Geoff Barton’s Vision for ASCL
About Geoff…

Geoff studied English and Linguistics at the University of Lancaster, then trained to teach at Leicester University. From 2002 to 2017 he was headteacher of King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, a comprehensive school of 1650 students.

He is a Founding Fellow of the English Association and writes for a range of newspapers and journals. He has worked with various organisations, including the Department for Education, on leadership and literacy.

Geoff was a longstanding member of ASCL Council, former chair of its Pedagogy Committee, is Patron of the English and Media Centre, and a ‘Leading Thinker’ for the National Education Trust. He became General Secretary of ASCL in April 2017.

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Our aim is to make this event as smooth as possible for all delegates and speakers. Please make a careful note of the information in the tabs below, and, after reading – please do get in touch with any issues or questions at [email protected]

8am – open for exhibition and refreshments

9am – first content starts

Edmunds Restaurant bar will be open after the event should you wish to stay and network

[Food: from 10am to to 3.30pm]

Transport and Parking

There are approximately 350 usable parking spaces in total on the college grounds, and with this in mind – we are kindly asking all delegates and speakers take note of the following:

  • We will reserve enough spaces for speakers who are from further afield or unfamiliar to the area. If you are able to park off site, come by taxi or train, please do as it will help you get in and out of the venue more quickly, and it will also help with congestion.
  • Please contact [email protected] if you need to reserve a parking space
  • The venue will be open on Sunday 15 April between 10am and 4pm if you wish to familiarise yourself

Workshop rooms and Keynote spaces

The College layout is such that there are a large number of rooms with a 30 fire-reg capacity. So, it means that we have some stellar speakers in small spaces – perhaps smaller than many are used to and a little unusual; but this we believe will add to the focus, interactivity and intimacy of the festival and add a uniqueness not experienced at other festivals of this style. A big thanks to all speakers for embracing this ethos, for the first ever festival of its kind in the Eastern Region.

Note: there may be times when a speaker’s venue changes on the day. This will be very rare and avoided wherever possible – although it has been known, and is usually due to a health and safety or technical factor.

Room layout and technical aspects

  • Please bring your own clicker / slide-advancer if you wish to use one
  • If you wish to plug your own laptop in, there is a spare VGA cable but you will need to use your own VGA to HDMI Connector if your laptop has digital connections
  • All spaces will be set up with a theatre style layout of chairs
  • All workshop rooms (smaller rooms) will be equipped with a networked computer, projector / whiteboard and sound
  • You will have access to wired ethernet networked internet so speed and bandwidth should be good. However, we advise you not to rely on the internet for your presentation
  • Bring presentations on a USB drive. You can email a clearly marked copy for storage on our Google Drive by emailing it to: [email protected] FAO Sharon Cain
  • If there are any website links that you think may be blocked by the college safeguarding / security firewall, please be sure to email these to [email protected] in advance as it is unlikely that they can be unblocked on the day
  • There will be no tables in the rooms (in most cases)
  • Standing room in Workshops will not be encouraged due to fire regulations. However, if standing room is allowed, you will be asked if you are happy with this on the day
  • There will be no microphones or amplifications in workshop spaces

Keynote (larger) spaces

As above, except:

  • Internet may be WiFi rather than ethernet, so bandwidth may be lower and the connection may be generally less stable and slower. It is usually still quite strong
  • We will provide a laptop for larger keynote spaces which will be already connected to the projector. However, if you would like to bring your own laptop and connectors, please do as there are sometimes issues with browser / mac to PC / corruption of files when transferred from device to device. Please note though that you will need to bring the correct projector connector for your computer. Please come along early or where there is a gap where no one is speaking to check on connectivity
  • In some keynote locations you will be provided with an optional microphone. This may be a clothes-clip microphone, but please also be prepared for it to be a handheld microphone
  • You will be informed if you will be speaking in a keynote area rather than a workshop area

Login details for College computers

  • You will be able to log on to the College computer with a designated login code (provided in the room on the day) and you will be able to log into Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox as a minimum via internet browsers.
  • There will be no opportunity to download software onto hard drives of college computers.


  • Please bring your presentation on a USB Drive and upload to the cloud (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive etc.) so you can access it via a browser if your USB does not work or becomes corrupted. You will not be able to download native software that syncs with cloud.
  • We will not be producing hard copies of the presentation but if you would like to do that, please do

Food and refreshments

Exhibitors, speakers and sponsors are not expected to pay for lunch, and tea, coffee and water is also free of charge. Please collect a token (which you will retain for the day) from the info point in the main registration area (just say who you are / why you’re there and one of the staff will tick you off the list)

Session Timings

We kindly ask all speakers to keep to time. Even though there be nothing in the room after you for a while, it may be that delegates need to leave to access another session.

Timings have been staggered to give people the best possible opportunity to access as wide a variety of sessions as possible.

Room managers may give a discreet 5 minute warning (they will have been asked to do this – they are not being rude 🙂

Sessions have been loosely categorized as follows, but you are free to use the time and space how you see best:

  • Workshops are 50 minutes within a one hour capsule
  • Keynotes are 50 minutes within a one hour capsule
  • Lightning talks are ‘TED style talks’. They are 25 minutes plus Q/A in a 40 or 45 minute capsule
  • Panels are 50 minutes within a one hour capsule

Introductions and wrap-ups

  • Speakers can introduce themselves to delegates, and there will be a list of sponsors who speakers can optionally acknowledge / thank as part of their introduction. Where speakers decide not to do this, a room manager, guest or workshop partner may make an announcement, thanking sponsors
  • Screens will need to display the official splash screens with sponsor information on prior to the session / as people are getting settled (this will be managed by the room manager)
  • Speakers can liaise with room managers over how they would like to introduce themselves or be introduced
  • Not all workshop areas will have a designated room manager. Please let a room or floor manager know if you will need dedicated support throughout, by speaking to them on arrival at the workshop, and please try to get there as early as you can

Liaison with delegates after a session

  • There will be an inevitable short time period when speakers and delegates are packing up at the end and engaging in further one-to-one conversation. This is completely fine – although we ask all delegates and speakers to be mindful of sessions that will follow
  • Room managers will be briefed to politely ask delegates and speakers to move from the rooms if they need to set up for the next session
  • Speakers and delegates can continue uninterrupted conversation by moving to one of the many social areas and open spaces.

Room configuration

All rooms will be in theatre style layout. Speakers can move chairs as they need.

Internet access – ‘managing expectations’

  • Workshop rooms are equipped with whiteboards and computers with hard-wired internet access (rather than Wi-Fi) so internet access should be reasonably fast and stable for speakers. West Suffolk College is used to having thousands of students on site, with lecturers accessing internet from many rooms simultaneously. However, please be prepared to adapt in the unlikely event of an outage, and also, please be aware that if you decide to use WiFi for any reason, the download speeds can vary greatly depending on how many people are using WiFi in specific areas.
  • We ask ALL delegates and speakers only to browse using college WiFi, rather than upload and download files (e.g. photos / videos). Upload / download of files via WiFi – when replicated many times across high numbers of people will seriously damage internet speeds and reduce browsing experiences and app use for all. If you are connected to a network point via a cable, there should be no such issues of download / uploading of files.
  • Wired ethernet (on workshop room computers) have no restrictions, other than firewall – where we ask you to be mindful of links that may need unblocking and for you to submit those in advance FAO Sharon Cain at [email protected]

Health and Safety

  • Fire exits are well-signed, and the Fire Assembly Point is on the Quad (green space in the centre of the college surrounded by buildings (adjacent to Leonardo’s and Australia House)
  • Toilets are well signposted in each building
  • Disability access is available throughout the building, with lifts to many areas of the college
  • Disability parking can be booked via the college by emailing Sharon Cain – [email protected] (no other parking can be pre-booked in this way)

Special Access

  • If you require special access or an adapted approach, please contact Sharon Cain at [email protected] to discuss options.