Westminster Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or call +44 (0)1344 864796.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? You can contact our Delegate Relations team at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk or by calling the above number.

Improving support for care leavers - educational progression and employment, coordination, addressing long term challenges, and priorities for policy

Morning, Monday, 24th January 2022

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on policy priorities for care leavers - discussing next steps for the provision of support, strengthening the system, and helping the workforce deliver improved outcomes.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions from David Graham, National Director, Care Leavers Association; Nick Smith-Patel, Head of Education, MyBnk; and Mark Riddell, National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers, Department for Education.

It will be an opportunity to consider the ongoing Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and the outlook following the publication of its interim report, the Case for Change.

Delegates will discuss progress in implementing a joined-up system of support for care leavers as well as how best to enable key agencies to work effectively together, tackle long-term challenges faced by those leaving care, and improve access to future pathways into employment and further study.

Sessions in the agenda include:

  • the impact of the pandemic on care leavers
  • improving coordination across the system:
    • effective multi-agency working
    • policy alignment between national and local government
    • staff support and retention
    • issues related to funding
  • addressing long-term challenges impacting children in care and care leavers - improving educational attainment, addressing mental health concerns, and reducing offending rates
  • assisting care leavers with the transition to employment and independent living
  • support for care leavers:
    • pathways to educational progression and employment
    • access to adequate housing
    • building support networks and facilitating integration into the wider community
  • policy priorities for improving the outlook for care leavers


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for Education; the Government Legal Department; Ofsted; and the Youth Custody Service. Also due to attend are representatives from Brighton and Hove Housing Coalition; Change Grow Live; EmployabilityUK; Gloucestershire County Council; IFF Research; Matrix SCM; Peterborough City Council; Roar Pursuits; TACT Connect; University of Lincoln; and University of Southampton.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from the DfE, Ofsted and other Government departments and agencies, schools, FE colleges and teaching professionals, representatives of trade unions and local government, health representatives, apprenticeship providers, employers, local authority representatives, charities, housing representatives, groups representing parents and care leavers, specialist academics and charities, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials are made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Mark Riddell

National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers, Department for Education

Nick Smith-Patel

Head of Education, MyBnk

Keynote Speakers

David Graham

National Director, Care Leavers Association

Mark Riddell

National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers, Department for Education

Nick Smith-Patel

Head of Education, MyBnk


Baroness Young of Hornsey

Co-Vice-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers


Cllr Neil MacDonald

Portfolio Holder for Housing, Ipswich Borough Council

Dr Dan Hughes

Founder, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

Jennifer Mohammadi

Trustee, Live Unlimited

Councillor Clare Curran

Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Surrey County Council

Julie Bunn

Virtual School Head, NYCC; and Vice Chair, NAVSH

Julie Towers

Managing Director, Penna

Rebekah Pierre

Professional Officer, BASW

Claire Preston

Social Value Manager, Places & Communities, ENGIE UK

Caroline Bald

Student Recruitment Lead, School of Health and Social Care, University of Essex

Jane Collins

Director, Foster Support

Paul Shuttleworth

Professional Officer, BASW

Hannah McCowen

Manager, National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum, Catch 22

Nicola Turner

Policy Adviser, UCAS