Reversing The Decline in Part-Time Study: Offering Flexibility & Support to Improve Accessibility

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education
  • Professor Claire Callender, Professor of Higher Education, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr John Butcher, Associate Director: Curriculum & Access, The Open University
  • Jane Fawkes, Deputy CEO & Vice Principal, Strategy & Business Management, University College of Estate Management
  • Stella Jones-Devitt, Head of Student Research & Evaluation, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Ann-marie Steel, Senior Lecturer in Leadership & Management, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Further speakers tbc


The most recent HESA figures show a 6% year-on-year drop in the number of part-time undergraduate students at English universities. This fits into a longer term trend of decline. With part-time students more likely to be from under-represented groups, this has serious implications for accessibility & participation.

Join Westminster Briefing on 5 October for an up to date brief on measures to reverse the decline in part-time study. We will examine the recent decline to better understand it, discuss what can and is being done about it and learn from leading institutions about how they are bucking the trend. Focus will be placed on actions HEIs can take to offer greater flexibility & support.

Key Issues to be Addressed Include:

  • The relationship between part-time study, accessibility & participation
  • Understanding reasons for the decline & doing something about it
  • How part-time higher education supports UK Government priorities
  • How the decline can be tackled by UK Government & institutions
  • Engaging potential part-time students & educating them about financial support available
  • Making courses more flexible to fit the needs of part-time learners
  • Engaging & retaining part-time learners
  • Providing a better offer for mature & part-time learners
  • Developing & implementing processes to aid more flexible learning

The Event:

The morning sessions will focus on understanding the decline in part-time study, why it matters and what can and is being done about it.

The afternoon session will be an opportunity to learn from leading institutions about what they are successfully doing to boost part-time student numbers.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone with an interest in part-time study or responsibility for improving access, including: widening participation teams; admissions; student services; equality officers; academic leads & course designers; and administrators.

To discuss event sponsorship, speaking opportunities & agenda content, please email:

Thursday 5th October 2017

Thursday, 5th October 2017

Event to be held in Central London (venue tbc)

Public Sector | 1 Place: £245 | 2+ Places: £195 each
Private Sector | 1 Place: £295 | 2+ Places: £245 each
Above prices exclude VAT

Background Quote

“Part-time students are more likely to be from groups under-represented in higher education, so this continuing decline should be very concerning to all those involved in efforts to widen participation. The opportunity to study part-time can open doors to people who were not able to go straight into higher education after school. Nobody’s route to a second chance at study should be blocked by a lack of courses that suit their needs.”

- Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, Jan 2017

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