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This year’s conference programme has three breakouts scheduled, with a choice of session available for each. Please choose between option A and B for each breakout.

11:20 - Breakout 1

1A) Student recruitment: UK trends and developments 

  • Margaret Farragher, Head of Policy and Qualifications, UCAS
  • Alison Berry, Head of Institutional Liaison, HESA
  • Boryana Peevska-Cutting, Director of Quality and Academic Policy, BPP University

This session will look at trends emerging from UCAS’ analysis of the UK applications cycle. It will also explore the impact of UK-wide qualification reforms on the future of admissions. In addition the session will review the impact on student choice of available data through UNISTATS and other high profile media. BPP University will provide a practitioner’s perspective on recent trends and how they tailored their provision and approach to recruitment in a changing student market.

1B) Working with agents: encouraging best practice

  • Helen Obaje, Professional Development Manager (Agents), British Council
  • Ian Smith, Visa and Accreditation Compliance Manager, Study Group

As the number of students seeking an international education rises, so too does the number of educational agents who can provide expert advice and guidance to those considering studying abroad. This session will explore the ways in which institutions can encourage best practice from the agents they work with. Delegates will be introduced to the British Council’s work in providing training for agents, learn from an experienced practitioner’s own knowledge of managing the institution-agent relationship, and find out how the two approaches complement each other in encouraging compliance, ethics and best practice. 

12:05 - Breakout 2

2A) Alternative Providers: Course Designation and Institutional Governance in HE

  • Nick Montagu, Chair, Committee of University Chairs (CUC)
  • Katherine Penry, Senior Higher Education Policy Adviser, Assurance Service, HEFCE
  • Rob Stroud, Senior HE Policy Adviser (Alternative Providers), HEFCE

The first year of the new Specific Course Designation process is complete and annual monitoring is now underway. In this session, HEFCE will provide an overview of the process for newcomers and take questions on the operational aspects of the course designation process from those more familiar. The newly appointed HEFCE liaison to Alternative Providers will also set out plans for further engagement with the sector. One requirement in designation is for providers to have appropriate institutional Governance arrangements in place. This will be an area of increasing policy interest over the next year and a likely candidate for inclusion within any new HE legislation. The CUC has recently completed work on a new Higher Education Code of Governance, which has been designed to help governing bodies meet and exceed the legal and regulatory requirements placed on HE providers in the UK. CUC’s Chair and the head of the Code’s Steering Group will speak about the principles of good governance it expresses and invite delegates to consider how these might be applied in Alternative Providers.

2B) The new GCSEs and A Levels: a University admissions perspective

  • Roseanna Cross, Head of Undergraduate Admissions, University of Bristol
  • Paul Teulon, Director of Admissions, King’s College London 
  • Rebecca Gaukroger, Director, Student Recruitment & Admissions, The University of Edinburgh

This session aimed at independent Sixth Forms will consider the implications of the changes to GCSEs and A Levels for University admissions. Representatives from Bristol, Edinburgh and King’s College London will explain how their Universities are likely to approach the new qualifications, and there will be time for you to ask them questions. Issues to be covered will include: use of GCSEs in selection process; the selection process after the de-coupling of AS levels; policy if AS results are declared; use of admissions tests; re-sit policy; use of predicted grades; policy towards more than 3 A Levels; policy towards EPQ; prior skills and experience needed for University.

15:10 - Breakout 3

3A) What do international students really want?

  • Marie Clark, Head of Marketing and Communications, Hobsons
  • Daniel Cunningham, Head of Client Services, Hobsons

International students have more choices than ever before and the competition for students is becoming increasingly complex. How do they decide where to study and what are the most important factors in their decision making? Where are your next students coming from and how can you ensure that they choose your institution? In the most detailed research of its kind, Hobsons, in conjunction with universities in the UK and Australia, investigated how students from all over the world make their decisions. You will also learn how best to communicate with potential applicants, how to build and maintain relationships with students throughout their applicant journey and how to track your success.

3B) Defining & developing your approach to employability: a framework for higher education institutions.

  • Doug Cole, Head of Employability and Enterprise, Northumbria University
  • Maureen Tibby, Consultant in Academic Practice, The Higher Education Academy

This session will be of interest to anyone involved in supporting graduate employability in terms of both policy and practice. Using presentation, discussion and activity, delegates will find out more about ‘The Framework for Employability’, which provides a process for reflecting on and addressing employability provision in a systematic and holistic manner. It seeks to stimulate and facilitate discussion and offer support to those addressing the challenge of embedding employability and engaging colleagues and stakeholders with this process. By the end of the session you will have been provided with an example of how the framework has been adapted and used in a HEI, exploring the challenges, barriers, opportunities and impact. You will also have experienced a staff development activity that utilises the framework and learned more about the role of the Higher Education Academy in supporting institutions to embed effective employability practice within the curriculum.