further & higher education Training

Widening Participation in Higher Education through the Admissions Process

further & higher education Training

09:15 - 16:15

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Central London

For a limited time we are offering 10% discounts for the first 8 delegates on the course. To take advantage of this discount, enter code SVKP3TK when completing your booking.

The University admissions process will change radically in the coming years as the Higher Education sector, with the OFS in place as the regulator, once again strongly emphasises the importance of widening participation and fair access to ensure that the sector effectively reflects wider British society.

While there has been some progress as a result of the increased use of contextual offers, gaps in equality of access between the most and least advantaged groups remain wide. Analysis shows that contextual admissions have not yet had a significant impact on fair access to higher education.

At present the most educationally advantaged students are 5.7 times more likely to attend a higher-tariff provider than the most disadvantaged.

With OfS introducing access to participation plans and expectation of more ambition and innovation from providers, with demonstrable impact by 2024-25, universities need to ensure that they increase their efforts to allow fair access to higher education to underrepresented groups.

Join this interactive training day to learn how you can improve social mobility, utilise contextual admission strategies and deliver the most impactful, effective and fair admissions policy across your institution

Learning Objectives:
  • Find out how you can ensure that your university allows for fair and unobstructed access to all prospective students
  • Learn how to effectively utilise contextual admissions to guarantee that all potential students have a fair chance during the admissions process, no matter their background
  • Understand the most impactful methods and strategies for to widening participation and access
  • Create an internal admissions policy that allows for fair access

Kate Wicklow, Policy Manager, Guild HE

View the agenda and additional speakers
Kate Wicklow, Policy Manager, Guild HE

Kate Wicklow is the Policy Manager at GuildHE. GuildHE is one of the two officially recognised representative bodies for UK higher education providers. GuildHE represent a diverse range of higher education providers, including universities, FE and independent HE providers. Kate leads work on behalf of GuildHE in the areas of Regulation, Funding, Admissions, Teaching and Learning, Student Experience and Skills. She is also a very experienced reviewer for QAA, and is currently studying part time for a PhD at Lancaster University. Her research centres on students perceptions of Value for Money based on their social background. Kate is also is the Policy Adviser to the ukadia group of specialist art and design universities.




Trainer’s Welcome & Clarification of Learning Objectives

Sam Butters, CEO, Fair Education Alliance (invited)


Utilising Strong Contextual Admissions Strategies to Enable Universities to Support Fair Access to Education

  • What are contextual admissions and why contextual data is important to ensure fair access for all to higher education
  • Ensuring that relevant data is collected form applications including information on participation in widening participation/outreach activities
  • Providing fair, reliable and appropriate assessment methods that enable them to select students with the potential to complete the course successfully
  • Discussing what information is important and can support student application
  • Discussing the work of Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education

Office for Students (invited)


Morning Break


Ensuring Fair Access to Education

  • Ensuring that all internal policies and procedures for applications are fair and transparent
  • Reducing or removing unnecessary application barriers for prospective students
  • Providing sufficient information about recruitment, admissions and student life in the recruitment pack to enable all potential students to make an informed choice
  • Providing effective training to all staff involved in recruitment and admissions including training on unconscious bias

Kate Wicklow, Policy Manager, Guild HE (CONFIRMED)




Case study: Improving the Admissions Process through an Effective Access and Participation Plan

  • Creating a 5-year access and participation plan based on the core principles of fairness, transparency and consistency to improve opportunities for underrepresented groups
  • Outlining the activities and interventions that universities can undertake to ensure fair admission process
  • Maintaining an evidence-base (including key performance measures) that can be used to demonstrate successful outcomes
  • Reporting and creating access to participation plans taking all reasonable steps to comply with the provisions of its approved plan
  • Monitoring progress against access and participation plans

Lucie March, Acting Head of Access, UCL (invited)


Afternoon Break


Workshop: Creating Effective Internal Admissions Strategy that Allows for Fairer Access

  • Utilising contextual offers to narrow the gap in equality of access between the most and least advantaged groups
  • Ensuring more honest self-assessment, more ambitious targets, more evidence-based measures and better evaluation through effective participation plans
  • Developing widening access strategies and policies in line with local and national guidance
  • Providing more effective information, advice and guidance on application process to support more disadvantaged students in their decision making
  • Ensuring transparency in your admission process

Sam Butters, CEO, Fair Education Alliance (invited)


Feedback, Evaluation & Close

*Programme subject to change

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In-house Option

We can also run this course for you, at your organisation, at a time and date that suits you. Please email inhouse@insidegovernment.co.uk for more info.