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.

UCAS, Pearson UK and the British Universities Film & Video Council have all 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

“Lots of good networking, as always. I always learn something new.”
Barb Coulson, Sparsholt College

“Session provides good networking opportunities to share common experiences.” 
Alex Day, Peter Symonds College

Curriculum Development Network
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Overview

This new network is designed to support college staff in all areas of curriculum development.

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

“Very useful to feedback regarding issues such as employability, English and Maths, and Ofsted.”
Rebecca Stratton, South Downs College

“It made me consider alternative awarding organisations and also address shortfalls in how employability opportunities can be enhanced.”
Mary Howard, Totton College

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 increase, 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 variety of external organisations which are leads in their field, have attended, including Wambiz, Portal, Canvas, Jisc and Disquiet Dog. Numerous colleges have shared their digital journey and pioneering approach to embedding digital learning.

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

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

“Easily one of the most interesting network meetings I have been to.”
Michael Cornwell, Farnborough College of Technology

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.

The University of Southampton, Ofqual, Westminster CETT, OCR and AQA have all presented at this network. College contributions have included Canterbury College, East Berkshire College and Banbury & Bicester 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, Head of Faculty English & Maths at Abingdon & Witney College, chairs this network and actively sources agenda items that will support the group members.

What Delegates have said

“I’ve taken back a number of key ideas to implement. Simple but effective.”
Anne Haig Smith, Abingdon and Witney College

“This network is helping to build ideas for practical training of staff, for embedding Maths and English and for thinking about the strategic provision of both maths and English.”
Ginette Cox, Bracknell and Wokingham College

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, The Hair Council, Trichocare and Affinage.

Regular tours of college salons take place 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

“Aids in moving the college forward by keeping up with changes to qualifications.”
Terrie Carter, Brooklands College

“Very informative and inspired me.”
Kristine Dale, Sussex Coast College

Skills Competitions Network
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Overview

This brand new network aims to promote and encourage involvement in competition activity across the region, offer national updates, highlight opportunities and help colleagues share best practice on embedding competitions in curriculum delivery.

The meetings

This network will offer a platform for colleagues to share practical ideas and strategies, allow delegates the opportunity to share their experience and learn from other colleges, hear from WorldSkills UK experts and raise their concerns and challenges through workshop based discussion and networking.

Participating in skills competitions can:
  • Improve standards of teaching and learning – widens the realms of creativity for teaching staff
  • Increase job satisfaction for teaching staff – staff are motivated and get enjoyment from training learners to a standard which could change their lives
  • Contribute to the Ofsted Evaluation Criteria
  • Open access to other resources – including support from local employers and potentially even funding
  • Contribute to college’s core mission
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 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 National Development Team for Inclusion, Jisc 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

“Really helpful in sharing knowledge and getting updated.”
Helen Key, BCoT

“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: OCR and Kent Sport. 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

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

Strategic

Area Based Reviews Strategic Support Network
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Overview

With some colleges currently going through the Area Based Review process, others at the stage of receiving their recommendations and a few considering how they can implement change, we are delighted to introduce this brand new strategic network to help support colleges navigate these uncharted waters.

The meetings

Each meeting will be driven by the members and will focus on the key areas of concern, such as: college experiences of Area Based Reviews, college mergers, funding, collaboration work, government guidance, internal and external communication and estate management.

The network will also include national updates by key stakeholders.

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

Business Development Managers’ Network
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Overview

This highly popular network supports college staff in a range of business development roles and is designed to help colleges explore commercial opportunities and manage the increasing demands on generating full cost income. It focuses on all aspects of provision for employers or employment, including apprenticeships.

The meetings

The AoC skills policy team provide regular national updates, keeping the network members apprised to the latest developments and policy announcements.

Invited organisations have included the Skills Funding Agency, FE Business Limited, Pickle Jar Communications, City & Guilds and Laser Learning Awards.

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

“I have a greater understanding of current and future policy changes.”
Chris Hare, MidKent College

“The college is currently going through a restructure and area review, so the information received will be greatly appreciated by the Senior Leadership Team.”
Jemma Hanley, South Downs 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 Funding Agency and the 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 Bank, Lloyds Bank, VATangles, Crown Commercial Service and ECE Architecture.

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

“The information is used for day to day and strategic planning.”
Pankaj Makwana, East Berkshire 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 updating 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, ACAS and Mitchell 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

“Has a great impact on the delivery of my role.”
Saskia Larsen, Bracknell and Wokingham College

“Very useful and lots to consider to take forward.”
Mickiela Blake, Eastleigh 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 The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills,  AoC Sport, City & Guilds and the Department for Education.

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

Iain Wolloff, Deputy Principal at Farnborough College of Technology, chairs this network, bringing her vast experience and knowledge to each meeting and agenda.

What delegates have said

“I am better informed on changes to performance tables and trailblazers and better able to support learners with information and action planning for this.”
Jackie Heggs, Newbury College

“Clearer understanding of the most recent changes within the FE/HE sector.”
Peta Flodman, Brooklands 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 Resources Centres.

The meetings

A variety of external organisations have attended this network, including Libraries and Copyright Alliance,  the Education Training Foundation, Sage Publishing, Prospects College of Advanced Technology and Jisc.

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, as well as share best practice with the group members.

The Chair

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

What delegates have said

“I have made some new contacts and it's been great to get updates about what other LRCs are doing.”
Hannah Bennett, Guildford College

“Some good ideas to look at in my own department.”
Ella Wheeler, East Berkshire College

Management Information Systems Network
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Overview

This long-standing network provides support to college MIS Managers and enables 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; the Education Funding Agency, HEFCE, UKCES and the Department for Education.

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

“Always helpful, good to see how other colleges deal with the same/ different issues.”
Gary Hunt, Sussex Downs College

“I share the information with colleagues, raise awareness and use in planning.”
Sarah Moon, South Downs College

Media & Marketing
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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 offer new, innovative, cost effective approaches.

The meetings

Expert speakers from organisations, who have attended these meetings, include: NotGoingToUni, Enrola,  Itineris, Edge Clever,  Wambiz and Net Natives.

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 Projects Manager at AOSEC.

What delegates have said

“Given myself more of an insight to available marketing strategies and thoughts/concerns of other colleges.”
Polly Dempsey, Bexhill College

“Good opportunity to assess activities and plans in a broader context. Some really useful ideas and discussion.”
Jane Chapman, FCoT

New to Further Education Network
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Overview

This brand new network is designed to support staff new to the Further Education Sector. Whether you are a newly qualified teacher or a senior management team member who has joined from a different sector, this network will give you all the knowledge you need to navigate this complex, ever-changing environment.

The meetings

Each meeting will include sector experts from invited organisations and will cover the FE landscape including sector acronyms, policy changes, key information and organisations and their role.

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

PAs
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Overview

Exclusively for Personal Assistants in colleges, this network aims to update PAs about the current and future changes affecting further education and offer networking opportunities with colleagues from across the region.

The meetings

AoC provide regular updates regarding current policy changes. Topics covered in this network include funding, technologies to assist and support PAs and challenges facing the PA’s role.

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

This network benefits from the experience of two Chairs, Zoe Stafford, Executive Assistant to the Principal and CEO at Hadlow College and Yolande Box, Senior Executive Assistant at Reading College.

What delegates have said

“It helps me not feel so out on my own - that others are in the same boat when I am getting worried or stressed!”
Hannah Wilkes, City of Oxford College

“It has given me a greater understanding of how other colleges work and the changes that are coming.”
David Chatterley, Banbury and Bicester College

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 Citizen Service, Student Minds, STEM4, Loop and AoC Sport.

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

“The information has helped to consider ways the college can support students with mental health concerns.”
Steph Stoker, FCoT

“Great awareness of developments in the FE sector.”
Ben Sims, Activate Learning

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, Druines Limited, as well as specialist CPD training provided by invited facilitators.

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, chairs this network providing valuable advice and guidance in the development of each agenda.

What delegates have said

“Really Useful session on governors recruitment/succession planning.”
Tracy Reeve, BCA

“A number of issues arose from this meeting which I can take back to refresh practice within my college.”
Catherine Vinall, Chichester College