National summit at University of Leicester focuses on adult learning

Posted by pt91 at Oct 10, 2016 11:42 AM |
Event on 25 November examines widening access, retention and success for mature learners

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 10 October 2016

The University of Leicester is hosting a national summit for mature learners in higher education.

The University provides mature/adult learning opportunities for thousands of people across the campus to study a combination of full-time, part-time, distance learning and short courses.

On 25 November the University will host a special one-day summit on widening access, retention and success for mature learners. The summit is being organised by NEON, the professional body for widening access and social mobility. Delegates will hear about successful initiatives, new research and panel discussions, and will engage in workshops and networking activities throughout the day including:

  • Reviews of the latest research into the progression, retention and success of mature learners
  • Talks from a range of practitioners working to support mature learners
  • Presentations of findings from a special NEON members’ report highlighting current practice that specifically supports this target group
  • Discussions around future strategies to ensure HEIs can make progress in this important area

Dr Hannah Ordoyno, Widening Participation Manager at the University of Leicester, said: “We welcome thousands of mature learners onto our campus each year. Whether through partnerships with local education providers or organisations such as the Workers’ Education Association, we work very hard to ensure that mature learners have clear and identified routes into courses at the University.

“Our own Widening Participation Team are featured speakers on the day – Dr Hannah Ordoyno, Widening Participation Manager and Charlotte Barratt, whose role is focused on supporting mature learners – will be exploring decision-making, transition and student support for mature learners, something which they are working hard on throughout the year.”

Other speakers include:

Caroline McDonald – Head of Widening Access, Birkbeck, University of London

Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas – Research Fellow/Project Manager Athena SWAN, Birmingham City University

Dr John Butcher – Senior Lecturer/Deputy Director Access and Curriculum, Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships, The Open University

M.J. Morgan – Careers Education & Guidance Officer, Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds

Paul Devlin – Student Experience Officer, Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds

Martin Webster – Operations Manager, NEON

Steve Kendall – Chair of Executive Committee, NEON

The University provides more than 100 distance learning courses which provide an excellent opportunity for people to study around their other commitments and also has a number of free online MOOCs to give people a taste of our programmes in an easy and accessible way. The University also continues to run a number of part-time and professional development courses across our disciplines.

In 2014/15:

• 6,184 part-time and distance learners were taking courses with us (2014/15 Annual Review), many of whom are mature learners (388 UG, 3508 PG across the the University).

•       3,744 learners were taking short courses run by Departments across the University. These are for professional and leisure learners and range from a course on Cancer Chemotherapy for NHS staff to arts workshops at Attenborough Arts Centre.

• The University offers more than 18 part-time Languages courses and many CPD/short courses across the Institution.

• The University is currently running four MOOCs and 119,188 students have participated so far. Online is one of the key trends in post-experience learning and our MOOCS are scalable in a way that classroom delivery is not, and are far more flexible in terms of study patterns.

In 2015-2016 there were 447 mature full-time students taking UG courses across all years and in 2016-2017 the figure is closer to 500 across all years.


Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact:

Dr Hannah Ordoyno

Widening Participation Manager


More on Widening Participation at Leicester

The University’s School and College Services:

Charlotte Barratt:

Prof Emma Smith:

Hannah Ordoyno:

WP award for DICE:

WP summit:

Jean Baxter NEON award:

WP Law programme:

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