- Independent Higher Education Annual Conference 2022
- Independent Higher Education Annual Conference 2022
- Independent Higher Education Annual Conference 2021
- IHE 2020 Policy Live
- IHE networks and forums
Independent Higher Education Annual Conference
Tuesday 18 October 2022
No.11 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0AN
> Download the full Delegate Guide <
Agenda (subject to change)
09:15 Registration, refreshments, and exhibition
Session One – Plenary – Burdett Theatre
10:00 Welcome from Independent Higher Education
- Dr Roxanne Stockwell, Chair, Independent Higher Education
10:05 Independent Higher Education: Chief Executive’s Address
- Alex Proudfoot, Chief Executive, Independent Higher Education
10:15 Just look at the state we’re all in: British politics in 2022
- Jonn Elledge, Writer and Journalist
New Statesman columnist and author Jonn Elledge takes an irreverent and slightly bewildered look at the state of the political nation as the UK teeters on the edge of choppy economic waters, with the Government facing strong headwinds and stronger criticism as it seeks to steer the ship towards the promised land of growth.
10:30 Specialising in growth – the levelling-up power of specialist provision
- Chair: Joy Elliott-Bowman, Director of Policy and Development, Independent Higher Education
- Jonah Duffin, Director of External Relations, IDP Connect
- Elena Magrini, Head of Global Research, Lightcast
- Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer, Economy and Culture, Leeds City Council
- Neal Shasore, Chief Executive, London School of Architecture
‘Levelling Up’ can conjure images of grand projects festooned in red tape, out of reach for most independent higher education providers. In this session we re-imagine levelling up with a focus on productivity, industry collaboration, and creating opportunities for local students to stay local.
IHE and our partners IDP Connect and Lightcast will present initial findings from our joint research project exploring the potential for specialist provision, strong industry links and innovative approaches to power up local economies around the UK by teaching the skills needed for their industries to grow. Drawing on IHE member examples from Leeds to London, we will hear from those already collaborating and seeking opportunities to level up their local areas, while helping student tap into growing industries on their doorstep.
11:15 Refreshments, networking, and exhibition
Session Two – Plenary – Burdett Theatre
11:45 The Office for Students: regulating for high quality in a diverse sector
- Susan Lapworth, Chief Executive, Office for Students
In her first speech as the newly confirmed Chief Executive of the Office for Students, Susan Lapworth will set out details of their new approach to regulating student outcomes and the English regulator’s priorities for the year ahead. She will also address the challenge of regulating a diverse and ever-changing HE sector as it seeks to respond both to growing demand from students and to the economic uncertainty facing the UK today.
12:15 Ready for the one million – regulation in an age of unprecedented demand
- Chair: Jonathan Simons, Head of Education, Public First
- Rachel Hewitt, Chief Executive, Million Plus
- Alastair Delaney, Deputy Chief Executive, QAA
- David Kernohan, Acting Editor, Wonkhe
- Sophie McCarthy, IHE Board Member
The OfS is putting the finishing touches to its universal, risk-based regulatory framework for higher education in England, with the introduction of a new student outcomes condition build on clear-cut data points for measuring success the jewel in its crown. Meanwhile, demand for higher education is reaching record highs, and not stopping there, with UCAS forecasting one million applicants per year by 2026.
As lifelong learning comes of age, and new alternatives to a traditional degree come to market all the time, does the OfS focus on historical outcomes risk missing the boat? Will a cost of living crisis and looming recession scuttle the data ship in any case? We ask our expert panel how the higher education sector can meet the challenges of the moment; where the focus of regulatory effort should lie; how the interests of students of all kinds and across the UK should best be served; and what we might find ourselves sacrificing on the altar of big data.
13:15 Lunch, networking and exhibition
Session Three – Breakouts (14:00-14:50)
A. Improving the international student experience: a Charter for excellence – Maxwell
- Chair: Henry Tolley, Vice President, PSI – Skills for English
- Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive, UKCISA
- Sára Kozáková, #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador, UKCISA
B. The state of academic partnerships: risk and regulatory context – Edwards
- Chair: David Howells, Board Member, IHE
- Gayle Ditchburn, Partner, Pinsent Masons
- Ann Cotterill, Quality Enhancement Specialist, QAA
In 2017 the Open University, QAA and the IHE published our final report in a project exploring how we could create a better validation process for partners and regulators. Five years later a lot has changed, but there remain many unknowns for providers, regulators and stakeholders about how this vital part of the IHE sector works. To address the continuing uncertainty, IHE has partnered with Pinsent Masons to explore the shape of partnerships in 2022 in a broad project that will look at the experiences of the teaching partner, awarding partner and students to lift the bonnet and see how it all works.
In this session we will set out our proposals to shed light on the state of academic partnerships in 2022, through asking difficult questions of teaching and awarding partners, and exploring why students value learning in a partnership environment. Questions including, is there value for money across partnerships? How do we balance risk management and a collaborative approach in our partnerships? What benefits do students get directly from the partnership model? We will also hear from QAA, as they look more closely at the academic quality processes that support partnerships and how providers can most effectively manage risk – both from their partners and from the external operating environment.
C. Time to be business capable: enterprise architecture for higher education – Maynard 1
- Chair: Anna Mathews, Policy and Engagement Officer, Independent Higher Education
- Ian Anderson, Enterprise Architect, Ellucian
Globally, higher education is changing. To stay competitive, providers must continue to deliver value for students whilst making the most of limited staff resource. IHE members will need to respond to changing regulatory requirements, such as increased governance measures, as well as fresh demands on their workforce.
The session will look at mapping activities and removing duplication to create an efficient and joined up institutional ecosystem. Using examples from across the sector and from UCISA’s HE Capability Model, we will explore how even the smallest provider can meet these new challenges at a time when costs are rising.
D. Developing an independent model of access, participation and success – Burdett Theatre
- Chair: Ben Norris, Vice Principal, Futureworks
- Dr Omar Khan, Director, TASO
- Arwel Pritchard, Access and Participation Manager, Pearson College London
- Emma Thomas, Managing Director, Applied Inspiration
Independent higher education providers have a strong record and proud story to tell around increasing participation in higher education from non-traditional entrants. Curriculum and service delivery is often designed specifically to address the balance for widening-participation students. Employability becomes embedded in the curriculum, with support and soft skills forming part of the delivery rather than an add-on. This type of inclusive practice, pivoted towards those who traditionally would not go to university, is normal and natural in a specialist environment.
This session will step outside of the constraints of an Office for Students access and participation plan. What could an effective model of widening participation look like if the independent sector works together to define the criteria of success?
Session Four – breakouts (14:55-15:45)
A. Collaborating to support student mental health – Maxwell
- Chair: Sophie McCarthy, IHE Board Member
- Gaye Harrison, Head of College Services, University of Liverpool International College
- Judith Payne, Student Services Manager, SAE Institute
- John de Pury, Assistant Director of Policy, Universities UK
- Gordon Sweeney, Director of External Partnerships, Academy of Contemporary Music, Lead Provider on the Many Hands project
We have all become familiar with the idea of a whole-institution approach to supporting student wellbeing. For some, though, a whole institution is a really small place, and everything is approached in this way already through necessity of scale. How can resources and expertise be joined across providers to ultimately improve student outcomes through a pooling of means?
This session will look at some of the current themes being discussed in the area of student mental health in the HE sector, and draw together independent provider experiences of collaboration: locally, nationally, and with NHS services.
B. A new civic identity for independent higher education – Burdett Theatre
- Chair: Hema Tank, IHE Board Member
- Justin Shaw, Chief Executive, Communications Management
- Michael Lavery, Chief Executive, Brand and Reputation
- Philip McCormack, Principal, Spurgeon’s College
- Richard Elliott, Head of Professional Education, University Campus of Football Business (UCFB)
In higher education discourse, the role that institutions play within industry and in their local and national communities has long been considered a third mission – something to aspire to, but not core to their dual priorities of teaching and research. For many IHE members, however, it is at the centre of their origin, purpose and mission. Independent higher education providers have often grown from an industry or community need for a hub that brings together knowledge, support, training and passionate individuals. The recent push for a ‘civic university’ model has prompted a policy response seeking strategies and ambitious targets, but what does this mean for independent providers who have had a more organic approach?
Our panel of experts and members will explore how independent providers can demonstrate their ‘civic-ness’, why they should consider shouting more about what they do and not lose their way in a regulatory environment focused on the delivery of higher education delivery but not its wider purpose.
C. IHE Governance Code next steps: building an effective Board – Maynard 1
- Chair: Janet Rose, IHE Board Member
- Joanna Forbes, Legal Director, Shakespeare Martineau
- Dan Tinkler, Governance Development Manager, Advance HE
A year after the publication of IHE’s Code of Governance, our first selection of guidance is ready for publication. Focused on creating and supporting Boards, the guidance looks at designing and inducting top level boards including the role of staff, student and external experts.
Our panel will explore how independent providers approach this most important of our governance committees, and how to find the right balance of skills, externality, and stakeholders. The solutions were varied but must ensure that Boards are supported, as individuals and as a collective, to meet the needs of a changing and sometimes risky higher education environment.
D. Understanding the changing needs and choices of international students – Edwards
- Chair: Phil Deans, IHE Board Member
- Teona Droc, Customer Experience Manager (International), UCAS
- Haleema Masud, Policy Advisor, UCAS
- Ben de Witt, Head of Academic and Student Services, West Dean College
International student recruitment is a highly competitive and growing marketplace. Myriad by UCAS is a response to UCAS research on international applicants and student feedback. We know that international students continue to see the UK as an attractive and positive place to study, but they need additional support. Easy access to information is essential to help them make informed decisions about UK study. Myriad delivers this through a sustainable approach to Postgraduate applications, where students have instant access to information on funding, accommodation, English language and more.
At UCAS, we know that more than 1 in 10 international students are considering Higher Education abroad before their 11th birthday. This session will highlight findings from research that UCAS has undertaken on international students in the past year on what influences their choices and their experience in connecting to UK Higher Education. It will explore independent providers’ international student recruitment processes and help understand how to support and strengthen these.
15:45 Refreshments, networking, and exhibitions
Session Five – Plenary – Burdett Theatre
16:00 Collaborative strategies for international education success
- Chair: Catriona McCarthy, Director for Global Engagement, Ulster University and BUILA Vice Chair
- Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive, London Higher
- Jacqui Jenkins, Global Programme Lead for International Student Mobility, British Council
- James Pitman, Managing Director UK and Europe, Study Group
- Dr Esther Wilkinson, Head of International, Jisc
The UK offers a rich tapestry of educational opportunities to the world, aspiring to an excellent student experience across an unparalleled diversity of courses, subjects, and ways to learn. While the International Educational Strategy met its aim of 600,000 HE student a decade ahead of schedule, other goals seem further away and the UK has yet to unlock the power of internationalisation in supporting local economies or in widening access to specialist skills and higher technical education.
This panel brings together experts from across the sector who see collaboration as the answer, and that we need better tools to enable us to work together to meet the goals the strategy has set, yet remain unmet. From visas to digital tools, from regional to global collaboration, this panel will look at how the different strands of the international education strategy can be woven together towards common goals, for international and domestic student, as well as their wider communities.
16:50 Closing remarks
- Dr Roxanne Stockwell, Chair, Independent Higher Education
17:00 – 19.00 Drinks reception
17:00 A performance by Chickenshed Theatre: “Lived Experience and Inclusive Journeys”
This performance by alumni, students and staff will focus on expressing student thoughts and feelings about their lived experience and the impacts on their lives and journeys in education and society, both in terms of barriers and opportunities. It will have a mixture of spoken word, movement and music, representing every element of the student cycle including Pre Access, on course, progression and employment. The performance will show the power of a small independent provider to think on its feet and work for the widest possible range and lived experience of young people who make up our courses.
17:45 The Independent Higher Education Awards 2022