Public Seminar Series on ‘Student Access to University’ Announced

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Category: News

Group of higher education students

Access to higher education is a major social issue in the UK as in most countries. Overall participation in the UK is moving towards 50 per cent of the school leaver age group but non-white students, state school students and students from disadvantaged regions of the UK are under-represented in academically elite universities. This pattern affects entry, completion and outcomes in graduate labour markets. Access to the University of Oxford is a persistent debate. Must universities choose between high standards and socially equitable admissions, or can we have both? What is the scope for change?

In Hilary Term 2019 the Oxford Department of Education will hold a five-part seminar series on ‘Student Access to University’ at venues across the University. We believe that the public discussion of access can move forward by bringing to it a research-based treatment. At the same time, reasoned and data-driven approaches to these vital issues will help us to reflect on the scope for development and reform at Oxford and in the country as a whole.

The scheduled dates for the seminars are Monday 14 January, 4 February, 11 February, 25 February and 4 March 2019, with the seminars running from 5 pm to 6.30 pm. Speakers will include experts from across the University and the Higher Education sector, including, Jo-Anne Baird (Director and Professor, Department of Education, University of Oxford), Samina Khan (Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Oxford), Chris Millward (Director of Widening Participation, Office for Students), Paul Wakeling (University of York), Simon Marginson (Professor of Higher Education, Department of Education, University of Oxford) and Vikki Boliver (Director of Research, Professor and Deputy Head of Department of Sociology, Durham University). There will be ample opportunity for full public participation in discussion.

The full programme details can be found here.

The Department of Education’s Public Seminar Series are held on a termly basis throughout the academic year and are designed to engage wider audiences in topical research areas across the department. Seminars are free to attend and open to all. Each series is convened by a member of the department and seminars are held on most Mondays during term from 5pm. Speakers include a wealth of academics from across the department and the wider University, as well as internationally recognised professionals from across the globe. All upcoming seminars are publicised, in advance, on the department’s event pages. Visit:

2019 will mark the department’s 100th anniversary since becoming a University department, in 1919. To celebrate this milestone, a year-long series of themed activities will be delivered, starting with the Public Seminar Series on ‘Student Access to University’. If you have an interest in the future of education and would like to be kept informed of our anniversary activities, join our mailing list to receive the top news, publications and event opportunities for the forthcoming year and beyond.