Westminster Higher Education Forum

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Widening participation and access to higher education - improving outcomes, HEI and school collaboration, and the future role of universities in skills development

June 2022


Price: £95 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


This conference focuses on next steps in widening access to higher education and improving outcomes for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.


It comes with the Government’s revised approach to the role of universities in supporting students, with expectations that HEIs should play a more active role in:


  • reducing drop-out rates and improving student outcomes
  • supporting local schools through initiatives such as tutoring, helping with curriculum development, and providing summer schools

The conference also follows the publication of the Government’s response to the Augar Review, which included:


  • the proposed introduction of national state scholarships for disadvantaged students
  • a reduction in the fee limit for foundation year courses
  • a government consultation on the potential introduction of student number controls

Delegates will look at the likely impact that these measures would have on widening access and social mobility, alongside new requirements from the OfS for all universities to develop new access and participation plans.


In addition, with the new policy approach also emphasising university support for alternative pathways, the conference will be an opportunity to consider:


  • integration into local skills systems - priorities for further integration of universities, and the role of the Lifelong Learning Entitlement in improving the offer for mature learners
  • vocational, technical and part-time courses - next steps for provision
  • the Skills and Post-16 Education Act - what can be learned from its approach to local skills development 
  • red tape - how the higher education sector could simplify its approach to access and participation whilst still being able to accurately monitor progress and set clear targets
  • key student groups - improving outcomes and tackling drop-out rates for students facing additional challenges

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote session with Ben Jordan, Head of Policy, UCAS.


The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from the DfE; DAERA, NI; the Department for the Economy, NI; the OLS; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.



This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles