Westminster Higher Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? Contact us at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Priorities for the higher education admissions system

Morning, Thursday, 27th January 2022

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will consider priorities for the admissions system in light of the recent confirmation of the Government’s intentions to move forward as soon as possible with post-qualification admissions reform in collaboration with the sector, as well as further developments, including:

  • the recent Government consultation on a move to a post-qualifications admissions (PQA) system, with the Government expected to formally respond in due course
  • the publication of the UCAS report, Reimagining UK Admissions, which advocated a move to a post-qualification offer (PQO) system
  • the admissions reviews led by the OfS and UUK

This will also be an opportunity for delegates to assess the impact that COVID-19 has had on university admissions, in light of the OfS ban on ‘conditional unconditional’ offers, and research from UCL which found predicting A-Level grades to be a ‘near-impossible task’, with attempts to do so in place of formal examinations during the pandemic having harmed high achievers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This conference will consider these developments and their impact on students, as well as what they might mean for future university admissions systems, and learning from best practice. The discussion will also assess wider areas of potential for admissions reform, and how to ensure broader student groups are also considered, taking into account priorities for mature and international students.

The agenda is structured to bring out latest thinking on:

  • Government priorities for admissions reform
  • the challenges presented by PQA models and how best to overcome them
  • supporting and empowering students throughout reform, and ensuring no one is left behind
  • making sure reform is UK-wide and takes into account priorities for devolved nations, such as timetabling and qualification options


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for Education. Also due to attend are representatives from AQA; British Council; Staffordshire University; University of Leeds and University of St Andrews.

Overall, we expect speakers and other delegates to be an informed group comprised of Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior officials from BEIS, DfE and other Government departments and agencies, university and college leaders; academics and other higher education professionals; representatives from students’ unions; businesses and their advisors; mental health charities; law firms; consultancies; advice groups; interest groups and the voluntary sector; along with commentators and reporters from the national and trade media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Jazreel Goh

Director Malaysia, British Council

John Cope

Director, Strategy, Policy & Public Affairs, UCAS

Keynote Speakers

John Cope

Director, Strategy, Policy & Public Affairs, UCAS

Jazreel Goh

Director Malaysia, British Council

Dr John Blakeley

Policy Advisor, Widening participation and Student Experience, Department for Education

Rebecca Gaukroger

Director, Student Recruitment and Admissions, The University of Edinburgh


Lord Young of Norwood Green

Former Parliamentary Under Secretary, Skills and Apprenticeships, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (2008 - 2009)


Professor Graham Virgo

Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), University of Cambridge

Lucy Ball

Head of Programme and Volunteering, The Access Project

Dr Samina Khan

Director, Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Oxford

Dr Beth Linklater

Assistant Principal, Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke and FE Representative, UCAS Council