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


  WP Events for your diaries

                                                      CALENDAR OF EVENTS


During the government ban on conferences this page is being frequently updated, but before booking or attending please check that the conferences you are interested in  have re-scheduled, or are offering online alternatives, etc.


Advance notice

26 November 2020: 10th Access to Higher Education and Student Success Summit, Woburn Conference Centre, London

Delivered in partnership with Universities UK, our 2020 Summit will focus delegates on the critical issues related to access and participation in higher education. The programme  will give delegates up-to-date briefings on the current issues, policy and regulation, together with opportunities to develop practice solutions to access and participation issues through discussion with experts and colleagues; plus analyseing how impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic may be eroding the progress of widening participation. See below 26 November..



2 June 2020, 11.00-12.00: Delivering virtual careers services and online support during Covid-19, online webinar

Covid-19 has disrupted virtually all university operations, with almost all aspects of university operations from teaching to examination moving online at unprecedented speed. Simultaneously, new graduates will be facing a potentially unprecedented severe economic downturn. How can universities find new routes to better support students for the challenges ahead?

This free webinar will explore how universities can offer virtual careers services during Covid-19, as well as what employers and graduates are looking for in terms of university services. It will examine the challenges, as well as provide ideas and discussion for universities addressing these obstacles in extraordinary times.


3-4 June 2020: Beyond measure? Exploring what counts in higher education, QAA’s Scotland’s 4th international enhancement conference, Glasgow city centre.

Reviewing plans for the 4th International Enhancement Conference, and ask that delegates and contributors hold these dates in their diaries as we explore how best to deliver valuable activities and outputs online. We appreciate your patience and look forward to sharing a revised programme of activity soon. 

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.


4 June 2020: ‘What Happens Next – Moving On after Graduation’, Stand Alone CPD Conference, University of Sunderland

No information on re-scheduling.

Estranged graduates struggle with barriers into a graduate job or moving on to postgraduate study. Whole university departments and initiatives are dedicated to improving access and retention for students from non-traditional backgrounds. At Stand Alone we have been aware that transitioning out of university also presents a challenge for estranged students.

In 2019 therefore we undertook a survey to find out about the kind of barriers and challenges for students estranged from their families experience when moving on after graduation. We published our findings in our report ‘What Happens Next’ in January 2020.

This conference will look at the findings of our report and what it means to estranged students who are heading into employment or postgraduate study. We will explore what kind of support the HE sector can implement but also what government and employers should do to improve the successful transition of estranged graduates. There will be presentations from universities who are already developing support postgraduation as part of the student life cycle.


4 June 2020, 11.00-12.00: Addressing the impact of Covid-19 on student progression and retention, online webinar

While there has been much media focus on the impact of Covid-19 on student admissions, the potential impact on retention is just as great. Retention is a key challenge that universities face, only likely to be exacerbated by the recent global crisis. This free online webinar will explore the issue in-depth, and help you shape retention strategies to meet the needs of your institution.

This free webinar will be a chance for universities to explore the challenges, as well as innovative solutions, to issues surrounding retention during the Covid-19 crisis. Chaired by Paul Layzell, Principal, Royal Holloway, University of London speakers include: Jenifer Lawrence, Program Director Academic Success, University of New England, Australia and Dr Gurnam Singh, Associate Professor of Equity of Attainment, Coventry University.


4 June 2020, 12.00 to 13.00 pm: Lunchtime Learning – #UTDIAG for Practitioners, ‘Tips for engaging academics, social media and working with schools’. UniTasterDays

Free CPD – #UTDIAG for HE Practitioners. The next lunchtime learning CPD event for university school and college, recruitment, outreach and widening participation practitioners is open for booking.

You can book a free place and watch the recording of previous CPD events at:

This event will include sessions with tips for engaging academics (Dr Charles Knight, Associate Dean at Salford Business School), the changing nature of the social media landscape (Jason Navon, co-founder and Managing Director of Clarity Comms) and how to engage schools during the lockdown (Jessica Cook, a Careers Professional and consultant for UniTasterDays).


4 June 2020: Next steps for arts and culture in England – widening participation, fostering innovation and collaboration, and implementing Arts Council England’s new ten-year strategy, Westminster Media Forum policy conference, central London

This event will be conducted online. They will contact all participants in advance of each conference with full information and guidance on how to take part.

Discussion will focus on the impact and implementation of the strategy’s key elements:

  • developing the creativity of individuals and communities across England;
  • encouraging collaboration and innovation in the creative and cultural sector; and
  • an investment strategy that targets ambition, the pursuit of quality, and the ability to successfully adapt to change, as well as diversity and environmental responsibility.

This conference: as the UK looks to reposition itself within Europe and the wider world, further sessions will look at the role of policy in maximising opportunities for England’s arts and culture internationally. To book.

Speakers include: Michelle Dickson, Director, Strategy, Arts Council England and Emma Squire, Director, Arts, Heritage and Tourism, DCMS; Lucy Crompton-Reid, Chief Executive, Wikimedia UK; Sarah Ellis, Director of Digital Development, Royal Shakespeare Company; Adam Joolia, Chief Executive Officer, AudioActive and Freya Murray, Creative Lead, Google Arts and Culture Lab. Chair: Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.


4 June 2020: Disability Inclusion at Work Forum, Westminster Insight, central London

No information on re-scheduling.
A forum to explore the full scope of the accessibility agenda including the removal of physical and non-physical barriers to work, supporting employees with hidden disabilities and best practice in making reasonable adjustments.
Benefits of attending the conference include: how to champion disability inclusion at a leadership level to drive culture change and disability inclusion throughout the organisation through accessibility best practice; improve inclusive recruitment and retention practices to attract and retain disabled talent and explore the full scope of disability, reasonable adjustments and employment law; and to understand neurodiversity and unlock the potential of non-neurotypical employees.


5 June 2020, 13.00-1500: ‘Supporting black, Asian and minority ethnic students during the coronavirus crisis’, OfS webinar

This event will explore key areas of support needed for black, Asian and minority ethnic students during the current pandemic based on a briefing by Professor Gurnam Singh.

The webinar will comprise two panels:

Panel one: How the sector can ensure equality during COVID-19 for black, Asian and minority ethnic students: Amy Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Office for Students (OfS); Sarah Howls, Head of Access and Participation (Regulation and Funding), OfS; Gary Loke, Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery, Advance HE; Ian Dunn, Provost, Coventry University; Question and answer session.

Panel two: ‘The impact on teaching and learning’: Sara Elkhawad, Welfare and Equality Officer, Newcastle University Students’ Union; Alison Shaw, Professor of Practice for Student Success and Progression, Newcastle University; Dr Gurnam Singh, Associate Professor – Equity of Attainment, Coventry University; Question and answer session.


9 June, 9.30 – 12.00pm: ‘Being There: Addressing Educational Disadvantage Through Place-Based Working’, IntoUniversity

On Tuesday 9th June, IntoUniversity will be hosting a virtual conference exploring the role of place-based work in tackling educational disadvantage.

The conference will feature panels on the role of the civic university and the importance of place based work in disadvantaged communities. Panelists: Professor Charlie Jeffrey, Vice Chancellor of the University of York David Johnston MP, member of the House of Commons Education Select Committee Tim Young, Director of Education for The Rank Foundation Richard Brabner, Director of the UPP Foundation. The conference will feature Keynote Speaker Emma Hardy (MP and Shadow FE and Universities Minister) as well as the expert panellists discussing the role of the Civic University and existing place-based work.

Please click here to register for the conference, and the link to join will be sent out closer to the time.


11 June 2020: Collaborative Outreach and Uni Connect, Webinar

NERUPI will run its last event of the year on the theme of collaborative outreach and Uni Connect. The event is open to all, members and non-members alike. Those involved in a Uni Connect partnership or just interested in collaborative outreach and evaluation, can register their interesting in attending on the event page.
Professor Anna Mountford-Zimdars from the Centre for Social Mobility at the University of Exeter will be talking about effective approaches to outreach evaluation. Beth Isaac will be there to give an update from the Office for students on evaluation of the Uni Connect programme. Helen Smith, Director of the FutureHY Uni Connect programme in Yorkshire, will consider ways to build collaborative partnerships locally and nationally as well as reflecting on the challenges ahead for delivery of outreach activity. We will also hear about two case studies from Uni Connect members – the North East and Humber Outreach Programmes – on their development of activity and evaluation frameworks using the NERUPI Framework.
For further information and to register.


15 June 2020, ‘BAME equality in the workplace – tackling workplace culture, ethnicity pay gap reporting, and improving recruitment and progression’, Westminster Employment Forum policy conference

This online event will consider the next steps for government, employers, and other stakeholders in improving opportunity and equality at work for people from black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) – with discussion on:

  • ethnicity pay reporting and data gathering,
  • embedding inclusive cultures and promoting the creation of diverse workplaces,
  • representation in leadership, and
  • improving recruitment practices.

Speakers will include: David Isaac, Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission; Sandra Kerr CBE, OBE, Race Equality Director, Business in the Community; Dr Doyin Atewologun, Reader & Director, Gender, Leadership & Inclusion Centre, Cranfield School of Management; BAME Recruitment; Fran Goble, Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion; Richard Iferenta, Challenger Banking and KPMG; Karen Flynn Macfarlane, NatWest; Fudia Smartt, Spencer West; Wilf Sullivan, TUC and Bernadette Thompson, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. And to book.


1-3 July 2020: FACE annual conference, ‘The place of Higher Education and Lifelong Learn ing: a vision for 2020 and beyond’, University of East London, Stratford

Postponed no replacement date yet arranged.


7-9 July 2020: Teaching in the spotlight: Creative thinking to enhance the student experience: From curriculum design to student success, Teaching and Learning Conference 2020 Advance HE, venue tbc

The delivery date and format of this conference may be affected. The conference is still open for bookings and we will provide details of any changes as soon as we are able. 

Across higher education the focus on enhancing all aspects of teaching and learning remains a critical issue for those seeking to provide an outstanding student experience at all levels of taught provision. At the heart of excellent teaching is curriculum design – to achieve great curriculum design requires excellent staff and the result of great curriculum design is an improved student experience and increased student success.

Advance HE’s Teaching and Learning Conference 2020 will continue to position the spotlight firmly on teaching in a global context, in particular this year the conference will explore creative thinking for enhancing the student experience and improving educational outcomes and experience. The conference will focus on all aspects of teaching and learning from initial curriculum design, through improving assessment and feedback, creative initiatives to retain students, and work that results in improved attainment. All these elements along with other aspects of teaching and learning result in increased student success and satisfaction.


29 July to 31 July 2020: Diversity, identity and inclusion in Lifelong Learning:  Shaping a 2020 vision for mature students, UALL 2020 Annual Conference, University of Liverpool – re-scheduled from 1-3 April

If you have already booked onto the conference originally scheduled for  1-3 April dates, your booking will still stand. 

This is a pivotal time for lifelong learning within higher education. Institutions are being challenged to create a learning landscape that not only widens inclusion and diversity, but which also actively reaches out to mature learners, a group often neglected in the widening participation debate. This conference will explore the context, frameworks and approaches needed for lifelong learning to thrive in the coming decades. It will encourage international as well as UK perspectives and encourage participation from both consumers – mature students themselves – and those involved in delivering vision and programmes within the higher education sector.

Conference themes:

  • Engaging, teaching and retaining lifelong learners
  • Work-based and work-related learning
  • Widening participation and mature students
  • Learning, maturity and motivation.

10–13 August 2020: Unprecedented challenges and possibilities for sustainable development and e-Learning in higher education, HETL, Johannesburg

No information on re-scheduling.

The International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Conference will provide academics, researchers and higher education practitioners with a forum to exchange ideas, experiences and research findings relating to the preparation and support of students, teaching and learning methodologies, the use of open, distance and e-learning approaches, educational research, organisation of educational systems, and the impact of sustainable development on higher education and the broader society.

Theme 2 for proposals: Support Strategies and Practices for Student Success (student support) Creating supportive and caring environments for students Cultural Connections and student well-being – Inclusive campuses Refugee Education – Integrating refugee, minority, and non-traditional students Student counselling, career guidance and psycho-social support Strategies and practices to improve student retention, and e-learning in higher education sessions and posters Providing for students with disabilities Preparing students for the world of work. Look here for information on this conference.


8-10 September 2020: NET2020 Conference, University of Bath

This conference is still currently planned to take place on the date shown

The leading annual international conference for networking in healthcare education, NET2020 addresses all areas of healthcare education across all healthcare professions. This year the conference will focus on the following themes:

  • •    Student experience, engagement and achievement: including the sub-themes of Inclusivity in healthcare education; Widening participation; Student support and wellbeing; and Retention and success in healthcare education.
  • Educational enhancement: including the sub-themes of Humanising healthcare education; Assessing the impact of pre- and post-registration learning on clinical practice; and Partnership working.
    •    Learning, teaching and assessment strategies: including the sub-themes of Evidence-based learning, teaching and assessment; Inter-professional learning and working; Education in clinical practice and practice development; and technology enhanced learning.
    •    Key challenges in healthcare education: including the sub-themes of Global challenges in healthcare education; Developing the future healthcare education workforce; and Social, economic and policy drivers in healthcare education.

Bookings are currently not open but see conference website for further details.


10 September 2020, 8.30 am to 12.55: Autism and learning disabilities care in England – delivering services, supporting parents, carers and individuals and next steps for policy, Westminster Health Forum policy conference

This half day online conference covers the NHS long term plan and strategy; issues of awareness, support and engagement; the Autism Core Capabilities Framework; how to integrate health and education policies;

Speakers include: David Nuttall, Deputy Director, Dementia and Disabilities, Department for Health and Social Care; Justin Cooke, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Ambitious about Autism; Yvonne Newbold, Member, NHS Assembly; Winner, National Learning Disabilities and Autism Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018 and Author, The Special Parent’s Handbook; Dr Ashok Roy, Consultant Psychiatrist, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust and Clinical Advisor, Health Education England; Dr Ian Male, Mid Sussex Child Development Centre and Councillor Ashley Pearce, Reading Borough Council.

To book.


10 and 11 September 2020: Institutional Research: Strengthening HE Futures, HEIR annual conference 2020, Brighton

The Higher Education Institutional Research (HEIR) Network 2020 annual conference, hosted by the University of Brighton, is an opportunity for HE institutional research enthusiasts and practitioners to come together as a community to exchange knowledge, information and ideas. The focus is on current challenges and opportunities, in order to enhance the use of institutional research, data analysis and evaluation, in supporting efficient and effective HEI decision-making, planning and policy formation. The date and format of the conference is under review.

For HEIR 2020, the conference focuses on three key strands which highlight the many ways in which institutional research, evaluation and data analysis increasingly play a pivotal role in supporting institutional effectiveness and helping support and strengthen HE futures:

  • enhancing learning lives
  • enriching Data stories
  • influencing policy.


15 September 2020 (New date): Employability Symposium: Breaking the mould, face to face event, York

The Employability Symposium has been moved from 22 April to 15 September 2020. This is planned to be delivered as a face to face event, however this will be subject to government guidelines nearer the time.

The symposium will aim to promote and explore good practice where employability is part of the curriculum, bringing together cutting-edge examples of how sustainable and innovative approaches to employability can be delivered at school, faculty, college and institutional levels.


15 September 2020: The Care Leavers Event 2020: Breaking down barriers and fulfilling potential Through effective services, Government Events, London

No detailed information available other than the programme.


21 October 2020: Widening Participation 2020: Ensuring Access and Opportunity for all, Government Events, London

No detailed information available other than the programme.


27-30, October 2020: ‘Improving Social Engagement Through Adult Education’, 69th Annual AAACE Conference, Reno, Nevada

The conference seeks answers to several questions. What is important for adult educators to “do” in the various adult education contexts, such communities of practice, the workplace, academia, and social media, that creates opportunities for improved discourse? How can those lessons be transferred into the community? How can adult education theories and practices be harnessed into a guiding force for constructive dialogue and mutual respect? How can adult education give a voice to the voiceless who have ceased engaging in discourse for fear of marginalization?
This annual conference includes the following:

Commission on International Adult Education Pre-Conference (CIAE, October 26-27)

Commission on Distance Learning and Technology Pre-Conference Symposium on Social Media (CDLT, October 27)

Commission of Professors of Adult Education Co-Conference (CPAE, October 29).

For information on the call for papers and proposals visit here. Deadline: 13 May 2020.

(The American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) is dedicated to the belief that lifelong learning contributes to human fulfilment and positive social change. To that end, we provide leadership for the field of adult and continuing education by expanding opportunities for adult growth and development; unifying adult educators; fostering the development and dissemination of theory, research, information, and best practices; promoting identity and standards for the profession; and advocating relevant public policy and social change initiatives.)


26 November 2020: 10th Access to Higher Education and Student Success Summit, Woburn Conference Centre, London

Currently planned to be a normal face to face conference our 2020 Summit, delivered in partnership between Action on Access and Universities UK will focus delegates on the critical issues related to access and participation in higher education. The programme is still being developed but we aim to play our part in making sure access and student success remain high on the agenda, and will give delegates up-to-date briefings on the current issues, policy and regulation, together with opportunities to develop practice solutions to access and participation issues through discussion with experts and colleagues. The Summit programme will seek to analyse how Impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic may be eroding the year-on-year improvements in fair access, equitable student lifecycle experiences and student success.

Delegates last year said,

“Fast paced, short, sharp talks from a wide variety of speakers. Lots of like-minded people sharing best practices and common challenges. Excellent event!”

“This is always a chance to hear directly from professionals about the best practice at a national scale”

“Really useful event that has left me with much to think about and many new contacts”

Now entering its 10th year, the annual Access to Higher Education and Student Success Summit will, as always, be unmissable. Don’t miss it, put the date in your dairies. You can Book Now.


17 and 18 March 2021: the rescheduled APS 6th International Biennial Conference, the Hilton Hotel in Milton Keynes

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the OU has rescheduled their APS (Access, Participation , Success) 6th International Biennial Conference which was due to take place from 22 to 23 April 2020 to take place on 17/18 March 2021 at the same venue, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Milton Keynes.

The planned keynote speakers and the majority of presenters will be speaking at the rescheduled conference – please see website here for full details.  The agreed keynote speakers as below plus hopefully OU Vice Chancellor, Professor Tim Blackman.

  • Professor Sir Peter Scott – Commissioner for Fair Access in Scotland
  • ​Chris Millward – Director of Fair Access and Participation, Office for Students (OfS)
  • Nick Hillman – Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI)
  • ​Victoria Winkler – Director, Bevan Foundation
  • ​Dr Liz Marr – PVC-Students, The Open University
  • ​Dr John Butcher – Director, Access, Open and Cross-curricula Innovation, The Open University