Dr Christine Rose - Event Chair

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Christine Rose Associates

Christine is a nationally recognised expert in equality, diversity and inclusion.

Passionate about supporting organisations to embed and advance equality, she has worked with over 200 providers, supporting a significant number to achieve outstanding status for E&D at inspection.

Clients continually invite her back, and she has helped thousands of staff to improve their practice. She uniquely combines an ability to inspire with in-depth knowledge of best practice in E&D and extensive experience in the learning and skills sector.

Christine regularly speaks at national and regional events, and is the author of an extensive range of briefings, guidance, publications and toolkits.

Sue Clarke

Vocational Education Policy Advisor, Department for Education

Sue is a member of the Vocational Education Strategy Team at the Department for Education and has responsibility for implementing 16-19 study programmes and other Wolf recommendations. Sue has held a number of teaching and leadership roles in further education colleges, as well as a senior leadership role at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, where she was responsible for coordinating the development of Principal Learning qualifications in the 14-19 Diploma Programme.

Before joining the Department as a policy advisor, Sue was a member of the senior management team responsible for policy and strategy across the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency. Early in her career she worked as a regional manager and sales executive in the private sector.

As a former student and teacher in further education, who was active in establishing school/college link programmes, Sue’s commitment throughout has been to give students taking vocational and academic courses a worthwhile curriculum offer which supports their progression into work or higher education.

Paul Warner

Director of Employment and Skills, Association of Employment and Learning Providers

Having been a specialist recruitment consultant to the defence industry for six years, Paul started in the post-16 sector in 1993 working on Training for Work contracts for TBG Learning. He subsequently took on a variety of related operational and senior management roles, culminating in a successful tenure as Director of Business Development.

On leaving TBG he worked as a consultant for a time, including a spell managing WBL delivery at Barking College in East London, before joining AELP in September 2003 where he now oversees all aspects of operational and policy delivery, particularly concentrating on the alignment of the skills and employability agendas. Paul holds a First Class Honours degree in International Relations from the University of Keele, and an MA in Post-Compulsory Education and Training from the University of Sheffield.

He is a Director of the Institute of Employability Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Married with one daughter, hailing from the New Forest but living in Essex, he lists his hobbies as rock music, amateur dramatics and karate.

Andrew Sparkes

IT Access Developer, National Star College

Andrew Sparkes is the IT Access Developer at National Star. Working with a multi-disciplinary team of Assistive Technologists, Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists, Andrew develops solutions for students with disabilities to access technologies that support learning, work and daily living. Andrew has led on projects providing accessibility assessments to people with disabilities in the local community and developing the use of assistive technologies in other Further Education providers through a variety of projects and programmes.

Gaynor Holland

Pathway to Apprenticeships Manager, Total People

Gaynor has worked for the Work Based Learning Sector for 25 years. She has spent the past twenty years working as part of the Management Team for Total People Ltd (formally South and East Cheshire Training and Enterprise Council).

As the Pathway to Apprenticeships Manager she has observed the journey from the evolvement of E2E from endorsed provision, onto Foundation Learning and up to the current development of Study Programmes. Over the last 18 months she has been working with Local Authorities to develop some high need provision, to be integrated into mainstream programmes and supported Internships.

Gaynor chaired AELPs Foundation group for 1 year, working on developments and changes from EMA to bursary payments for learners and the implementation of the funding for Foundation Learning Programmes.

Currently, Gaynor is focusing on the expansion of learning centres in new geographical areas. She is also continuing to reduce the number of NEET by offering a wide curriculum to engage young people. Developing the Pathways to Apprenticeships offer will ensure that young people with higher needs are supported.

Gaynor is married and lives in Cheshire with her husband, son and Collie dogs.

Lisa Featherstone

Subject Matter Expert, Accessibility and InclusionJisc

Lisa began using technology for teaching when running in a discrete unit for pupils with learning difficulties within a comprehensive school and found it to be liberating, engaging and helped to develop independence and foster creativity. She was originally a secondary school science teacher but soon moved into teaching students with learning difficulties and more complex needs. She has worked in schools, local authorities and colleges.

She joined Jisc in 2006 and is now a subject matter expert on access and inclusion. She has worked with Innovation UK to assess and support research projects to provide assistive technology to learners with a wide range of disabilities. She provides advice and guidance on access for learners with high needs as well as inclusive practice.

James Thomas

SpLD Specialist Lecturer, Chichester College

James Thomas has taught at Chichester College, West Sussex since September, 2000. Initially teaching in Foundation Programmes, a move to work in Additional Learning Support in 2006 saw the development of an interest in ILT and in the impact of assistive technology. James is a qualified Specialist Lecturer (SpLD, Level 7).

Since then, Chichester College has prioritised the development of ILT and created ILT Champion roles and, more recently, ILT Professional Learning Coaches. James has worked as part of the team that won two ‘MoLeNET’ bids and was recognised for this in the Hi 5 eLearning Awards in 2011.

Helen Brooks

Childrens Services and Departmental Strategy Directorate, 
Department for Education

Helen Brooks works for the Department for Education on implementing the reforms of special educational needs and disability in the FE and skills sector. She was involved in the developing the post-16 elements of the Children and Families Bill, and was lead author for Chapter 7 (Further Education) and Chapter 8 (Preparing for adulthood) of the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice. Helen has worked on a variety of projects in the Department over her career, including raising post-16 attainment below level 2, strategic commissioning of schools and 14-19 provision, and widening participation to higher education.