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Thursday 22nd February

Does vocational learning have to be separate from a mainstream environment?

We have seen a growing awareness of the need to provide good vocational learning environments and apprenticeships for our students. There have also been initiatives such as Studio Schools and UTCs which offer an alternative to mainstream schools.


Come and joins us as our expert panel discuss:


  • What is the essence of vocational learning?

  • Is there a need to provide this as a separate offering to mainstream learning?

  • Can these spaces be adaptable for changes in learning and demographic?

  • Are we losing the benefit of social interaction between vocational and mainstream learners?

  • What are good examples of integrated and separated vocational learning environments?



Olly Newton
Edge Foundation
Director of Policy and Research
Olly's job is to find out what works in technical, practical and professional learning, both here in the UK and worldwide. He gathers together the facts, figures, research and empirical evidence to share with policy makers, practitioners, and the media. He spent ten years with the Department for Education, most recently as Head of Apprenticeship Strategy.
LinkedIn: Olly Newton
Jonathan Stewart
Surface to Air

Jonathan is an Architect and Director at Surface to Air. He has worked in the education sector for the last 10 years, and has extensive experience designing and delivering inspiring learning spaces.


Recent completed projects include the £13m Academy UTC for Global Radio. The hybrid modular construction delivered a demanding acoustic specification and specialist teaching studios.


Jonathan is currently working on Greatfields £35m all through school in Barking, as well as a re-fit out of Tottenham UTC which was completed by S2A in 2014.


These projects have been shortlisted for various awards, including Building Magazine Education Project of the year, FX Education Interiors and OffSite Awards 2018.

Gareth Long

As a leading education specialist and independent advisor with 30 years experience, Gareth brings a wealth of knowledge and a dynamic approach to many areas of education.  He is involved in a wide range of international and UK projects.  He was a teacher for years, becoming a trouble shooting ‘outstanding’ Headteacher where he very successfully led four secondary schools, three in London and one abroad.


Gareth established ‘the-learning-crowd’ education consultancy ten years ago.  The team now work as senior education advisers for several organisations, (including schools, free schools, international groups, local authorities, architects and major construction companies), advising on a range of significant education building projects across the UK and abroad.


He works extensively with international schools including in this year in Qatar, Bermuda, Egypt and Spain.


Gareth is just one of six Education Planners worldwide recommended by the Qatar Foundation (QF) to support the design of new school projects and just a few weeks ago started supporting the design of their latest flagship school. He is also the only person in the UK to have the USA Accredited Learning Environment Planner (ALEP) status.


Gareth was previously the Senior Strategic Development Advisor (Education) to the Minister of Education of the Cayman Islands.

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