Susan McGrath Susan began her career teaching psychology across the post-16 sectors, including further and adult education, a selective sixth form, the Open University and the WEA: a breadth of experience that amply demonstrated the sharp contrasts in opportunity and progression. A move into the university sector with responsibility for recruitment and admissions fuelled a growing concern that inequalities in access to information, advice and guidance had a strong impact on the outcome of UCAS applications. The widening participation agenda of the New Labour era, combined with Susan's broad teaching experience, supported a decade of successful WP initiatives that spanned primary pupils to adult learners, and showed how the playing field could be levelled. In 2010, Susan returned to study, completing a PhD that filled a gap in the research field - understanding how young people pick just five courses from thousands of options for their UCAS form. A sabbatical year as President of the IOE Students’ Union gave her first-hand understanding of the problems facing students as the WP agenda of the noughties was replaced by the austerity of the twenty-tens. This prompted a career switch from management into research, and Susan now divides her time between UP2UNI and the Centre for Post-14 Education and Work at the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, where she is an honorary research fellow.
Peter Millen Drawn to advice and guidance as a career by his failure ever to successfully access any, Peter has spent all his working life dealing with people thinking about whether or not higher education is for them. He allowed his parents to choose his A levels for him, went on to university to study the subject he disliked least, consequently emerging with a better idea than many of the value of making one’s own mind up on the basis of informed research and objective advice. Peter spent 29 years in the state secondary system, much of it in charge of post-16 advice and guidance, developing a system that secured 100% HE application success rates in an open access sixth form where student destinations ranged from Oxbridge to the local FE college. He then worked in Higher Education for nine years, leading and managing a range of progression projects hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University and funded variously by the LSDA, all five northwest LSCs, Aimhigher Northwest, and Aimhigher Greater Manchester. The unifying theme across these projects was the practical support they gave to professionals with responsibility for advising others on applications to HE, including teachers and tutors who found themselves doing this despite having no training for the role. The scope of the projects encompassed schools, colleges, WBL providers and Unionlearn Reps receiving training under the auspices of the TUC.
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