iAchieve Vocational Conference

18th November 2020

Our online vocational conference was an opportunity to hear from prominent education figures about how vocational options have been playing a big part in helping schools respond to the endless implications of Covid-19. There has been much reported about knowledge gaps, re-engagements and the avoidance of further educational disruption, and even whether the usual attainment measures will be relevant this year.

At iAchieve, we work with nearly 700 schools across the country, which gives us a unique perspective on how schools are responding to these challenges.  This conference was an opportunity to hear from school leaders about how vocational courses are proving a powerful and important option in engaging some groups of learner. The mini conference offers you practical strategies for your curriculum choices for this academic year and next, and we hope you can join us in this discussion.


Introduction by conference Chair, Amanda Madine, Director, iAchieve

Keynote: Alternative options in response to the challenges of Covid-19, Will Smith, CEO, Greenshaw Learning Trust

Practical Strategies: Exploring vocational options: choosing the right courses for your learners

Case Study: Why Corby Technical School choose vocational options in PE

Q&A: Leading vocational awarding organisation NCFE answer common questions about the practical elements of vocational options

Closing remarks

Guest Speakers

Will Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Greenshaw Learning Trust
Will is Chief Executive Officer at the Greenshaw Learning Trust having previously been a successful headteacher. He led the PiXL network for a number of years and more recently is the inspiration behind the growing collaborative, By Leaders for Leaders. Will regularly speaks at educational events and as well as an established executive coach is a father to three children who are his primary source of inspiration.

Julie Hyde, Director of External and Regulatory Affairs, NCFE
Julie joined CACHE in 2010 as Regional Manager for the North of England progressing to Executive Director of Business Development in 2012 where she directed the sector led development of high-quality vocational qualifications, supporting millions of learners to progress in their careers.
In 2015 CACHE became part of NCFE where Julie Directed the CACHE sector qualification and services ensuring the Gold Standard qualifications continued to meet the needs of employers, providers and students. Including, the Save Our Early Years campaign which resulted in the government reinstating Functional Skills as an alternative maths and English qualifications accepted on entry to the workforce as a Level 3 Early Years Educator.
Julie has extensive experience of management in the childcare and education sectors, having previously gained commercial sales and training experience working in industry.
Today, as Director of External and Regulatory Affairs Julie ensures NCFE’s reputation as a leading educational services provider endures and that our qualifications and services continue to support individuals to achieve their potential.

Maureen De Longhi, Assistant Head, Heartlands High School
An experienced senior leader with extensive teaching, organisational and management experience.  Maureen initially started out as a teacher of Modern Languages, but as an Assistant Head responsible for raising achievement, she became interested in the power of vocational and technical qualifications to inspire young people and give them opportunities to achieve and as such, she has a wealth of experience of delivering, planning and assessing several vocational qualifications.
Maureen has worked in several London schools and academies, as well as being part of PiXL (Partners in Excellence) and delivering training workshops and short courses across England and Wales. She is passionate about raising achievement and the desire to help students and adults to be the best that they can be.

Daniel Rogers, Director of Vocational Studies, Corby Technical School
Dan is the Director of PE and Vocational Studies at Corby Technical School alongside being the school’s careers leader. Dan has made a number of curriculum changes including courses, structure and assessment in his time leading the department. All changes have been centred around providing students with more opportunities to be successful in today’s ever changing employment market.

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