We’re pleased to announce our latest speakers to the Seren 2018: Above and Beyond annual conference taking place on 4-6 December.

Andrea Jones – Head of Undergraduate Studies (Music) and Head of Learning & Teaching, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama – Applying for the Creative Industries

Andrea Jones graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, London in 1996, having completed her violin studies with Howard Davis, Mateja Marinkovic and baroque violin with Simon Standage and Elisabeth Wallfisch. Since then she has enjoyed a varied and busy career as a freelance violinist, working with the majority of British period instrument groups often as section principal, co-leader or leader, with ensembles

such as The King’s Consort, The Gabrieli Consort, The Sixteen, The Academy of Ancient Music, The Hanover Band, The Early Opera Company, The Avison Ensemble, The English Baroque Soloists and The Orchestra Romantique et Revolutionnaire. Andrea has also combined her orchestral and chamber music activities with extensive commercial, recording, TV and film work.

Teaching has always been a significant part of Andrea’s core work and she has more than 25 years’ experience in this area. In 2004, she began working at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama as a teacher and lecturer, undertaking the role of BMus Award leader in 2013. In 2015 Andrea was appointed Head of Learning and Teaching and, as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2016) she is involved with many aspects of support for student experience and staff development. Current interests focus on developing programmes to support student journeys, with a particular interest in self-efficacy, resilience and personal development.

Sam Wenman – Widening Participation Outreach Programmes Manager, University of Bath – Studying in the UK vs Overseas

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I am the Widening Participation Outreach Programmes Manager at the University of Bath where I head up the University Preparation Team. We provide support and expertise to help ensure students

are making informed choices, submitting competitive and appropriate applications, and are in a position to make the most of their time at university.

I have been at the University for 5 years and have led the design and delivery of our programme of outreach activities including On Track to Bath, Widening Participation Summer Schools, Key Stage 4 curriculum support projects, as well as our portfolio of talks and workshops.

Before coming to the University I was Deputy Head of Sixth Form at Chancellor’s school in Hertfordshire where I also taught History. Prior to that I managed language schools in both Japan and Spain. I am a great believer in the transformative power of education and passionate about supporting people to explore their potential and make the most of their opportunities.

Sofya Lyakhova – Programme Leader of the Further Mathematics Support Programme, Wales – Maths and Further Maths


Sofya is the Programme Leader of the Further Mathematics Support Programme Wales. Sofya holds a PhD in pure mathematics from Bristol University and PGCE from Swansea Metropolitan University. Sofya’s early research interests were in the field of partial differential equations. She has led a number of research projects in mathematical education, such as student choice of mathematics post-16, transition from school to university mathematics and blended learning.

She is passionate about more children achieving well in mathematics to allow them to access interesting university courses and well paid jobs. Sofya developed the mathematics outreach programme and is the organiser of the RI Mathematics Master classes in Swansea University. She works with SEREN Hubs on STEP and MAT provision for A-level Mathematics students. Sofya is a Senior HEA Fellow and a member of BSRLM, ATM, MA and MEI.

Sandy Mill – Schools Liaison Officer, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge – Opening Address and Keynote, Thinking about Oxford and Cambridge, University Panel Discussion, University of Cambridge Stand


Sandy Mill is the Schools Liaison Officer for Magdalene College, University of Cambridge. A former secondary school teacher, he has worked extensively with the Seren hubs in North and West Wales for over three years. He is a founding member of the Cambridge Seren Support Group, and has overseen the creation of the Cambridge Seren Ambassadors programme.

Sandy can be found at the University of Cambridge stand, alongside current students to answer any questions that you have about living and studying at the university, as well as the courses they offer.

Michael Waters, Head of the Young Actors Studio, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama – Applying for the Creative Industries: Audition Process for Conservatoire/Drama School

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Michael trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) and over the last twenty years has successfully combined a career as a playwright and theatre director alongside broad range of roles in arts education. Following periods of study in Russia and Asia, Michael co-founded Antic Theatre and has worked on commissions with a broad range of organisations from high profile projects with the BBC, to community driven performances in collaboration with Dyfed Powys Police. He is currently Head of the Young Actors Studio at RWCMD.

Christina Evered – Trainee Solicitor, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP – Getting Career Ready


Christina is a trainee solicitor at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in Cardiff. Before starting her career at Eversheds, Christina studied for her A-Levels at St David’s Catholic College and was awarded for gaining the highest mark in the UK for her A-Level Law exams. Subsequently, she went on to read Law with European Study at the University of Exeter gaining a 2:1 degree. During her time at university, she spent a year studying abroad in Maastricht, the Netherlands, to further her interest in the subject, as well as her interest in travel. The final stage in her education was studying the Legal Practice Course at BPP Law School in Bristol prior to starting her current role with Eversheds. Christina is currently working in the Real Estate Energy department assisting with various large scale renewable energy projects.

Samuel Coles – Customer Solutions, Commercial Banking Graduate, NatWest – Getting Career Ready

samuel coles

I graduated from university of Plymouth in 2017 having completed a degree in Business studies specialising in Sales & Marketing. Alongside which I completed my Certificate in Digital Marketing through the IDM. I worked for a year in a variety of Sales & Marketing roles with a number of high profile names including Google, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard before setting my sights on graduate training schemes with a focus on the UK’s largest industry, financial services. I was fortunate enough to land a place on the graduate scheme with RBS in customer solutions and have been with the NatWest commercial coverage team since September 2018.

David Clarke – Professor, Cardiff University – Modern Foreign Languages

David clarke

David Clarke has been teaching German and European Studies in British universities since 2000. He has a wide range of teaching and research interests in the field of German and European culture, with a particular focus on memory and heritage. The masterclass will look at the many options available for students interested in taking a modern languages degree, before focusing on a key issue for research and teaching in modern languages today: how different societies come to terms with difficult pasts.

More speakers to be announced soon…
Seren 2018: Above and Beyond Speakers – Professionals’ Programme:
Ian Dickson, Mamta Arnott, Sarah Lewis – Estyn – MAT Policy Update

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Estyn’s mission is to achieve excellence for all learners in Wales by providing independent, high-quality inspection and advice services. Our vision is to be recognised through the expertise of our staff as an authoritative voice on education and training in Wales. We are responsible for inspecting the following education providers;

• Nursery schools and settings that are maintained by, or receive funding from, local authorities

• Primary schools

• Secondary schools

• Special schools

• Pupil referral units

• Independent schools

• Further education

• Independent specialist colleges

• Adult community learning

• Local authority education services for children and young people

• Regional education consortia

• Teacher education and training

• Welsh for adults

• Work-based learning

• Learning in the justice sector

Estyn also provides advice to the Welsh Government on quality and standards in education and training in Wales and publicises good practice based on inspection evidence.

Paul Martin – Project Manager, Advancing Access – Enriching MAT Learners

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Paul is the Project Manager for Advancing Access, an initiative of the 24 Russell Group universities. Advancing Access provides CPD for teachers and advisers through a combination of online resources, online events and regional conferences. Paul is also studying for a PhD in Education at the University of Warwick and his research is focusing on Widening Participation in Higher Education.

Ross Guy – Schools Liaison Manager, Durham University – University Panel Discussion

ross guy

After finishing university I joined the military to give me a chance to see the world. After five years as a weapons specialist I left and worked as a PE and maths teacher in a secondary school in Newcastle. I enjoyed this a lot, as was quickly made Head of PE and was part of the school’s leadership team. After ten years of teaching I became disillusioned with the direction of Secondary Education, so I decided to move into Higher Education with Durham University. I now travel around the UK, talking to students about university, and helping them with their applications.

Outside of work I spend my time playing and coaching rugby, and playing the drums in a 80s cover band. As can be seen from my colourful career, I tend to get quite restless, so who knows what I’ll be doing in a few years’ time…

More speakers to be announced soon…

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