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


  WP Events for your diaries

                                                      CALENDAR OF EVENTS


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 explores and explains the critical issues related to access and participation in higher education, keeping access and student success remain high on the agenda. Delegates will get 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 progress of widening participation, and can be used to improve work and support to disadvantaged and under-represented students. See below.



6-10 July 2020: AMOSSHE National Conference 2020

Replacing the AMOSSHE National Conference that would have taken place in Newcastle upon Tyne, AMMOSHE is hosting a variety of free online sessions instead. Across the week you can take part in webinars, virtual discussions, social events and more, led by AMOSSHE members and sector organisations.

The AMOSSHE National Conference 2020 is the UK’s foremost opportunity for Student Services leaders to share expertise and good practice, develop strategy and skills, and build professional networks. The key themes are inspiration, design and excellence.

Inspiration - inspiring colleagues to do their very best, creating open, supportive environments for both staff and students to pursue an inspirational journey, and developing narratives that inspire and influence

Design - creating innovative initiatives, projects and approaches to Student Services design,


7th July 17.00-18.00: ‘What role should universities have in educating adults?’, webinar, University of Nottingham

This webinar, one of a series of online discussion sessions, addresses the role that universities have in educating adults. During the 20th century, universities offered big adult education programmes in their local communities. Adults studied part-time, at work and in their leisure time. This work ended around the millennium. Why? What has been lost? In the light of this coronavirus emergency online programme, discuss with Professor John Holford what universities should be doing to support adult learning in their localities.

Register here. There is no fee. After booking you’ll be sent a Zoom link to join the meeting.

Places are limited so please be sure to register soon to indicate your interest for the event.


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.


8 July, 4-5pm: at AMOSSHE conference July: ‘Looking Ahead to 20/21′ 
Supporting estranged students 
Stand Alone is running an interactive online discussion session looking at support for new and current estranged students going into the next academic year.
Information and registration via AMOSSHE:


8 July 2020: EPALE discussion: the future of adult learning

How do you imagine the future of the adult education sector in the next five or ten years? On 8 July 2020 EPALE, the electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe, will host an online discussion on this topic together with Gina Ebner, Secretary-General of European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA).

How do you imagine the future of the adult learning sector in the next five or ten years?

What do you think will happen – and what would you like to happen?

What new challenges and opportunities will emerge?

Share your experiences, tips, case studies and good practices for the future of adult learning with the EPALE community!

Register or comment here. Comments opened on 29 June so participants can introduce themselves or post their comments in advance.


9 July 2020, 10.00-11.00: Aimhigher Insights. Free webinars for teachers and advisers

Fifth in a series of FREE Thursday morning online webinars through June and July from Aimhigher West Midlands for teachers and advisers, online via Zoom.

Session 1 (10:00 – 10:30) – The Clearing Process. Ben Stone (University College Birmingham). An overview of the UCAS Clearing process and key tips on how you can support your learners.

Session 2 (10:30 – 11:00) – Higher Education Q&A Panel. Representatives from a range of Higher Education Institutions will be available to answer your questions about university admissions this summer.

Book here.


14 July 2020, 15.00 hours: Turning words into actions: Eliminating racism and racial inequality in higher education, webinar Universities UK

How can universities harness the momentum behind the Black Lives Matter movement as a moment for tangible, permanent action to address racial inequality affecting students and staff? And what are the immediate and longer-term steps universities should be taking to address structural racism? This free webinar will look at how institutions can effectively take action to identify and implement change, and embed this across their university. Participants will hear lived experiences, as well as from university leadership and practitioners working to affect change in their institutions.

Chaired by Baroness Valerie Amos, Director of SOAS. The session will also help to inform ongoing work and new sector guidance being coordinated by Universities UK into tackling racial harassment at universities and addressing the BAME student degree-awarding gap. The session is open to all, but Universities UK is particularly keen to see attendance from those in management and leadership roles at UK universities and colleges.


15 July 2020 (previously advertised as 14th July), 13.30 to 14.30: ‘Avoid photocopying the past: re-designing HEIs to reduce inequitable outcomes for BAME students’, OU webinar
Much is still to be done across the sector to address the persistent and extreme inequity of outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students.  Most HE institutions (HEIs) are just starting to explore and make plans, whilst a small few are further along the journey and have lessons and some successes to share.  This event informs on progress made in some initiatives to develop inclusive frameworks.

At this webinar there will be presentations (with Q&A) from 5 HEIs sharing experience of their work to date. Time is allocated for an interactive session to share views, experiences, ideas, challenges and hopefully solutions! Programme of events and details of the presentations are on the poster aside.
Further information and joining instructions will be sent to you at least one week before the event.



20 July 2020: ‘Impact and implications that Covid-19 is having and will continue to have for mature and part-time learners and their access to higher education opportunities’, webinar, FACE (Forum for Access and Continuing Education)


First in a series of webinars hosted by the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) that will consider and explore the impact and implications that the pandemic is having and will continue to have for mature and part-time learners and their access to higher education opportunities. To register.


Presenters: Ann-Marie Karadia, Access Officer at The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), John Butcher, Director, Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation at the Open University.



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.


16 September 2020: Higher Education Sustainability Forum, Central London

The HE Sustainability Forum will provide the opportunity to discuss the future of sustainable development within the higher education sector. This Inside Government event will explore how universities can develop strategies and policies in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to create sustainable campuses through their leadership, students, research, estates, and partnerships. Delegates will hear from policy experts and leading universities on how to create sustainable institutions fit for the future.

Key Speakers Confirmed: Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser, Professor of Sustainability and Leadership, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chair of Trustees, EAUC; Jamie Agombar, Executive Director, Students Organising for Sustainability (SoS); Representative, National Union of Students (NUS); Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester and GuildHE Representative, The Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education Leaders; Joseph Alcamo, Director, Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP), University of Sussex; Claire Roxburgh, Energy and Environmental Manager, University of the West of Scotland; Dr Tammi Sinha, Director, Climate Action Centre, University of Winchester; Charmaine Morrell, Sustainable Development Manager, Nottingham Trent University.


16 -17 September 2020, 8.00 and 14.00: EPALE discussion: Basic skills learning provision

This online discussion will take place on this page on 16-17 September between 10:00 and 16:00 () CET and will be moderated by EPALE (the electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe) Thematic Coordinators of EBSN Graciela Sbertoli (Secretary General of EBSN) and Tamás Harangozó.

The discussion will include the following topics:

  • critical literacy
  • health literacy
  • financial literacy
  • numeracy
  • basic digital skills for the future.

Comments will be open on 7 September so participants can introduce themselves or post their comments in advance.


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).

(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.)


4 November 2020: Lifelong Learning: Raising standards of adult education, Inside Government, central London

COVID-19 has left 8.4 million people on furlough in the UK and with the threat of a recession looming, it is vital that investment is made in adult learning to upskill individuals and mitigate the number of people left unemployed.

This event will offer key insights into how you can develop effective training programmes and create a multi-skilled workforce in line with a changing labour market. Discussion will also be had on how to access funding, whilst learning how to improve adult learning opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Speakers include: DfE, Social Mobility Commission, Education and Training Foundation, the OU, CBI, Learning and Work Institute.


5-6 November 2020: 2nd International conference on the Mentally Health and Well-being of Postgraduate Researchers, University of Brighton

As a sector we are awake to the complexities of mental health & wellbeing and the interrelation of staff and researcher wellbeing. In 2019 PhD candidates reported concerns about anxiety at a significantly higher level than undergraduates. While another study two years later found over a third of respondents had sought help for anxiety or depression related to their PhD. Another study has found that supervising PGRs with mental health problems has a huge impact on a supervisors’ own psychological wellbeing.

This UKCGE International conference explores the latest developments in research and effective practices to support the mental health & wellbeing of postgraduate researchers and university staff. It’s clear that if we want to create mentally healthy postgraduate research communities, we must tackle the issue of poor research cultures. To do this, we must prioritise the mental health & wellbeing of both staff and postgraduate researchers.


18 November 2020: Women in STEM conference, central London

Delegates will hear the latest policy updates and key insights from leading experts about supporting improved uptake of girls and women entering STEM education, industry and careers. STEM conference sessions will focus on strategies for enhancing diversity in STEM, supporting pipeline progression and creating a gender balanced workforce:

  • Discover strategies and steps that need to be taken to ensure gender equality, diversity and parity in STEM
  • Explore the role of women in emerging technologies and AI and how to ensure their progression within the industry
  • Share solutions and strategies for tackling the challenges of recruitment and retention of women within senior roles and positions in STEM
  • Support more girls and women to become mentors and STEM ambassadors to help support the progression of women through the pipeline.


25-26 November 2020: THE Live 2020

At THE Live 2020, after a year of immense challenge and change, we hope to bring together the UK’s university leaders, decision-makers in government, NGOs and the wider higher education community to connect, share ideas and make plans to support the sector’s strategic development.

This year’s THE Live, the UK’s must-attend higher education event on 25-26 November 2020, will discuss the most pressing issues facing UK universities:

  • Britain’s place in the global higher education system
  • the state of the UK HE market
  • financial challenges facing the sector
  • how to improve your workplace culture for staff and early-career researchers.

This year’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Symposium will also be happening at THE Live.


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

Now entering its 10th year the annual Access to Higher Education and Student Success Summit 2020, 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. This year we will cover:

  • The impact of Covid-19 on care-experienced and estranged students
  • The BAME attainment gap
  • Supporting students learning from home
  • Graduating into a post-Covid-19 world.

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”

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.


8 December 2020: Priorities for children in care in Scotland – next steps following the Independent Care Review, SPC policy conference

This full-scale conference is easily accessed online for full participation.

Speakers include: Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, The Scottish Government; Claire Burns, Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection; Martin Crewe, Barnardos Scotland; John Docherty, Largs Academy and Dr Helen Whincup, University of Stirling.


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