principles and practices needed to ensure high quality and accurate teacher assessment in the new linear A levels.

Dr Rob Cromarty, Wellington College

Or Option 2B: Outstanding Subject and Middle Leadership

  • A focus upon student and staff ethos, maximising team performance and alignment.

Shaheen Shariff, Associate Vice-Principal, Rochdale Sixth Form College

Or Option 2C: Sixth Form Education: a changing landscape

  • Changes to curriculum and qualifications
  • The emerging policy priorities
  • System leadership and the standards agenda

Bill Watkin, Chief Executive, The Sixth Form Colleges Association.

Or Option 2D: Working with Vulnerable Sixth Form Students To Achieve Success

  • In this session, Paula Blakemore will outline the strategies that have been deployed to support students to remain engaged and be academically successful.

Paula Blakemore, Assistant Principal, Birkenhead Sixth Form College

Sir John Jones – is one of a small, select band of educational professionals who have not only had their achievements recognised in the New Year’s Honours List but have been able to help and inspire others with their knowledge and passion. One of the most entertaining, inspiring and sought-after speakers on the global educational stage, his achievements and reputation for straight-talking, leadership and creativity have led him to be invited on to a number of panels and think tanks.

He has been Headteacher of three secondary schools over a period of 17 years, a member of the Headteachers’ National Focus Group on Truancy and Exclusion. He was also a member of the Headteachers’ National Focus Group on Truancy and Exclusion and the Excellence in Cities Project at the DfES. Sir John was part of the National Remodelling Team and the Leadership and Development Unit sponsored by the National College for School Leadership.

Sir John has written two books; ‘Truancy and exclusion: a teacher’s guide’ and the best-selling ‘The Magic-Weaving Business’ and has co-authored ‘Winning the H Factor: the secrets of happy schools’.

Julian Appleyard – is the Founding Principal of Rochdale Sixth Form College and a National Leader in Education (NLE). He joined the college from New College, Pontefract where he was Deputy Principal. Julian started his career as Business Studies and Economics teacher, and has worked in two 11-18 comprehensive schools, one as Deputy Head teacher. He worked for a number of years at Greenhead College, a sixth form college, Huddersfield and was headhunted to work with ALPs as Director of Education, He has delivered Key Note speeches and addresses at a number of post 16 national conferences in the UK. Julian was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2016 for services to education.

Mike Kilbride – became Principal of Birkenhead Sixth Form College last year, after serving nine years as Deputy Principal. Mike played a crucial role in turning the institution into a superb, top tier provider of sixth form education with national recognition. Rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, Birkenhead Sixth Form College is a Centre of Academic Excellence and the leading provider of A Level and BTEC courses for 16-19 year olds in the area. The College was named ‘Sixth Form College of the Year 2018’ by the TES Further Education Awards, the most prestigious accolades in education. Government school league tables for 2017 A Level results show that the College is Wirral’s top performing school for students’ progress.

Shaheen Shariff – is Associate Vice Principal (Curriculum Standards and Effectiveness) at Rochdale Sixth Form College. For the fourth consecutive year the College is the first placed Sixth Form College in the country for A Level progress, as published in the DfE Performance Tables 2017.

Jay Trivedy – is Principal at Wyke Sixth Form College. He sees his role as Principal as ensuring that the quality of everything that College offers is outstanding: teaching and learning; pastoral care; the support that the college offers outside of lessons and the resources to help students succeed. Jeremy Dry – A former BBC journalist and award-winning presenter.

Jeremy Dry founded the Maximize Group in 2001 and has since earned a reputation for being one of the UK’s most creative educational practitioners. He leads a team of consultants of the highest calibre, working with literally hundreds of schools throughout the UK, delivering a range of motivational study skills programmes for students which are renowned for having high impact, real substance and raising grades.

Dr Rob Cromarty – is Head of Oxford and Cambridge Admissions and Head of Classics at Wellington College. Wellington is a highly academic school that prides itself on the breadth and depth of its curriculum, the excellence of its teaching staff and its clear focus on equipping pupils to become life-long independent learners. Rob and his team run a superb sixth form programme, which ensures that all Sixth Formers receive expert guidance in all matters of the application process. The college has seen great success with 95% of its pupils last year securing places at their first or second choice university, and 29 won places at Oxford or Cambridge.

Ben Stephenson – is Head of Sixth Form at Easthampstead Park Community School and Sport Psychology lecturer at Reading University. Ben’s main work focuses on helping students cope with the stress of examinations and how to create a positive examination mindset. He has worked in education for nine years and previously worked as a sports consultant to a variety of athletes including international gymnasts and professional footballers. He believes that helping training athletes to achieve their goals and perform to the highest ability is the same as helping students fulfil their full potential; if you have the “Olympic” mindset then you will achieve.