• Date: Tuesday 28 February 2017
  • Time: 09:30 – 16:00
  • Location: The University of Northampton, Park Campus, NN2 7AL
  • Cost: Free of charge, refreshments and lunch included


Never has it been so important to help students from all backgrounds reach their full potential. During this one-day conference for Teachers and Advisors, we will explore how we can work together to help young people overcome real, or perceived, barriers to Higher Education.

With a keynote speech from Jonny Mitchell, the Headteacher made famous by the Educating Yorkshire TV series, who will explore the topic “What are the common challenges of motivating students to achieve, whatever their level of ability, aspiration or background?”

The conference is also an opportunity for delegates to have an exclusive introduction to the Waterside Campus – the future of the University of Northampton. This purpose-built campus is designed to adapt to 21st century Higher Education and will welcome its first cohort of students in the Summer of 2018.

For more information, please contact the team schools.liaison@northampton.ac.uk / 01604 893618.

To register Click here!

The days proceedings are posted below:

9:30 – 10:00

Registration and refreshments

10:00 – 10:05


Deborah Mattock, Director of HR, Marketing & International Relations

10:05 – 10:30

Keynote: The Future of Higher Education: looking forward to 2025

Steve O’Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Society

10:30 – 11:00

Building the campus of the Future: why Learning and Teaching at the University of Northampton is different – an overview of our new Waterside campus, opening September 2018

Dr Rachel Maxwell, Head of Learning and Teaching Development and Nick Allen, Waterside Project team

11:00 – 11:35

Visit to “Waterside Street” – bringing the new campus to life

Refreshments served

11:35 – 12:30

Helping young people overcome barriers to Higher Education: plenary followed by expert panel debate

Dr Drew Gray, Subject Leader in History
Dr Rachel Maxwell, Head of Learning and Teaching Development 
Vicki Dean, Head of Foundation Year Framework
Tim Dobson, Head of HE Schools Engagement
Kate Coulson, Head of Learning Development

12:30 – 1:10


1:10 – 3:30

Breakout sessions: A choice of four of the following:

How STEM becomes STEAM – John Sinclair, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology

Supporting Learners with Non-traditional Qualifications – Nina Antell, Schools and Colleges Liaison and Cindy O’Dell, Senior Lecturer, Nursing

Building Capacity for Recruiting Teachers – the journey from School/College to University to primary teachers – Elaine Batchelor, Head of Initial Teacher Training

Supporting students through Clearing and Adjustment – Steven Hamer, Head of Student Recruitment and Marketing

Update from Student Finance England – Kevin McMullan

Undergraduates’ perceptions and experiences of risk/risks during their transition through to and beyond university – Grace Sykes, Learning Development Tutor


3:30 – 4:00 Closing Keynote: What are the common challenges of motivating students to achieve, whatever their level of ability and aspiration or background?
Jonny Mitchell,  Principal, The Co-operative Academy of Leeds and Head Teacher in Educating Yorkshire
4:00 Closing remarks





Image of Jonny Mitchell

Jonny Mitchell – Principal, The Co-operative Academy of Leeds and Head teacher in Educating Yorkshire

Jonny Mitchell started teaching in 1999, after a brief and unsuccessful stint in Accountancy and a slightly more lengthy and successful one in international legal translation.  His first love is the classroom, where he taught French and German to A-Level and then became Head of Year, a job he absolutely loved.

By 2011, he had secured his first Headship, at Thornhill Community Academy, a school emerging from National Challenge.  Since then, he has been wading through the quagmire of Headship, aiming to improve the school whilst providing a very different values system, which promotes student independence and resilience.  Whilst changing the whole focus of the school, keeping up with the ever-increasing demands of the Ofsted framework, his challenge has been to ensure the school continues to flourish, a challenge which has become more difficult with each day that passes.

He firmly believes in total inclusion for students.  As a result, he walked into his first school as a Head and began the task of revamping the values which underpinned education, scrapping valueless qualifications which he felt were there simply to boost valued-added and defining the expectations required of teachers and support staff in the school.

Five years down the line, he now leads the Cooperative Academy of Leeds, another school with significant challenges to overcome to become Good, in a socio-economically deprived area to the East of Leeds, with one of the lowest APS on entry in the entire country.

Now a year and a half into this new role, he has begun the task of redefining the principles and values of the school, whilst maintaining the relentless drive to improve overall standards.

‘I have never written any books, nor do I have any intention of doing so. My favourite pastimes are eating my children and missing out commas.’ Jonny Mitchell.


Click here to register!