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


  WP Events for your diaries


                                                      CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Advance information

Please hold in your diaries the date Wednesday 13 November 2019 for the Action on Access annual Widening Participation and Student Success Summit.


 25 July 201: speaking about research on social mobility and individual wellbeing.

Social mobility and widening access research seminars at UCL, Professor Wing Chan.
In this seminar, Professor Chan will discuss research from his paper, ‘Social mobility and the well-being of individuals’, published in the British Journal of Sociology. This research uses data from the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society to test whether intergenerational social mobility has detrimental effects on the quality of social relationships and wellbeing. It uses a range of indicators that measure participation in civic associations, contacts with parents, close personal relationships, social support, and subjective wellbeing. Tak Wing Chan is a Professor of Quantitative Social Science at UCL Institute of Education. The seminar takes place between 1:30-3pm at the UCL’s campus in central London. Further info and to book:


30 July 2019: discussing research on the changing geography of intergenerational social mobility.

Social mobility and widening access research seminars at UCL, Dr Brian Bell. Further info and to book:


11-13 September 2019, ‘Measuring Excellence” in Higher Education: Approaches and their Impact’, Higher Education Institutional Research (HEIR) Conference 2019, City Centre Campus, University of Wolverhampton

The HEIR conference is an international event that attracts delegates from across the Higher Education sector including: students, teachers, researchers, managers, data practitioners and institutional experts, quality professionals, educational developers, policy makers, digital service specialists, consultants, and all who share an interest in the future of education. There is a call for submissions for this conference, deadline 26 April 2019. Keynote presenters include: Professor Alis Oancea, Professor of Philosophy of Education and Research Policy and Director of Research, Oxford University Department of Education; Professor Dennis Hayes, Professor of Education and Chair of the College of Education Research Committee, University of Derby; Professor Ptetar Jandric; Professor of Informatics, Zagreb University of Applied Sciences, Croatia


12 September 2019: exploring the significance of place in young people’s lives and future trajectories.

Social mobility and widening access research seminars at UCL, Dr Michael Donnelly and Dr Sol Gamsu. Further info and to book:


16­/17 September 2019: ‘Focus on Family Estrangement: Academic Conference’,
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

This 2 day conference organised by Edge Hill University, Stand Alone and the University of Strathclyde will feature a range of talks, discussions, and networking opportunities with experts, researchers and leaders in the field of family estrangement. This is the first worldwide academic conference on the topic of Family Estrangement with researchers from around the world invited to submit abstracts for presentations on their work relevant to increasing the understanding of relationships between family members aged 18+ who have a distant and/or inactive relationship with one another in terms of contact, communication and/or quality.  Researchers will come from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds (psychology, sociology, education, family studies, communications studies, historians, social work, etc.)


19 September 2019: discussing the intersectionality of inequality, ethnicity, gender and social class

Social mobility and widening access research seminars at UCL, Professor Louise Archer. Further info and to book:


14 October 2019: Supporting disabled students - widening participation, improving student success and accessible campus design, Westminster Higher Education Forum policy conference, central London

This seminar will examine priorities for improving support for disabled students in English universities.  The agenda includes discussion on practical steps that can be taken to deliver higher rates of disabled student participation, moving towards a more inclusive curricula through improving learning and teaching environments, and and compliance with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator’s Good Practice Framework.  Discussion will focus on the practical steps that can be taken by providers to deliver higher rates of disabled student participation, retention and success, as well as considering what further steps Government could take to support the sector in achieving these aims; on the Disabled Students Allowance and HEI responsibilities; disabled student experience and progression within university and into employment, and campus design, reasonable adjustments and treatment of complaints.

Speakers include in this seminar keynote addresses from: Greg Boone, Team Leader, Disabled Students’ Allowance, Department for Education and Christine Child, Adjudication Manager, Office of the Independent Adjudicator; Rabia Lemahieu, Disability and Skills Manager, Disability Rights UK; Dr Nasser Siabi, Chief Executive, Microlink; Steve Tyler, Director of Assistive Technology, Leonard Cheshire and Professor Val Williams, Emiritus Professor, Noah Fry Centre for Disabled Studies, University of Bristol


17 October 2019: One Awards 2019 Higher Education Admissions Fair for Access to HE Students, Stadium of Light, Sunderland

Since 2016, when we hosted the first HE Admissions Fair for Access to HE Students in the North of England, the event has grown year on year.  We have received really positive feedback from students, tutors and exhibitors on the fantastic opportunities it provides and over 75% of students learnt something they didn’t know previously or discovered a new Higher Education Institution or Undergraduate course they were interested in. We are delighted to continue to facilitate this important event which offers HE Institutions the opportunity to promote their courses, advice and support services to Access to HE students. The event will be promoted across all Access to HE providers in the North of England and information on the event will reach over 2500 students studying the Access to HE Diploma. We are inviting all HEI’s to exhibit at the event.  The cost for exhibiting at the event is £200.00 per stand.  Further information:


4 November 2019: Student Experience Conference 2019, University of Derby Enterprise Centre

The Student Experience Conference themes are: Ensuring success for a diverse student body; Supporting success over the student journey; Communicating for success The finalised agenda will follow, but we expect a varied programme of workshop and presentations including: Partnership working with students; Embedding co-creation in communication; Effective approaches to transition, Widening participation across the student journey; Approaches to eliminate attainment gaps. Baasit Siddiqui – Derby Alumni, educational speaker and regular resident on award-winning show Gogglebox, will open the conference with a keynote address. To embed our ethos of students as partners all presentations will be co-delivered (or exclusively delivered) by students


13 November 2019: Action on Access’s Access 9th annual Higher Education and Student Success Summit, Woburn Conference Centre, London

Save the date: more information to follow


27 November 2019: Priorities for tackling racial harassment and improving the BAME experience in higher education, Westminster Higher Education Forum Keynote Seminar, Central London

This seminar will examine priorities for tackling racial harassment and improving the BAME experience in higher education. The agenda in summary:

  • Findings from the Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry;
  • Unpacking the legal and moral duty of care towards ethnic minority students – navigating between free speech and hate speech, managing behaviour off campus, and monitoring social media;
  • Reporting harassment and seeking redress – improving awareness and accessibility of support structures, and clarifying institutional disciplinary procedures for dealing with harassment; and
  • Racial equality in higher education – identifying barriers to equality, improving student experience and closing the attainment gap.

Speakers include: Christina Barnes, Senior Principal, Inquiries and Intelligence, Equality and Human Rights Commission; Georgina Calvert-Lee, Head of UK Practice and Senior Counsel, McAllister Olivarius; Géraldine Dufour, Head of Counselling, University of Cambridge and Chair, Universities & Colleges, BACP; Professor Deborah Johnston, Pro-Director, Teaching and Learning, SOAS University of London; Dr Zainab Khan, Faculty Academic Director, Student Experience, Faculty of Business & Law, University of the West of England; Esther Offenberg, President-Elect, Union of Jewish Students; Dr Trish Reid, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching), Kingston University London and Homa Wilson, Partner, Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors. To book:


5 December 2019: Growing participation and improving diversity in Apprenticeships in England, Westminster Employment Forum policy conference, central London

This seminar aims to assess the next steps that can be taken to improve apprenticeship take-up in England, in the context of concerns that the government target of 3 million starts may not be achieved - as well as questions about how industry, training providers, government and other stakeholders can realise the aim to improve uptake amongst under-represented and disadvantaged groups, with Government targeting an increase of 20% BAME starts by 2020.

The conference programme will include: improving participation and diversity in the Apprenticeships programme; driving growth in apprenticeship starts – ensuring better regional coverage, tackling STEM skills gaps and utilising the Apprenticeship levy effectively; improving participation amongst under-represented and disadvantaged groups and low skilled workers; changing perceptions of apprenticeships and the ‘Fire it Up’ campaign; regional disparities – assessing progress and setting direction for the ‘5 Cities Project’; the ‘Opportunities through apprenticeships’ project – lessons from the pilots.

Delegates will also discuss the collaboration needed between employers, schools, colleges and universities, and with local government, to focus provision, and increase take-up.

Speakers include: Kathryn Porter, Vice-Chair, Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network and Director, Youth Strategy, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide; John Banks, Apprenticeship Delivery Manager, Lloyds Banking Group; Dominique Unsworth, SME Apprenticeship Ambassador and Chief Executive Officer, Resource Productions. To book a place:


9 January 2019: Improving provision for care leavers – implementing the Care Leaver Covenant and local offers and the transition into further education and employment, Westminster Education Forum policy conference, Central London

The discussion comes as Government continues to develop its approach to supporting young people leaving care through the introduction of the Care Leaver Covenant which aims to provide additional support for those leaving care; and publication by every local authority of local offers for care leavers. There will be a keynote contribution from Mark Riddell, National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers, Department for Education.  Delegates will also look at the role further and higher education (HE) providers can play in supporting care leavers and improving access and participation in HE. It follows the publication by Government of guiding principles for HE institutions to improve their offer for care leavers including how to support care leavers before they enter HE, and financial and practical support such as accommodation provision and ensuring adequate support networks are in place.

Speakers include: Mark Riddell, National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers, Department for Education and Matthew Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, Spectra First; Frank Young, Political Director and Head of the Family Policy Unit, Centre for Social Justice; Paul Startup, Head of Service, 18 + Care Leavers Service, Kent County Council and Rachel Calver, Service Manager for Transition, Leaving Care Service, Kent County Council. Further information:


21 January 2019: Priorities for supporting student mental health, Westminster Higher Education Forum policy conference, central London

This seminar will examine sector priorities for supporting student mental health. The programme includes: the development of the University Mental Health Charter; supporting first year students as they transition to university; improving visibility and accessibility of mental health services and new approaches to identifying students at risk; developing a collaborative, multi-agency approach to mental health provision on campus; and innovative approaches to promoting emotional wellbeing and building resilience.

The University Mental Health Charter. With renewed focus by the Government on student mental health, delegates will discuss the development and implementation of the Government-backed University Mental Health Charter due to be published in December 2019, and the Charter’s key principles, expected to include an emphasis on university-wide involvement, an evidence-based and collaborative approach to Charter development and implementation, and a recognition of diversity both among HEIs and their varying approaches to support, as well as within the student population and individual needs. To book:


3-4 June 2019: Beyond measure? Exploring what counts in higher education, QAA’s Scotland’s 4th international enhancement conference, Glasgow city centre.

Save the date. Registration open January 2020. We’ll be welcoming 450 delegates from around the world with the common goal of enhancing HE strategy, policy and practice. The 2020 conference will centre on four questions: How can we use evidence to support decision-making?  What counts as valid evidence?  How can we ensure we are working in partnership with students?  How can we ensure that we are using evidence ethically?

  • Through plenary sessions, papers and workshops, we will explore five conference strands:
  • Understanding student demographics, retention, progression and success
  • Using big data to enhance learning and teaching and the student experience
  • Creating and valuing evidence beyond numbers
  • Empowering staff and students to use evidence
  • Supporting employability and the development of graduate skills.