How do we improve access and participation in higher education in an age of COVID-19?

How do we improve access and participation in higher education in an age of COVID-19?

Nick Hillman, Director of  HEPI has sent the following invitation to NCUP members and asks that we circulate this to colleagues

‘How do we improve access and participation in higher education in an age of COVID-19?’ on Wednesday 30 September at 2.30pm to 3.45pm

COVID-19 is having a radical impact on the way universities operate. Attention has had to be diverted from regular activities to focus on responding to the crisis. Meanwhile, the Minister for Universities at Westminster recently argued ‘social mobility isn’t about getting more people into university’. The cancellation of school exams has led to unprecedented changes to the system for accessing higher education, with last minute policy interventions to improve the fairness of the system.

It is not just the immediate impact. People applying to enter higher education next year will have missed significant amounts of teaching this year and a second wave of the pandemic could disrupt their learning further. It is clear that the knock-on impact of COVID-19 could affect the academic performance  of young people in the long-term.

Will the pandemic disrupt institutions trying to implement their Access and Participation Plans? What are the barriers to accessing HE during a pandemic? Will ‘blended learning’ exacerbate existing inequalities? How should universities respond and help to address these inequalities? How should we measure success in widening participation – access, retention and / or graduate outcomes?

At this event Chris Millward, the Director of Access and Participation at the Office for Students, will join us to make some opening remarks, following which we will hold a panel discussion with speakers to include Lee Elliot-Major, Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter; Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at Edinburgh Napier University; and Dr Liz Marr, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students) at the Open University.

To register for this webinar, please click on the following link:

After registration, you will be sent details on how to join the webinar. Please feel free to circulate this invitation to your colleagues.

Please note that places are assigned on a first come, first served basis. The session will be recorded and made available via the HEPI website for those who are unable to attend.