Session Title
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Mary Curnock Cook OBE, Chair of Trustees, The Access Project (invited)

  • Assessing how the Office for Students measures the success of access and participation programmes in higher education
  • Exploring the Office for Students’ ambitious targets to eliminate equality gaps in entry within the next 20 years
  • Analysing what constitutes an effective access and participation plan in line with OfS guidance
  • Sharing the outcomes from the evaluation report of the first two years of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP)
  • Evaluating the expansion of NCOP in 2020 to tackling the gaps in access for underrepresented groups and low participation areas

Elizabeth Garnham, Access and Participation Plan Manager, Directorate for Fair Access and Participation, Office for Students (OfS) (CONFIRMED)

  • Outlining the key outcomes from State of the Nation 2018 -2019 and mapping out the core challenges for advancing social mobility within higher education
  • Highlighting ongoing obstacles of regional disparities, barriers to elite institutions and retention challenges for underrepresented students
  • Exploring the impact of over £1.38 billion in outreach and support funding across the sector and how the new OfS access gap targets will impact social mobility planning
  • Evaluating how the admissions systems and access to financial support can be further enhanced to reduce barriers to entry and improve inclusivity

Sasha Morgan, Youth and Higher Education Lead, Social Mobility Commission (CONFIRMED)

  • Assessing the next steps in designing student support services and curricula which ensure engagement and progression for disadvantaged students
  • Exploring the key challenges faced by disadvantaged students on entry and how student services can collaborate to support retention
  • Integrating inclusivity and the principles of social mobility within course design and teaching delivery

Yvonne Hawkins, Chief Executive, Advance HE (invited)

  • Assessing the proposals emerging from the new HEPI Report Social Mobility and Elite Universities (December 2019)
  • Evaluating the key barriers leading to reduced uptake for underrepresented groups within elite universities
  • Sharing proposed solutions including expanding student numbers, introducing contextual offers and using random allocation for places above a certain grade threshold
  • Analysing the prospect of a social mobility audit in universities to act alongside the delivery of Access and Participation Plans within institutions

Professor Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility, University of Exeter and Author of HEPI Report, Social mobility and Elite Universities (CONFIRMED)

  • Developing robust monitoring and evaluation processes to identify and target groups with low participation in the admissions process
  • Designing an intensive multi-intervention strategy for pupils from Year 8 onwards and harnessing insights from the projects to inform outreach activities
  • Forming bespoke school partnerships aimed at raising attainment in the classroom for disadvantaged pupils
  • Reviewing the offers process for underrepresented groups and conducting research into contextual offer making
  • Exploring the journey of disadvantage students towards entry and assessing how barrier to admission can be removed

Dimple Wedgewood, Deputy Head of Widening Participation, London School of Economics and Political Science (invited)

  • Assessing what constitutes effective access and participation planning and how the sector can work to improve outcomes from their programmes
  • Designing and implementing evidence-based and high impact outreach and engagement projects
  • Exploring the next steps in supporting all students to overcome the financial, academic and cultural barriers to entering higher education

Stephanie Lee, Head of Widening Participation and Outreach, University of Manchester (invited)
Tom Levinson, Head of Widening Participation and Regional Collaboration, University of Cambridge (invited)
Paul Blagburn, Head of Widening Participation, University of Warwick (invited)
Krisha Bainham, Head of Widening Access, University of Derby (CONFIRMED)

  • Developing a sustained outreach programme to widen participation through student mentoring services, application support programmes, guidance services and targeted transition activities for new students
  • Broadening access through a progression scheme for disadvantaged students supporting entry for those with lower grades
  • Forming a multi-agency partnership with local authorities, schools and key stakeholders to train frontline professionals supporting disadvantaged young people
  • Building outreach into the new Access and Participation Plan to expand on existing success with 50% of students from deprived areas and 70% of students from BAME backgrounds

University of the Year for Social Inclusion 2020, Times Higher Education

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford (invited)

  • Developing an evidence base through an intensive research programme with the Behavioural Insights Team to support best practice in driving social mobility on higher education courses
  • Designing a sector-leading student dashboard allowing the monitoring of student engagement to support interventions for students with low attendance and low usage of core facilities
  • Transforming the learning environment with the SCALE-UP programme designed to move from traditional teaching models to collaborative learning pedagogies aimed at enhancing engagement and reducing progression gaps
  • Developing the Centre for Student and Community Engagement which supports evidence-based programmes to improve attainment and help students develop social and cultural capital succeed at university

University of the Year – UK Social Mobility Awards 2019
University of the Year – The Guardian University Awards 2019

David Wooley, Director of Student and Community Engagement, Nottingham Trent University (CONFIRMED)

  • Designing an accredited learning module for A level students from hard to reach groups and low participation areas
  • Utilising contextual offer making for students that have participated in the university’s A level support programme
  • Developing teaching and learning support to assist disadvantaged students prepare for their exams and gain the necessary skills to succeed on entry into higher education
  • Working in collaboration with schools and colleges to develop a targeted programme focussed on supporting a pipeline of under-represented students into entry

Louise Buckingham, Academic Team Manager, Centre for Learning and Study Support, De Montfort University (invited)

*Programme subject to change

Contact Us

Widening Participation Conference 2020

Tel: 0203 770 6580


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