Widening Participation in Education Conference: Improving access to HE
“There are more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education than ever before. While this is extremely welcome, there is much more to be done to ensure that someone born in a disadvantaged area is as likely to enter higher education as someone born in an advantaged area.” – Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education
A higher proportion of free-school meal pupils entered higher education in 2015/16 than in previous academic years. Despite this positive step, the gap between the percentage of state school and privately educated pupils entering HE has remained constant over the last five years. Disabled students, those from ethnic minority communities and mature students are also underrepresented at the most elite universities.
Critics of Government policy have pointed to higher tuition fees and the scrapping of maintenance grants as major barriers to widening participation. In light of these issues, the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 sets out plans for a new “Office for Students” which will “promote equality of opportunity in connection with access to and participation in higher education”.
Join us for the Widening Participation in Education Conference where our expert speakers will share recent success stories and discuss the challenges ahead.
Please register interest below and we will keep you updated
Topics covered on the day will include:
- What does last year’s data tell us about the current state of access to higher education?
- What are the existing strategies for widening participation and what are the strengths and weaknesses?
- How can universities support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and invest in services for those at risk of falling behind?
- Could the FE sector play an enhanced role in preparing students for higher education?
- What skills do FE staff need to help students make informed choices about university?
- How can we use data to identify those students who are less likely to apply for university?
- How can the HE sector diversify their offer to provide more vocational courses?
- Does introducing younger pupils to the idea of attending university have a positive impact on participation?
- What are the barriers preventing students from pursuing post-graduate study and how can these be overcome?
- Hear from leading experts in widening participation.
- Network with delegates from across the FE and HE and discuss potential solution to shared challenges.
- Learn proven techniques for widening participation and gain the essential skills to help students stay in higher education.
- Analyse case studies and learn from examples of successful participation initiatives.
- Understand the barriers preventing disadvantaged groups from attending university and how they can be overcome.
Registration, Refreshments and Exhibition
Opening Remarks from Chair
Sam Kalubowila, Head, Greater Manchester Higher (CONFIRMED)
Encouraging pupil’s to continue on their educational journey into higher education
Alex Bairstow, Interim Partnership Manager, The Higher Education Participation Partnership (Sheffield) (CONFIRMED)
Question and Answer session
Refreshments and Networking Break
Tammy Goldfeld, Head of the Careers Service, University of Manchester (CONFIRMED)
Anna Jenner, Student Recruitment Manager, Student Recruitment Team, Newcastle University (CONFIRMED)
Newcastle University's approach to supporting WP students on a national scale and why this is important
Andreas Michael, Outreach Manager, Student Recruitment and Outreach, Aston University (CONFIRMED)
Case Study: The journey the university has gone on to widen participation and access to HE
Lunch & Exhibition Viewing
Dr Daniel Vasey, STEM Participation Specialist (CONFIRMED)
Mathematical certainties: giving young people the confidence to study at the highest level
Debbi Stanistreet, Senior Lecturer, Faculty Director of Widening Participation, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool (CONFIRMED)
“I wanted to prove everyone wrong". A qualitative exploration of non-traditional students' journeys into an elite university
Refreshments & Comfort Break
Chris Bayes, Collaborative Network Manager, University of Liverpool and Member of the Executive Board, National Educational Opportunities Network (CONFIRMED)
Closing Remarks from Chair
(please note, the programme is subject to change without notice)
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- Hear the latest policy on widening participation and why in the current climate universities still need to engage with schools and colleges in underperforming areas and enable them a pathway to higher education
- Gain insight into the role of advanced vocational education in increasing access and providing progression routes into further study
- Examine the importance of networks in widening participation and develop strategies for continuing collaborative working after the end of the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO)
- Develop effective methods for measuring the impact of outreach work and promoting an evidence-based approach
- Analyse strategies for engaging with mature students and post-graduates to designing flexible courses to meet their needs
- Continuing to engage those students throughout their educational journey and ensure they aren’t at risk from dropping out
Who should attend?
Delegates who will have an interest in this event will include chancellors and vice chancellors, admissions officers, equality and diversity officers, widening participation managers, business development managers, heads of strategy development, directors and managers of enterprise and business development and will be drawn from further education colleges, international universities, UK universities, funding and research councils.