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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

The future of higher education: a public debate

This event will form part of IPPR's Commission on the Future of Higher Education. It will be the culmination of a day long visit by the Commission to the North East of England, where they will meet with staff and students from a number of higher education institutions in the region.

IPPR North offices, central Newcastle
Thursday 6 December, 5pm - 7pm

These are turbulent times for our higher education sector. Higher education is being asked to help drive economic growth, improve the skills of the workforce and raise social mobility. At the same time, the sector has been faced with the trebling of tuition fees, increased competition from overseas and the introduction of market reforms. So what is in store for the future of our universities and colleges? How can they respond to these challenges? Are they doing enough to ensure 'fair access' for disadvantaged pupils? What can they do to support economic growth?

Confirmed speakers include:

Professor Les Ebdon, Director, Office of Fair Access to Higher Education (Offa). Professor Ebdon started his role overseeing fair admissions to higher education in September 2012. He has publicly argued that elite universities could do more to ensure access to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Previously he was Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bedfordshire.

Roxanne Stockwell, Managing Director of Higher Education Awards, Pearson. This year, Pearson became the first FTSE 100 company to directly deliver undergraduate degrees in the UK.

Robin Parker is President of NUS Scotland. He took up his second term as President in June this year. Previously, he was President of Aberdeen University Students' Association.

Professor Chris Brink is Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University. Before taking up his position at Newcastle in 2007, Professor Brink was Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

This event is free and open to all. To book your place please email