This conference aims to update Sixth Form Leaders on the very latest updates and challenges facing Sixth Forms as they move into the 2021 – 2022 Academic year. It will provide practical effective solutions to these challenges from school leaders as well as delivering an up to date Academic overview of current Sixth Form Learning.


  • Gain insights into the challenges faced by sixth forms in the current landscape.
  • Hear from leading experts and best practice case studies who are innovatively driving improvements in students outcomes across their sixth forms.
  • Get an overview of the latest educational research from the Education Policy Institute.
  • Gain strategies on ways to develop sixth form curriculum leadership expertise.
  • Find out more about how to maximise the potential of strong learning experiences for your staff to increase learning depth, detail, understanding and outcomes for students.


Bill Watkin, Chief Executive, Sixth Form Colleges Association

Peter Kennedy, Principal & CEO, Franklin Sixth Form College

David Robinson, Director Education Policy Institute, Post 16 and Skills

Paula Blakemore, Vice Principal, Birkenhead Sixth Form College

Steve Burnage, Training Consultant of the Year 2020/2021

Tony Davis, Director, Centre for Creative Quality Improvement

John Tait, Multi-Academy Trust Deputy CEO, Arete Learning Trust

Nathalie Richards, CEO and Co-founder, EduKit

Colin Peaks, Principal, Wilberforce Sixth Form College

Gary Thomas,Assistant Principal, Teaching and Learning, Franklin Sixth Form College

Laura Horton, Head of Science & Engineering, Franklin Sixth Form College

Chair: Christopher Terry, Academic Director, Keynote Educational

DATE Online | Friday 25 June 2021
  • Heads of MATs and Trust Alliances
  • Headteachers, Vice Principals, Deputy Principals
  • Deputy and Assistant Headteachers
  • Sixth Form Leaders
  • Heads of Sixth Form
  • Teachers responsible for Teaching and Learning in Sixth Form Colleges
  • Leaders of Further Education
  • Leaders of Higher Education
  • Secondary School Leaders
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Guaranteed high quality venues.


9.50 – 10.00am: Introduction & Welcome

Christopher Terry, Academic Director, Keynote Educational

10.00 – 10.45am: The Latest on the Challenges Facing Sixth Forms

Bill Watkin, Chief Executive – Sixth Form Colleges Association


10.55 – 11.35am: Leading on High Expectations – a culture of quality Improvement

  • Setting, monitoring and meeting performance targets can form a virtuous cycle of improvement.
  • The session will consider strategies for improving performance, incorporating lessons learned from lockdown to draw on an integrated processes of appraisal, self-assessment and quality improvement planning.

Peter Kennedy, Principal & CEO, Franklin Sixth Form College

11.35 – 12.15pm: Measuring the Disadvantage Gap in 16 – 19 Education

What can be learned and what action can be taken to address the clear disadvantage gap in 16-19 education?

  • Information, advice and guidance targeted at high-attaining disadvantaged students.
  • There is a gap equivalent to almost three A-level grades between the best three qualifications of disadvantaged students and their peers – explaining the gap.
  • The lower prior attainment of disadvantaged students is the main factor. behind the disadvantage attainment gap – how to address this gap which will be heightened by the Covid disruptions and lost learning.

David Robinson, Director, Post 16 and Skills, Education Policy Institute 

12.15pm – 1.05pm: BREAKOUT SESSIONS  1

1A: Assessing with Confidence on Full Linear Qualifications: finding the gaps
  • Are we assessing enough or too much?
  • What works well – how do you effectively use a mix of formal and informal assessments?
  • Multi Educational Institution Collaboration – using technology to work together to improve the validity and efficacy of assessment while easing teacher workloads.

Laura Horton, Head of Science & Engineering, Franklin Sixth Form College

1B:  Developing high-performing independent 6th Form students who achieve excellent results
  • Accurately identifying best practice and areas for improvement to sustain high-quality provision for all.
  • Eradicating areas of under-performance swiftly.
  • Using interventions in a blended learning environment.
  • Well-planned staff development.
  • Leveraging the best of remote learning – collaboration across institutions to support students and staff.

Gary Thomas, Assistant Principal, Teaching and Learning, Franklin Sixth Form College

1C: Student mental health: what are the biggest challenge facing safeguarding in sixth form colleges?
  • How to build resilience and help students stop medicalising normal emotions.
  • The role of the Fitness for Study process verses the Disciplinary process.
  • The effects of Covid-19 on student mental health.

Paula Blakemore, Vice Principal, Birkenhead Sixth Form College

1.05 – 2.00pm LUNCH

2.00 – 2.50pm: BREAKOUT SESSIONS  2

2A: Ofsted Sixth Form Update
  • Ofsted Key Priorities for Sixth Form Schools
  • Covid-adjusted inspections – what will you be assessed on?
  • Data investigations in the light of Covid.

Steve Burnage, Mister Steve Training and Consultancy – Training Consultant of the Year 2020/2021

2B: Leadership – how to create high performing SLT teams
  • Building effective professional relationships.
  • Managing difficult conversations.
  • Leading school improvement from the front.

John Tait, Multi-Academy Trust Deputy CEO, Arete Learning Trust.

Author of Senior Leadership

2C: How Social Emotional Learning impacts on results
  • Empowering students to improve their own emotional progress and create good student habits.
  • Monitoring, measuring and evaluating progress.
  • Embedding best practise for wellbeing and mental health for staff and students.

Nathalie Richards, CEO and Co-founder, EduKit


3.00 – 3.50pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS 3

3A: Learning outcomes for independent learning
  • Why learning-outcome writing will be at the heart of the next education revolution.
  • Why learning-outcomes writing is so often poor, and what to do about it.
  • Learning outcomes to develop learners’ independence of us.

Tony Davis, Director, Centre for Creative Quality Improvement

3B: T Levels – the new vocational BTEC changes from QCF to RQF and links to careers
  • How we have successfully promoted industry placements within vocational curriculum areas.
  • Strategies to support the vocational curriculum areas with the smooth transition from QCF to RQF.
  • How the Careers Department supports the work of Pastoral and Curriculum areas.

Kam Rogerson, Vice Principal of Curriculum, Huddersfield New College

3C:  Leading in challenging times
  • Stepping into leadership.
  • Creating high performing teams.
  • Motivating your staff.
  • Reacting to change and challenge.

Colin Peaks, Principal, Wilberforce Sixth Form College

Bill Watkin is Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, he leads and oversees the work of the team and ensures that SFCA supports, champions and strengthens all members through his dealings with government, media, trade unions and other stakeholders.

David Robinson joined the Education Policy Institute in June 2017. David’s background includes 6 years at the Department for Education, as the lead analyst first on school accountability and then on capital funding. David led on the analysis and research that informed the reforms to school accountability in Primary schools, Secondary schools and 16-19 settings; most notably the development of the Progress 8 measure. He also led the economic analysis of the department’s capital funding proposals during the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review. More recently David was the Associate Director for Policy, Research and Evaluation at the Education Partnership Group, an organisation that supports education system and policy reforms in developing countries.

Peter Kennedy has been Principal and CEO, Franklin Sixth Form College in Grimsby for two years, securing an improved Ofsted grade to good in 2018. Previously, as Deputy Principal at Huddersfield New College for 8 years, he lead the college inspection preparation to an outstanding award in all criteria in 2016. He Chairs the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association Vocational Network and is a member of the Funding Policy Committee. A keen biologist, Peter co-authored the 2015 A-level specification and text books. His Masters research focussed on quality cycles and integrated quality improvement planning.

Paula Blakemore has responsibility for safeguarding, learning support and new student admissions. She is also the College lead on HR and staff development. Rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, Birkenhead Sixth Form College is the leading provider of A Level and BTEC courses for 16-18 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 accolade in education.

Kam Rogerson is Assistant Principal, Curriculum and Quality (Vocational) and Wider College Experience, Huddersfield New College. Kam’s responsibility is to ensure students have access to a high standard of vocational courses. She works closely with a large team to enhance students’ employability prospects by providing extensive and appropriate work experience.

Dr. Paul Johnson has extensive experience as a senior leader in schools and he is a current HMI inspector. Previously he has a wide experience of training Teachers on their PGCE courses in History with Manchester University. An experienced examiner, successful former Deputy Head and Head of Department and school governor, with more than 35 years’ teaching experience in a range of educational contexts. He is a highly experienced and regarded provider of national training courses and tutorials for teachers at all stages of their career and with students. Paul is a current senior examiner with a leading examination board for History, a former Principal Moderator and the author of a number of text books and articles on the craft of history teaching.

John Tait is an influential and inspirational education leader who is currently deputy headteacher in a large and diverse North East secondary school. Jon has also been recognised by Microsoft as one of their Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts every year since 2015 and forms part of their global educator visionary team, showcasing how technology can pave the way to better student outcomes. Jon regularly writes for his own education blog on topics about strategic school leadership and classroom pedagogy. Jon is a published author for Bloomsbury Publishing with 4 books on classroom pedagogy, educational research, middle leadership and senior leadership. Jon also delivered a talk on the world famous TED stage in 2015, talking about ‘The Future of Learning’.

Nathalie Richards is CEO and Co-founder at EduKit. EduKit helps raise pupil attainment through an innovative online site of hundreds of personal development and supplementary education programmes run by over 800 registered providers. EduKit can also measures pupil progress and report on Pupil premium spend and outcomes. EduKit received a 2014 Department of Education Award for Innovation and a finalist of the BETT 2015 Technology awards.

Tony Davis is a Director at the Centre for Creative Quality Improvement. Carrying out significant research into the designing of ideal further education through the writing of bespoke Quality Standards and lesson-improvement strategies. Former HMI and manager of both the ALI and Ofsted Good Practice Databases, specialising in helping teachers understand how to provide outstanding learning experiences and helping managers develop their quality system and self-assessment to enable that to happen.

Colin Peaks started as Assistant Principal, then Vice Principal Curriculum, then Deputy Principal before becoming the Principal in September 2018. He has taught in secondary education at two schools in Manchester (Culcheth High School where he was a Teacher of PE and Head of Year, and Birchwood Community High School where he was Head of PE). He moved back to Hull to take up the role of Head of PE at Malet Lambert and was promoted to Head of Faculty. He then became Assistant Head at Kelvin Hall School, responsible for Behaviour, Attendance and KS4 progress. He led the rebuild of the school under the Building Schools for the Future Project.

Gary Thomas Assistant Principal, Teaching and Learning, Franklin Sixth Form College
Gary is committed to developing teaching and learning through harnessing the best of current research. He has been instrumental in developing the College’s ‘Learn to Learn’ approach to independent learning. He has produced a range of open access resources through the College’s successful CCF remote learning project, bringing together the best practitioners from several local sixth form colleges. He is currently engaged in developing the ‘Walkthru’ platform to meet staff development needs across the local sixth form colleges.

Laura Horton Head of Science & Engineering, Franklin Sixth Form College
An inspirational chemistry teacher with over 13 years’ experience, Laura has successfully overseen the drive to improve standards and outcomes in STEM courses at Franklin. Developing an intercollege collaborative programme for aspiring Medics and Vets has been a particular success. During the pandemic she has focussed on assuring the quality of assessment evidence for learners during remote learning. She is driven by a passion for excellence in TLA and nurturing high performing teachers and students.

Chair: Christopher Terry is the Academic Director at Keynote Educational, an ex-head teacher and experienced teacher of History. He has been an examiner for History with all the major English exam boards: AQA, Pearson, OCR and the International Baccalaureate. He delivers ITT teacher training in the Northwest of England and Internationally. He also has been a specialist advisor to OFQUAL for History and has been recognised by the Historical Association as an outstanding practitioner. He has made valuable contributions to both educational conferences and has written many educational articles.