The National Co-ordination Team for Widening Participation and Access to Higher Education



Don’t miss the important messages, key advice and guidance from the Director and the Assistant Director of the Office for Fair Access, for completing access agreements given at our February ‘Developing your Access Agreements’ conference; and ten very diverse workshop presentations celebrating underpinning practice


See the report on our third annual Access to HE Summit which took place on 3 December:    HERE

Also see, following the third annual Access to HE Summit, two companion papers – “The emerging access agenda. Access and Participation in UK HE”, and “Results of a survey of access and widening participation (WP) practitioners and practitioner managers on the emerging access agenda” – giving two different, rich perspectives on the emerging access and WP agenda at a point of shift.


Fourth Annual Access to HE Summit, Thursday 27 November 2014, please put the date into your diaries


WP Events for your diaries

28-29 April 2014: CRAC annual ‘Decisions at 18’ conference, Manchester.

This largest dedicated conference in the UK for those who advise on post-18 (school-leaver) options. Running for over 45 years, the conference is well-established as an invaluable event where careers practitioners from the 14-19 sector and others engage in constructive discussion and effective knowledge-sharing. There is an exhibition running on day one of the conference and a number of workshop sessions on a variety of topics. Further information:

28th April – 1st May 2014: Paulo Freire and Transformative Education: Changing Lives and Transforming Communities: An International four day Conference at Preston

Keynotes: Professor Ana Maria (Nita) Freire, with Professor Mohammad Nizamuddin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gujrat, Pakistan and Professor Tim Ireland of The Federal University of Paraíba (UFPb), João Pessoa, Brazil.

The conference will explore segregated communities, mobility, border crossing, and associated pedagogies, the emphasis being on impact and transformation. Call for papers as described above in the What’s Wanted section in this eBulletin. For further details about the conference, visit:

29-30 April 2014:

The Association of Business Schools 3rd Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham

This conference provides a forum for those involved in business education to exchange excellence and discuss issues in teaching practice and pedagogic research. At its core it asks what we are trying to instil in students, not just understanding and knowledge but skills and attitude to apply that knowledge.

Innovation in the student experience is essential for the sustainability and success of business schools. Students are demanding it, technology is disrupting but providing opportunities. This conference will showcase the best innovation in adapting to the new challenges and bring you up to date with development, ideas and essential insights that you can take back and apply with colleagues.

Parts of this conference will be filmed and broadcast as a mini MOOC – mass open online conference, and will create a legacy of material for delegates to use. Further information:

30 April 2014: UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS TEACHERS’ AND ADVISORS’ CONFERENCES 2014, the Strand Palace London, and a second date

14 May 2014: UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS TEACHERS’ AND ADVISORS’ CONFERENCES 2014, University House, University of Leeds

These free conferences designed to provide those working in the post-16 sector with an update on developments at the University and key issues affecting students applying to higher education.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with academics, admissions tutors and widening participation/outreach staff. The conferences will include sessions covering: Preparing students for interview; identifying and supporting gifted and talented learners; personal statements and academic references; Access to Leeds – the University’s alternative admissions scheme; specialist admissions workshops covering some of the University’s most competitive courses including Dentistry, Design and Law.

Tim Leslie, Director of Strategic Reform, Ofqual will provide delegates with an update from the regulator’s perspective on the latest work around A Level reform. The event is for Careers/Higher Education Advisors, Heads of Sixth Form, Sixth Form/FE Tutors. Further information:

30th April 2014: Better Skills, Better Careers: Reforming the Apprenticeships System, Central London

In response to a consultation on the Richard Review, the ‘Future of Apprenticeships in England: Implementation Plan (October 2013)’ set out how apprenticeships will be developed, undertaken and assessed in the future, and the process by which the new approach will be implemented. This symposium provides an invaluable opportunity to gain an understanding of the apprenticeship reforms as they are implemented and how young people can be supported into work whilst promoting a culture of work-based learning. Further information:



30th April 2014: Linking London: Applying to Competitive Higher Education Courses – Supporting Students to make informed choices and effective applications to Nursing and Midwifery and related Healthcare Subjects, Birkbeck, University of London

This event will focus on how to support applicants to make informed choices and effective applications to increase their chances of securing a place. It will also provide an opportunity to find out more about related health care professions and alternative undergraduate programmes that learners may not have been aware of or considered. Attendees will help identify key issues and share good practice in the network and how Linking London and its partners can work collaboratively to address these issues going forward. Events are free to members of Linking London. For non-members there is a fee of £95 to cover event costs. To book a place or if you have any queries please email or call 0207380 3226.

30th April/1st May 2014: Widening Participation through Curriculum, Open University Widening Participation Conference 2014, Milton Keynes

This conference poses a range of questions for our global colleagues: What new models of partnership and curriculum delivery are addressing social inequality and what evidence is there of impact? Can we revisit curriculum theory to look afresh at redressing differential success rates for different groups in society? What is the impact of curriculum reform in higher education institutions and what lessons can be learned? How are students being engaged creatively in the process of improving the student experience of higher education for all students?

This conference will present research addressing a number of key themes about curriculum, including: Innovation in Design and Pedagogy; Impact of Curriculum Reform; Curriculum Openness; Flexibility and Modes of Delivery; Measuring and Demonstrating Impact; Revisiting Theory. Confirmed keynote speakers: John Storan, Gill Crozier, Kelly Coate, Stephanie Marshall, and Belinda Tynan. Further information:

6 May 2013: Competition in the Higher Education Market, London

Delegates at this Westminster HE Forum seminar will examine competition in the Higher Education market in England including the regulatory and funding frameworks under which providers operate.

Overall, topics for discussion include: the extent to which universities are currently able to compete effectively for students and fees; the impact of removing student number controls and the ways in which universities and other HE providers can meet the expected demand for places; whether the current admissions system and level of publicly available information allows students to make well informed choices; how well universities respond to students’ increased expectations and perceived value for money; and increasing diversity of the HE market through expanding ‘HE in FE’ and alternative providers as well as increasingly opening the market to new entrants. Further info0rmation:

07 May 2014: National Mentoring Consortium 20th Annual Awards Ceremony, Prince Philip House, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5DG
(Please note free admission but invited guests only). The National Mentoring Consortium (NMC) is staging its 20th Annual Awards Ceremony in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering. In partnering with the NMC, the Academy aims to bring an engineering flavour to the Awards, and provide employers and others with insight into the work of an organisation which aims to enhance the employability of Black and Asian graduates. (The NMC was founded in 1994 and since then its membership has grown to include over 250 employers and 20 universities across the UK: the NMC is based at the University of East London and aims to: promote equality and diversity in graduate recruitment of BME graduates; enhance the employability of ethnic minority graduates; and assist employers with the implementation of diversity and equal opportunities policy.) Further information:

8th May 2014: Qualifications, Apprenticeships and training for young people in Northern Ireland – next steps for policy, Central Belfast

The conference focuses specifically on issues in Northern Ireland, the future shape of Northern Ireland’s qualifications, youth training and Apprenticeships systems and takes place as the Department of Education considers its final response to the CCEA Review of GCSEs and A-Levels which called for a wider 14-19 Strategy, and also follows the recent publication of the Review of Apprenticeships interim report. Further information:

8 May 2014: SEND reform: implementation, support and widening provision, Westminster Education Forum Keynote Seminar, central London

This timely seminar will focus on a series of reforms to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision in England set out in the Children and Families Bill 2013, including the announcement of the new SEN reform grant to support local councils ahead of planned implementation in September 2014. Delegates will discuss the implications for education, health, and social care providers regarding the decision to replace the ‘statements’ system with new integrated Education, Health and Care Plans. Further information:

14 May 2014: University of Huddersfield Teachers’ and Advisers’ Conference, ‘Educating England’

This free national event is aimed at those staff involved in advising and guiding students who are preparing to apply for and enter Higher Education. Delegates will be able to gain updates on key issues, network with colleagues, discover how we can help you prepare students for HE and much more.

Speakers include Jonny Mitchell, Head of Thornhill Academy (featured on the Channel 4 show Educating Yorkshire); Margaret Farragher from UCAS; Professor Christine Jarvis, Dean of the School of Education and Professional Development and Professor Peter Slee, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield. Further information:

16 May 2014: Preparing Research Proposals, London. SRHE Network – Newer Researchers Personal Development Programme
This workshop will, through active engagement of all participants, introduce delegates to the skills required to write a good proposal and provide expert guidance on researching funding applications. Learn how to put together a good research proposal and identify the funding opportunities with the best potential for success. Further information:

22 May 2014: Widening Access and Student success: Developing a collaborative whole-life cycle system, London

This conference provides a panel of leading policy experts and practitioners with the opportunity to discuss topics including: new initiatives aimed at widening access through a genuinely collaborative, whole-life cycle approach, actions your organisation will need to take in order to successfully implement the reforms, and the Government’s vision.

Further information:

9 – 11 June 2014: European First Year Experience (EFYE) 2014 Conference

With increasing opportunities to study around the world, how do we build a first year experience to suit students studying beyond the borders of their countries? Organised by the European First Year Experience Network and the National Resource Centre for First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina, the conference will cover: How to prepare students for their new lives at university: How to best deliver new students’ inductions; How to help students to make the transition through the year; How to prepare students for subsequent studies. Further information:

10 June 2014 London, 25 June 2014 Leeds: Delivering SEN Reform: Implementing the New Code of Practice

The new SEN code of practice has now been published. In what amounts to the most significant reform of SEN in a generation, there are significant challenges and uncertainty as schools and local authorities prepare for September. By attending this Westminster Briefing you will address the practical questions of implementation including: managing changes, adapting to reform and implementing the new code. Further information:

12 June 2104: Improving outcomes for young care leavers, London

The Care Leaver Strategy (October 2013) is a cross-government strategy that sets out the steps the Government is taking – from housing to health services, from the justice system to educational institutions – to support care leavers to live independently once they have left their placement. Around 10,000 young people aged 16-18 leave care in England each year. See information on the strategy:

This special symposium offers an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, children’s services, social/health services and other key stakeholders to discuss the Government’s latest policy initiatives and analyse their potential impact on young people leaving care. The symposium will examine how support can be better provided to care leavers in order to maximise their educational attainment and employment opportunities.
A 20% early registration discount off the standard delegate rates is available for all bookings received by 4th April 2014. Further information:

16-20 June: Adult Learners’ Week

Adult Learners’ Week award nominations are now closed with over 1,400 nominations. After a rigorous short-listing process, national and regional selection panels will take place during March and April, and award winners will be announced in June. Further information:

25 June 2014: Aimhigher (West Midlands) Awards
Aimhigher’s Annual Awards are a perfect way to recognise and celebrate the difference our undergraduate mentors can make to the young people they support.  Awards include the Key Stage 3, 4 and Post-16 Learners of the Year and the Aimhigher Mentor of the Year, and will be presented to the winners at Aston University. All nominees, runners-up and winners will receive certificates and high-street vouchers, but more importantly the opportunity to have their achievements and commitment recognised. Further information:

26 – 27 June, 2014:  NADP Annual Conference 2014, Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth.

The Theme for the conference is ‘Managing complexity in disability support’. Complexity is evident in all our work: within our student profile; in the worlds of further and higher education; and in our increasingly interconnected, international, consumer/student environment.

This conference will provide delegates with time and space to think about disability service provision for an increasingly complex disabled student population. We will also consider disability support provision in a complicated and changing environment against a backdrop of new, exciting but sometimes challenging assistive and communication technologies whilst considering a global student body and rising expectations in a new fee environment. Further information:

1 July 2014: Next steps for HE access, retention and student outcomes – implementing the National Strategy, London

An exciting panel of speakers in this conference where delegates will discuss practical steps for Government, universities and others, including; widening participation of under-represented groups in Higher Education; improving retention rates of these groups of students; student numbers control; student retention; and helping all students to achieve success in terms of academic achievement and progression into employment or postgraduate study. Further information:

2-3 July 2014: ‘Preparing for learning futures: the next ten years’, the HEA’s 2014 annual conference, Aston University.

The conference marks the tenth anniversary of the HEA and asks what the past ten years can tell us about what the next ten years might bring. The event will focus on the future of the student learning experience and ask how we are preparing ourselves for it; it will look at how current policy and practice is (or is not) equipping us for the opportunities that lie ahead and what may need to be done to both adapt to and create new learning environments. Further information:

2nd-4th July 2014: Collaborate to Widen Participation: to, through & beyond HE, University of Salford

The Programme includes the themes of building and sustaining effective partnerships; hearing and understanding the student voice; creating and maintaining relationships with employers; and evidencing the value of widening participation activities and strategies across the student cycle, as well as extensive networking and leisure opportunities.

Confirmed speakers: Bernadette Sanderson (University of Glasgow); Professor John Storan (FACE Chair); Professor Haifa Takruri MBE (FACE 2014 Chair); Professor Martin Hall (Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford); Mary Curnock Cook OBE (Chief Executive, UCAS)

Helen Marshall (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford); John Edwards (Director of Education and Skills, Manchester City Council); Simon Broad (Programme Manager and Course Director at BBC Academy); Professor Ian Scott (Director of Academic Development, University of Cape Town); Ruth Ibegbuna (Project Director, Reclaim Project); and Jack Carney (Principal, Manchester College)

(FACE as an organisation facilitates the exchange and dissemination of information and practices in lifelong learning and continuing education. By promoting collaboration and innovation between providers and practitioners FACE aims to support and encourage a socially inclusive framework for lifelong learning, challenging exclusion and fostering full participation.) Deadline for submitting abstracts – 31 March 2014. Early bird discount rate ends – 15 May 2014. Further information:

9 November, 2014: second annual Careers Education & Guidance Summit, London. 

This Careers England in partnership with Westminster Briefing conference will provide an opportunity for schools and colleges working with CEG providers to examine how government policy is being implemented and what more can be done to design and deliver provision which meets their new statutory duty. You will hear directly from a series of expert speakers including the Government, opposition, Ofsted, careers providers, award winning schools and colleges, employers and universities. Further information:

9 December 2014: Inspiring future generations: embracing plurality and difference in higher education, Newer Researchers Conference, Newport, Wales, UK
Invitation to participate and a call for Abstracts. Submission deadline: Friday 11th July 2014
The SRHE Newer Researchers’ Conference provides a unique space for newer researchers in higher education to share and discuss their ongoing work with peers in the international higher education research community in a stimulating but supportive environment. This year, echoing the theme of the SRHE Annual Research Conference, we invite you to contribute to the critical discussion around Inspiring future generations; embracing plurality and difference in higher education from the perspective of the Newer Researcher. This will involve exploring patterns of plurality and difference in and across higher education and asking how these are influencing those who study and work in the sector. This Conference provides the opportunity to present your own work whilst learning more about topics other newer researchers in higher education are exploring from a wide range of perspectives. As part of our commitment to promoting the development of higher education research and researchers, we welcome papers or posters reporting on ongoing research as well as pilot or completed studies and work of a conceptual, theoretical or empirical nature. All submissions are peer-reviewed, resulting in a broad range of high quality presentations.
Please see the link below for further details about the conference theme and how to submit your abstract for a paper, poster or symposium. We look forward to welcoming you to Celtic Manor for what we know will be another stimulating and inspiring Conference.
Further information:



Access to Higher Education Summit, 23 October 2012
Access to Higher Education Summit, 28 November 2011