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.
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Priorities for the higher education admissions system

Morning, Thursday, 27th January 2022

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

  • the consultation on a move to a post-qualification 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

It is an opportunity for delegates to assess the impact of COVID-19 on university admissions in light of recent publications from the DfE which show an increasing gap between the progression rates of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, as well as research from UCL which found predicting A-Level grades to be a ‘near-impossible task’ likely to harm high achievers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The conference will look at the impact of these developments and will consider what reforms are necessary to address these challenges, along with the lessons that can be learned from international best practice in post-qualification systems, with a case study from the Republic of Ireland.

Discussion is also structured to bring out wider areas of potential for admissions reform and to illuminate how to ensure broader student groups are also considered, taking into account priorities for mature and international students.

The agenda includes latest thinking on:

  • the full range of options for admissions reform
  • the challenges presented by PQA models and how best to overcome them
  • supporting and empowering all students throughout reform
  • making sure reform is UK-wide and takes into account priorities for devolved nations

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from the Department for Education; the Department for the Economy, NI; and the Welsh Government.

Keynote Speakers

Jazreel Goh

Director Malaysia, British Council

John Cope

Director, Strategy, Policy & Public Affairs, UCAS

Jill O’Mahony

Director of Admissions and Enrolment Planning, University College Dublin

Keynote Speakers

John Cope

Director, Strategy, Policy & Public Affairs, UCAS

Jill O’Mahony

Director of Admissions and Enrolment Planning, University College Dublin

Jazreel Goh

Director Malaysia, British Council

Rebecca Gaukroger

Director, Student Recruitment and Admissions, The University of Edinburgh


Lord Lucas

Lord Young of Norwood Green

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


Kavi Mehan

Co-Founder, The Oxbridge Launchpad

Dr Omar Khan

Director, Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education

Professor Graham Virgo

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

Ian Morgan

Chair, JCQ; and Chief Executive, WJEC

Victoria Orsmond

Senior Progression Lead, Hereford Sixth Form College

Dr Samina Khan

Director, Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Oxford

Nathan Sansom

CEO, The Access Project

James Seymour

Director, Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment, University of Gloucestershire

Professor Mike Sutcliffe

Deputy Dean, TEDI-London

Dr Beth Linklater

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