National Teachers and Advisers Conference

The 2019 National Teachers and Advisers Conference (NTAC) took place on Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at The University of Manchester.

In light of unprecedented changes within the HE sector, this one-day event explored key developments in the policy landscape and their impact.

The conference was designed to equip teachers and advisers with information and advice to prepare students for entry to higher education and will address the key topics of: offer making, admissions, student finance, graduate employability and best practice in the provision of information, advice and guidance (IAG) in schools and colleges.

Conference programme 

Keynote speaker

The keynote for the conference will be delivered by Nick Hillman, who has been Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute since 2014. Nick worked for the Rt Hon David Willetts MP the Minister for Universities and Science, from 2007 until the end of 2013 and as Chief of Staff and then Special Adviser in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Nick was previously a history teacher and has written for a range of think tanks and journals on access to schools and selective universities. We very much look forward to Nick sharing his insights with us at the conference.

Workshops and breakout sessions

20 trends to reveal the state of the youth nation

Presenter: Andreanne Orsier, Youthsight

Description of session: In this session, I will unpick 20 of the biggest youth trends and share their impact on the Higher Education sector, featuring robust data from YouthSight insight trackers. Myths will be debunked as we get under the skin of young people to understand what are their drivers and motivations, how they differ from older generations, and how to best engage with this savvy & demanding audience. 

Student finance

Presenter: Ahmar Ehsan, Student Loans Company

Description of session: This session will be delivered by Student Finance England and will offer information on Student Finance and Funding for 2019 onwards and give you some top tips for advising your students.

Unconditional love - offer making practices in higher education.

Presenter: Bernard Strutt, Head of UK Student Recruitment at The University of Manchester

Description of session: Government policy to introduce a market in higher education has resulted in changes in the expectations and behaviours of both students and universities. One notable consequence of these new market conditions has been a shift in university offer making practice, including the introduction of unconditional offers, which have grown exponentially in recent years. With reference to recent research and commentary, this session will explore the implications for the advice and guidance we provide to young people progressing to higher education and provide the opportunity to collectively reflect on alternative approaches to HE admissions.

Giving your students the competitive edge

Presenter: Paul Martin, Advancing Access

Description of session: This session will explore some of the different ways teachers can make sure their students have the competitive edge when making applications to leading universities. The session will cover qualification choice, personal statements and references. Examples of stronger and weaker personal statements will be provided and discussed. The free resources available on the Advancing Access website will also be demonstrated.

Towards a fit-for-purpose admissions process

Presenter: Dr Steve Jones, Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Institute of Education

Description of session: According to the most recent data published by the Higher Education Statistical Agency (2019), the proportion of state educated pupils is falling in half of Russell Group universities. Participation among the lowest socio-economic groups widens, but only very slowly. This session looks at the admissions process in the UK, focusing on the UCAS personal statement as an example of a non-academic indicator that is assumed to enhance fairness but which actually favours those already blessed with the most relevant social and cultural capitals. Evidence about the dispositions of young people from the least advantaged backgrounds is also explored, with the aim of imagining a university admissions process that would better serve applicants from all backgrounds and, in the longer term, address wider social injustices.

Confirmation, Clearing, and Adjustment – everything you need to know

Presenter: Charlie Smith, UCAS

Description of session: Join us as we explore how Confirmation, Clearing, and Adjustment work, and provide practical advice on how to successfully prepare and navigate these crucial phases of the UCAS application process.