AOSEC - The Association of South East Colleges

Professional Development Networks

AOSEC Professional Development Networks

Our portfolio of professional development networks uniquely combine sector updates with peer networking, focussed discussion, input from government agencies and collaborative interpretation of the impact of new initiatives.

The AOSEC networks provide events for college staff to be updated with the latest information specific to their own business or curriculum area, as well as encouraging reflective practice. The meeting agendas closely follow many of the policy changes and other educational developments as they emerge.

To see our upcoming networks visit our events calendar

Select any of the networks below for more details

Teaching & Learning

College-Based HE Network
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Overview

This network is strongly recommended for colleges wanting to keep abreast of developments in HE provision within the FE setting. It supports staff with management responsibility for the provision of higher education in colleges.

The meetings

Each meeting aims to include input from key stakeholders such as HEFCE and QAA as well as policy updates from the AoC college HE team.

The Student Loan Company and colleges from inside and outside the region have attended offering insight and updates.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

Mike Ridout, former Associate Vice Principal and Dean of HE at Sparsholt College, chairs this network and is invaluable in the creation of each agenda.

What delegates have said

“Information received impacts greatly on my role as I am  informed on information that I really do need to hand to ensure that we do not miss deadlines.”

Alison Wheatley, East Berkshire College

“Session provides good networking opportunities to share common experiences.” 

Alex Day, Peter Symonds College

Curriculum Development Network
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Overview

This network is designed to support college staff in all areas of curriculum development. For 2017/18 the focus of this group will expand to include higher level skills, apprenticeships and updates on the skills plan.

The meetings

Teaching and learning, teaching methodology, practical tools and tips, maintaining quality and all things teaching, feature on this agenda.

College experiences play a large role in this network, with colleagues from in and out of the region, presenting innovative work and best practice.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

Virginia Barrett, Principal at Farnborough College of Technology, chairs this network and offers her experience and knowledge in the creation of each agenda.

What delegates have said

“Helps inform further strategic discussions.”

Lisa Humphries, Chichester College

“Very useful network and reassuring to hear issues are shared with other colleges.”

Fred Carter, NESCOT

Digital Learning Network
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Overview

As the digital future for further education and skills continues to grow and the opportunities to embed digital learning into college provision increases, this network aims to support colleges with the implementation of digital learning and highlight how technology can support teaching, learning and assessment.

The meetings

A selection of external organisations have attended, including, The Tech Partnership and several external digital learning consultants. Numerous colleges have shared their digital journey and their pioneering approaches to embedding digital learning.

Group discussions and activities feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

Iain Gibbins, E-learning Manager at Guildford College, chairs this network and offers guidance and support in the development of each agenda.

What Delegates have said

“The network has proven invaluable to help me more forward with our VLE.”

Celeine Homer, Bracknell and Wokingham College

“Interesting to see how others achieving successful digital learning.”

Marion Harrison, Northbrook College

English & Maths Network
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Overview

English and maths continues to be top of the agenda and a challenge for colleges across the region. This network offers a platform to address the concerns and challenges regarding the delivery of maths and English qualifications.

The meetings

Each agenda is a mix of college experiences and external speakers, all sharing their knowledge and skills to support the application of English and maths.

Ofqual, The Education and Training Foundation, Canterbury Christ Church University and AQA have all presented at this network. College contributions have included Worthing College, South Downs College, Central Sussex College and Brooklands College.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

Anne Haig Smith, Director – Applied Learning Foundation at Activate Learning, chairs this network and actively sources agenda items that will support the group members.

What Delegates have said

“Helps with supporting vocational colleagues and with future planning.”

Janine Kelly, Northbrook College

“I am better informed to support students.”

Linda Lab, BHASVIC

Hairdressing & Beauty Therapy Network
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Overview

This highly successful and popular network benefits from a breadth of expertise and delegate engagement. It provides a platform to hear the latest updates regarding qualifications, changes to the sector and innovative approaches to work, as well as the introduction of new, cost effective products.

The meetings

Colleagues have enjoyed the opportunity to hear from a wide range of organisations including City and Guilds, VTCT, and Lee Stafford Education.

Delegates take regular tours of college salons during networks.

College experiences play a large role in this network, with colleagues from in and out of the region presenting innovative work and best practice.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

Mark Packham, Head of Hair and Beauty at Bracknell and Wokingham College, chairs this network and brings his passion and enthusiasm to each agenda and meeting.

What delegates have said

“Information regarding new standards and apprenticeships, highly valuable.”

Caroline Pharo, Basingstoke College of Technology

“It help to plan with some great discussions giving food for thought on areas such as maths/English and work experience.”

Ernie Fraser, MidKent College

Special Educational Needs & Disabilities Network
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Overview

The main purpose of this network is to provide a platform for delegates to share and discuss issues relating to learners with special educational needs and/or disabilities. The focus of this network is to share practical solutions to current challenges.

The meetings

Each meeting includes colleges sharing their experience and approaches.

Several external organisations have attended, including the Natspec, the Department for Education, Talkback, and AoC

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

Gemma Baker, Director of Strategy, AOSEC and a SEND Sector Leader, currently chairs this network.

What delegates have said

“Helps me keep up to date with what is going on and take that information back to share with colleagues.”

Julie Ovenden, Treloar College

“Informative session - worth taking time out of busy schedule to attend.”

Gillian Blackburn, South Downs

Sports & Leisure Network
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Overview

This popular network is the result of an exciting partnership between AOSEC and AoC Sport.  Open to AOSEC network subscribers and members of AoC sport. The network supports the development of all aspects of sport related activity in colleges and covers both curriculum and operational.

The meetings

AoC Sport provides national updates at every meeting. External organisations have included, WorkdSkills UK and the National Citizenship Service. College experiences play a large role in this network, with colleagues from in and out of the region, presenting innovative work and best practice.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges.

The Chair

Ashley Grute, Head of Sport and Public Services at South Downs College, chairs this successful network.

What delegates have said

“As a new Head of Department, it gives me a lot of relevant information and lots of ideas to implement within the team.”

Sarah Lipscombe, BCA

Really Important to attend in order to maintain relationships and to keep an up-to-date understanding of college sport, policy, issues and opportunities for the sector.”

Penny Woods, Sport Hampshire

STEM Network
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Overview

AOSEC is delighted to include this brand new network into our professional development network portfolio.

STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are the foundations of the industrial and corporate world. While these are some of the most important subjects, they can often be overlooked even though they are skills that are in high demand by employers. This network will allow colleagues the opportunity to explore the implementation and expansion of STEM subjects in their college.

The meetings

Each agenda will cover a range of topics including, ways to engage students in STEM subjects, case studies, STEM opportunities and training, as well as external organisation input and sign-posting to guidance and resources.

College experiences will play a large role in this network, with colleagues being asked to share best practice and methods.

Group discussions will feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges.

Strategic

Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement Network
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Overview

Previously business development, this network has always been highly popular, supporting college staff in a range of business development roles. It has helped colleges explore commercial opportunities and manage the increasing demands on generating full cost income. With all the apprenticeship reforms currently taking place, we have introduced apprenticeships and employer engagement as a key element of this group’s focus. The landscape continues to change and develop, making this network an invaluable platform for discussing and keeping apprised of all the most recent changes.

The meetings

The AoC skills policy team provide regular national updates, keeping the network members apprised of the latest developments and policy announcements. Invited organisations have included Chalkstream Communications, the Skills Funding Agency and NCFE

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members

The Chair

Chris Hare, Director of Enterprise & Employer Engagement at MidKent College, chairs this network and works with AOSEC in development of each agenda ensuring it is relevant and beneficial.

What delegates have said

“Really useful meeting and really useful information delivered and shared. Many thanks!

Victoria Bryant, Sussex Coast College

“I have a greater understanding of current and future policy changes.”

Chris Hare, MidKent College

Finance Directors’ Network
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Overview

A long standing, lively senior management network which continues to be an invaluable resource for Finance Directors across the region.

The meetings

With input from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, colleagues are kept apprised of the latest updates on the key challenges affecting the sector.

A range of external organisations have also offered input, including Barclays, Highlander Computing Solutions, Nucleus Commercial Finance and BDO.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

This network benefits from the experience of two Chairs: David Moir, Deputy Principal Finance and Resources at Basingstoke College of Technology and Biram Desai, Vice Principal Corporate Services at Sussex Coast College, Hastings.

What delegates have said

“Excellent meeting and sharing of experiences.”

Shaneel Shajpal, Godalming College

“Very relevant and useful.”

Asad Shah, Activate Learning

HRM and Staff Development Network
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Overview

This network provides an opportunity for college HR managers and staff development officers to share best practice and receive specialist updates to support them in their roles.

The meetings

The AoC employment team attend this network on a regular basis, providing key updates.

External organisations have included, the Department for Work and Pensions, Eversheds, Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd and Menzies Law.

Colleges’ sharing their experience also plays a key role in this network.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

Julie Shah, Director of Human Resources at East Berkshire College, has chaired this network for many years and plays a significant role in its continued success.

What delegates have said

“Really interesting to hear colleagues experiences in directly relevant areas

Jen Richards, East Berkshire College

“Lots of useful information to take back. Good to make contact with colleagues.”

Becky Abrey, South Downs College

Quality Improvement Network
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Overview

This network supports all aspects of quality improvement and quality assurance. Aimed at senior management teams with responsibility for quality and improvement, this network provides a key strategic platform for delegates.

The meetings

The AoC policy team attend on a regular basis and offer national updates. External organisations have included, Ofsted, Pearson UK, STEM Learning and Ofqual.

Colleges also share their best practice, highlighting the fantastic work taking place across the region.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

This network is chaired by Iain Wolloff, Deputy Principal at Farnborough College of Technology.

What delegates have said

“Knowledge gained from Ofsted will be applied to the quality improvement plan.”

Daniel Shaw, Plumpton College

“An interesting, worthwhile network.”

Jane Jacobs, Sparsholt College

Support

Learning Resource Centres Network
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Overview

This well attended network has proven to be highly popular and informative. One of our most successful networks, it supports colleagues to tackle the challenges they face as well as introduce them to new innovative approaches to work and managing the learning resource centres.

The meetings

A variety of external organisations have attended this network, including JISC, CPD trainer Opening the Book and statistics and facts organisation Statista Ltd. Colleges also share their best practice and innovative work.

Regular tours of college LRCs take place during networks.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges.

The Chair

Fiona Sutherland, Learning Centre Manager at Abingdon and Witney College, chairs this network.

What delegates have said

“Lots to think about and implement. I’m  going back to college with loads of ideas.”

Su Pearce, Northbrook College

“Always a useful networking event - its good to meet up with other librarians to discuss issues that affect us.”

Marie Hitchcock, Guildford College

Management Information Systems Network
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Overview

This long-standing network provides support to college MIS Managers and staff, enabling them to receive regular updates from key external stakeholders.

The meetings

Group members have the opportunity to share specific issues relating to the collection and use of data in colleges.

Input from external organisations has included, Pearson UK, Education and Skills Funding Agency, the Education and Training Foundation and Ofsted.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

This network benefits from the experience of two Chairs, David Willcox, Head of MIS at Sussex Coast College and Matt Whelan, Head of Information and Funding at Chichester College.

What delegates have said

“Excellent networking, meeting peers and sharing good practice.”

Stuart Goodwin, Sussex Downs College

“Nice to hear things that are soon going to be relevant.”

Nick Thomas, Chichester College

Media & Marketing Network
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Overview

This network supports college staff with responsibility for marketing, promotion and communication. Covering all aspects of college marketing and the challenges that presents, this network aims to explore new, innovative, cost effective approaches.

The meetings

Expert speakers from organisations who have attended these meetings include, Net Natives, web design company CDD Design and Think Alumni. Colleges also regularly share best practice

The AoC press team attend meetings on a regular basis to provide national updates.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

This network is chaired by Paul Bailey, Events and Project Manager at AOSEC.

What delegates have said

“Motivational and reassuring!”

Steven Hunt, FCOT

“Good event - lovely to be out of the office focusing on marketing and discussing issues and ideas with colleagues.”

Jane Williams, Central Sussex College

Mental Health Network
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Overview

AOSEC is delighted to include this brand new network into our professional development network portfolio.

Young people have to navigate a complex and ever changing world, facing challenges and pressures in numerous aspects of their lives. Mental Health issues can affect all aspects of development including cognitive abilities, social skills as well emotional wellbeing. This network will aim to support colleagues in the development of mental health strategies and help them in supporting students and staff in their college.

The meetings

Each agenda will cover a range of issues including, supporting students and staff with severe mental health concerns as well as vulnerable students and staff dealing with low self esteem, anxiety, stress and a negative mind set. It will also include input from external organisations who will offer advice, guidance and sign-posting to resources and support.

College experiences will play a large role in this network, with colleagues being asked to share best practice, methods and systems.

Group discussions will feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges.

Health and Safety Network
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Overview

AOSEC is delighted to include this brand new network in our professional development network portfolio.

The effective management of health and safety remains a fundamental and an integral part of the college environment. This network will support colleagues in developing a culture where the avoidance of accidents, the promotion of safe and healthy workplace are common objectives shared by all college staff.

The meetings

Each agenda will cover a range of topics including, development of health and safety management policies, procedures to protect staff from the risk of injury, health and safety audits, effective management and promotion of safe environments for students and staff to work and learn.

College experiences will play a large role in this network, with colleagues being asked to share best practice and methods and procedures.

Group discussions will feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges.

Student Support Services Network
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Overview

This valuable network covers a broad range of topics within student services exploring new initiatives and discussing hot topics. It focuses on sharing best practice, disseminating information and key policy updates.

The meetings

A range of external organisations have attended this network, including the National Council of Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education, YMCA, the Department for Education and the Lawrence Atwell's Charity.

College experiences play a large role in this network, with colleagues from in and out of the region, presenting innovative work and best practice.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

What delegates have said

“It is all excellent and highly relevant. I will be reporting back to a range of different teams.”

Alison Cousens, BHASVIC

“Excellent information. I have gained knowledge which I will use within my role and share with others.”

Estella Roberts, Berkshire College of Agriculture

PREVENT and Safeguarding Network
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Overview

AOSEC is delighted to include this brand new network in our professional development network portfolio.

As PREVENT and safeguarding is the responsibility of all college staff, this network is not only aimed at colleagues who have official responsibility in these areas, but also for all staff who have any contact with students.

The meetings

Each agenda will cover a range of issues including, the PREVENT agenda, radicalisation, digital safety, child sexual exploitation, student welfare and more.

Colleagues will have the opportunity to receive regular updates from government agencies and receive support and guidance in order to implement plans and systems in their college.

College experiences will play a large role in this network, with colleagues being asked to share best practice, methods and systems.

 

Group discussions will feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges.

Governance

Clerks to the Corporation Network
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Overview

This well-established network strives to promote excellence in governance across the South East. Meetings cover a range of topics, specifically chosen to support clerks in their role.

The meetings

The AoC governance team regularly attend, offering specialist input and updates.

External organisations have included, Ofsted, Eversheds, The Education & Training Foundation, HEFCE and input from a National Leader of Governance.

Group discussions feature at every network, giving delegates the opportunity to raise any concerns or challenges, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

Jacqueline Eayrs, Clerk to the Corporation at Fareham College, and Robin Jones, Clerk at Guildford College chair this network, both providing valuable advice and guidance in the development of each agenda.

What delegates have said

“Information on Post Area Based Review work an, HE Changes, really useful.”

Tracy Reeve, BCA

“Lots of useful things to reflect on. Will help us consider our approach at College.”

Laura Holt, Plumpton College