Gearing up for the Oldham Learning Festival showpiece

Date published: 04 June 2018

The venue is booked, the line-up confirmed and tickets are now available for you to book places at the first ever Oldham Learning Festival.

The festival – organised by Oldham Council in partnership with the Oldham Education Partnership and the Opportunities Area - runs from Monday, June 25 to Friday, July 6.

A packed programme will highlight the excellent work being done around education in the borough, inspire people and help move learning forward.

The event is for everyone and the themes will focus around leadership, social mobility, reducing disadvantage, supporting mental health and wellbeing for all and STEM (Inspiring and encouraging the scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians of the future which is a key focus of the second week).

There are a limited number of tickets available for each event.

All events are free and are on a first come, first served basis – so book yours before they’re gone.

There will be a range of talks, keynote speeches, workshops and demonstrations, with more than 70 fringe events and 50 exhibitions being held across various venues in Oldham.

The four main events with each take place in the Queen Elizabeth Hall from 8.30am on Monday 25 June to Thursday, June 28.

Councillor Paul Jacques, Cabinet Member for Education and Culture, said: “We’re delighted we’ve been able to put this line-up together as there’s something for everyone.

“The events and presentations will give residents and visitors the chance to learn something new and find out about the valuable work going on in the fields of education, mental health, wellbeing and leadership.

“With such a wide range of presenters and topics covered we hope it will spark a debate around children and young people succeeding in life, learning as a whole and inspire people to think differently.

“It’s more than just a festival in our eyes, it’s also about making sure the children and young people of Oldham have the best start in life.

 “It’s going to be a busy week and we hope as many people as possible join in and learn something new.”

Here is the line-up.

Monday, June 25 – Leadership at All Levels – hosted by Floyd Woodrow MBE, CEO Chrysalis Worldwide and Professional Coach. Floyd, a previous military leader, director, non-executive director, consultant and negotiator, will be hosting a full day’s session around leadership and the ‘Compass for Life Model’, 8.30am-3.30pm.

For those who can’t attend the daytime, don’t worry, Floyd will be hosting a ‘Twilight Session’, 4.40-6.15pm, where he’ll give an overview of the ‘Compass for Life Model’.

Tuesday, June 26 – Social Mobility and Disadvantage – will include a range of speakers across the day including Graeme Logan, Deputy Director, Scottish Government; Alex Quigley, Director of Huntington Research School; Emran Mian, Director of Strategy and Social Mobility, Department of Education; and Professor Graham Donaldson (pictured below), Advisor to the Welsh Government on Curriculum Change.

Alex Quigley will also be hosting a twilight session for people who can’t attend her daytime session, 4.45pm-6.15pm.

Wednesday, June 27 – Inspirational Leadership and the Curriculum – will be another packed day of special guest and speakers.

The line-up includes Dame Alison Peacock, CEO Chartered College of Teaching; Gavin Oates, CEO Tree of Knowledge; Helen O’Neill, Her Majesty’s Inspector; Lucinda Roberts-Holmes, Director STEPtoday; and Professor Geraint Jones, Dean of Education, Buckingham University and STEP Advisory Group.

The man who has won just about every honour in rugby league while captain of England and Leeds Rhinos, OIdham’s very own Kevin Sinfield MBE, will also be around on Wednesday to deliver a talk about the STEP today programme.

Kevin Sinfield, Lucinda Roberts-Holmes and Professor Geraint Jones will also be hosting a twilight session, 4.30-6pm, where they’ll recap on their day session.

The final day of the main events, Thursday, June 28, will focus on health, wellbeing and neuroscience, with a range of academics, doctors and professors delivering talks throughout the day.

Enjoy inspiring and insightful talks from Dr Andrew Curran, Paediatric Neurologist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital; Deborah Page, Principal Educational Psychologist, Derbyshire County Council; Peter Kinderman, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Sheffield; and Tom Billington, Director of Educational Psychology, University of Sheffield.

Peter Kinderman and Tom Billington will be hosting a twilight session, 4.40-6pm, for those who missed the day session. 

On Friday, June 29, 9am-3pm, pupils from selected schools in Oldham will take part in a Go 4 Set Celebration at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Over the course of the year students have been working on a concept of how to have a positive effect on key subjects that might affect their school, for example, ‘Water and Your School’. The children will be pitching their ideas to the assessors throughout the day – let the competition begin.

Members of the public are invited to browse the finished projects and help choose a winner, 1-2pm.

From Monday, July 2 to Thursday, July 5, pupils from across Oldham will be taking part in the first ever Oldham STEMfest, discovering careers and opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and maths sectors.

On Monday, July 2, Oldham’s pupils will be taking part in a celebration event as part of a year-long project they’ve been involved in.

Throughout the year mentors from the STEM world have been working with 30 teams made up of Oldham’s pupils to help them complete a special project of designing cars. They’ll be showing off their shoebox and battery powered cars.

On Tuesday, July 3 you are invited to an open exhibition at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. School children were asked one burning question “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”

Pupils then identified an issue and invented an engineered solution to that problem.

Go and see their incredible work from 9.30am – 4.30pm.

The Make it Challenge will be the final main event for Oldham STEMfest 2018, taking place on Thursday, July 5.

Up to 10 teams from across the borough will be set the task of setting up their own manufacturing business and competing to create a new product.

The team then pitch their ideas and will be judged on design brief, successful completion of the key tasks and their enterprising skills/qualities.

Council officials are still encouraging local organisations and businesses to get involved and share their fringe events and exhibition stands to further benefit the programme, details of which will be revealed soon.

Your event or stall could be focused around anything that involves learning - including programmes, courses, workshops, learning, tours experiences or talks.

To tell the Council about your event or exhibition plans please visit: and fill in the online form.

The limited tickets are free and early booking is recommended for all the events.

To book your tickets, just visit:

The Queen Elizabeth Hall is just a short walk from King Street tram stop and Oldham bus station.

To see a list of public transport services visit: and go to ‘Journey Planner’.

For a list of town centre car parks, visit:

Join the conversation by searching #OLF18 or follow us on twitter @OldhamLearnFest.