Access to HE Forum 2021

4th June 2021 Date of publication

With less than a week till our Access to HE Forum, this is the last chance to book a place on the event, please ensure you book your place no later than 12noon on Thursday 10th June 2021, please see below the Agenda for the event along with the details of the fantastic workshops that we have on offer for you.

The event will focus on current issues affecting Access to Higher Education. We have two amazing key note speakers; David Hughes, CEO of the AoC and Julie Mizon, Head of Access at QAA to explore and discuss the current adult education climate and Access in particular. We also have a fabulous and diverse series of workshops for you to attend, so get those seats booked!

We will also be celebrating the achievements of all those involved in the qualification with our Access to HE Awards. This year we will not only be recognising the achievements of the wonderful students but also providers themselves and HE institutions too! This is a real highlight and something not be to be missed.

As we are still not able to conduct our business face to face safely yet, we will be providing a networking opportunity at the end of the event to enable you to meet with other Access to HE providers, representatives from Higher Education Institutions, moderators and other stakeholders.

One Awards Access to HE Forum – Agenda

09:30am Welcome: Fabienne Bailey, Managing Director, One Awards

09:45am Keynote speech: Julie Mizon, Access Manager, QAA

10:30am Comfort Break/Networking

10:45am Keynote speech: David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

11:15am Workshop Session 1 - please see details of workshops below

12noon  Lunch/ Networking

1:00pm  Access to HE Awards

2.15pm  Comfort Break/Networking

2:30pm  Workshop Session 2 - - please see details of workshops below

3.15pm  Networking

3.45pm  Event Close

Workshop Information - booking link at the bottom of the page

Workshop One 11:15am - 12noon, please see the three options listed below:.

Designing excellence into student engagement in online spaces, Dr Ann Thanaraj and Paul Durston, Teesside University

Teaching practitioners are experts in the craft of education, delivering complex modules in engaging and meaningful ways in the classroom and support students learning for their futures through various active and experiential modes of research-informed approaches, to construct learning and gain confidence to mobilise this.

Our presentation will focus on online learning spaces for online and blended delivery and there are many questions: How do we keep our students motivated and actively learning? How do we know they are actually understanding and learning? What constitutes excellence in student engagement in quality online learning? How can we support teaching practitioners to design effective learning experiences?

We have developed a set of practical tools for teaching practitioners and leaders to embed readily into their course design and development through the Systematic Learning Design used at Teesside University.

How are you....Thriving, striving or barely surviving? Julie Henderson, Senior Student Counsellor, Education Partnership North East

The workshop explores how current times are impacting on levels of anxiety, stress and depressive symptoms, as according to MIND (2020) over half of adults (60%) and two thirds of young people (68%) say the current pandemic and lockdown has had a profound negative impact on their mental health.

The workshop will explore triggers and provide an easy to use tool to identify key indicators, which can highlight a decline in positive mental health. Actions required to improve positive mental wellbeing in the form of self help strategies and interventions are explored, including interactive visual exercises that can be beneficial for overall positive wellbeing.

The ABC of the DTR (Desktop Review), Jennie Lawson, Head of Quality, One Awards

As we approach the end of another academic year the new one comes into focus, along with the annual Desktop Review (DTR) of Access to HE provider assessment planning. One Awards publish the DTR guidance and resources in June each year and the document submission is due by the 30th September. The DTR is no mean feat, however, a well planned process, especially one involving the whole team, can lead to a great experience for students, successful outcomes from moderation and the ongoing quality improvement of the programme overall.

During this workshop we will share the good practice developed by experienced providers and top tips from Lead Moderators to focus on the key elements of a successful DTR.

Workshop Two 2:30pm - 3:15pm, please see the three options listed below:

'FE Research Mini Meet’ - Natalie Morris, Samantha Jones and Rebecca Bell, Bedford College

FEResearchmeets ( are a growing practitioner-led movement to share and develop research in the further education sector.

Come and join us for a ‘mini meet’, find out more about what a researchmeet is and how to get involved. Dip you toe in with workshops from practitioner-researchers with an Access background Natalie Morris and Rebecca Bell and start to feel part of the ‘researchmeet community’.

The highs and lows of learner-led assessment

Most of us will have wondered why some students just keep missing the mark on first submissions. You’ve explained what to do numerous times, you’ve provided them with a detailed assignment brief and you’re confident they understand the subject matter. So what is going wrong? A small action research project tested out allowing the students to design their own assessments to address this, with some promising results. A reduction in resubmission rates, which also impacted future assessments, was one of the benefits but there are certainly pitfalls too. This short session will outline how it was done and some of the results, as food-for-thought.

Flexible assessment for online and blended delivery - Dr. Sam Elkington, Teesside University

A focus on ‘flexibility’ in assessment has been vital for a higher education sector in a state of flux and follows calls to develop greater flexibility in assessment that is about responding to students’ individual learning needs as well as needs of the curriculum.

The key is making assessment relevant to the learner. The proliferation of learning technologies and tools coupled with increasing diversification of learner profiles and pathways through our courses through blended and online provision provides the context for developing flexible assessment. Here technology is a key enabler for a personalised and active blended learning experience.

This workshop will explore some of the key design and practical considerations for developing and deploying flexible assessment, as well as implications for how the resources devoted to assessment and feedback might be reconfigured (even reimagined) to support student learning.

Supporting students from the start of their access course through their first year of university, Becky Heaton and Michael Hedley, Northumbria University

This workshop will look at some of the student journey from beginning the Access to HE Diploma, through to finishing their first year of university. We will discuss some of the most common challenges during this time, considering both academically and socially, and the current support universities offer during this period for your students. We will share some examples of strategies and initiatives available to support your students during this journey and look forward to discussing how these compare to your provision or could be implemented in your institution. Through these discussions we hope to further develop best practise in this area and consider how universities can further support you.

Click here to book your place and make your workshop selection

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