further & higher education

Student Housing Forum 2020

further & higher education

08:45 - 16:00

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only.

This Forum provides attendees with the invaluable opportunity to hear from leading organisations and best practice case studies from across the Higher Education sector on how to improve the quality of housing and accommodation services for students. Attendees will hear from leading stakeholders, including The Association for Student Residential Accommodation, The Universities Safety and Health Association and the NUS. Furthermore best practice case studies will discuss how the provision of accommodation affects the student experience, and how best to improve the the supply, affordability, and quality of housing as a means of remaining at the forefront of students considerations in an increasingly competitive market.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Higher Education sector. Typical job titles will include:

  • Directors of Estates
  • Heads of Accommodation Services
  • Student Housing Managers
  • Business Development Managers
  • Directors of Student Services
  • Heads of Student Experience
  • Heads of Estate Development
  • Directors of Facilities Management
  • Heads of Quality Standards
  • Student Experience Managers
  • Heads of Student Support
  • Property Advisers
  • Heads of Campus Services

This Forum is also open to the Private Sector to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Karen Burke, Chair, Association for Student Residential Accommodation (ASRA)
  • Cathy Day, Vice-Chair and Boardmember, The Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA)
  • Eva Crossan-Jory, Vice President for Welfare, National Union of Students (NUS)
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Paloma Lisboa, Head of Campus Operations, King’s College London (invited)


Morning Keynote: Exploring The Link Between Effective Management of Student Accommodation and Improving The Student Experience

  • Outlining the expectations of The Student Accommodation Code, and how it benefits universities through encouraging continuous self-regulation and improvement
  • Demonstrating how to effectively communicate the Code to different audiences, ensuring consistency in its application
  • Emphasising the importance of being aware of the six main areas of the code, and their relation to improving the student experience
  • Examining how Guild HE worked in partnership with Universities UK to establish the code and the impact it has had on the student accommodation sector

Kate Wicklow, Policy Manager, Guild HE (invited)


Special Keynote: Promoting Collaboration as a Means of Providing High-Quality and Accessible Accommodation

  • Creating a collaborative network of professionals working within student accommodation across the education, public, and private sectors
  • Sharing insights on best-practice approaches which overcome key problem areas in this field, such as availability and affordability
  • Exploring ways to facilitate professional and sector development for management in the student accommodation sector, such as training on raising awareness of potential extenuating circumstances for students
  • Detailing the current and projected landscape of student accommodation plans, based upon the reports from the housing-related organisations and statutory boards that ASRA sit on

Karen Burke, Chair, Association for Student Residential Accommodation (ASRA) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Ensuring Affordability is Central to the University-Owned Accommodation Offer

  • Outlining how Edge Hill created a range of rooms and catering packages which were flexible depending on students requirements and budget, resulting in them winning the 2019 Best Value for Money Student Accommodation Award
  • Evaluating the range of options on offer, such as catered and en-suite, to match differing budget requirements
  • Sharing guidance on how Edge Hill effectively maintains the balance between quality and affordability when modernising residence halls
  • Examining how Edge Hill prioritised students’ wellbeing through ensuring they feel safe and facilitating socialisation

Winner – Best Value for Money Student Accommodation in the UK, National Student Housing Awards 2019

Kate McAdam, Head of Accommodation Services, Edge Hill University (invited)


Case Study: Providing the Highest-Rated Accommodation by Students in the UK

  • Evaluating the factors which contribute to the accommodation halls being consistently highly rated by students
  • Utilising partnerships in the private sector, such as Unite Group and Student Beehive, to provide a larger and more accessible range of accommodation options for students
  • Understanding how to address specific needs and circumstances of students, such as a disability or studying abroad, in the design of accommodation
  • Generating an inclusive community atmosphere, through a dedicated Campus Living department and individual hall social committees

Winner – Best Learning Environment, National Student Housing Awards 2019

Elaine Spary, Accommodation and Customer Services Manager, Loughborough University (invited)


Case Study: Delivering Award-Winning Accommodation Services, Facilities and Design

  • Maximising a partnership with UPP to invest £180 million in the redevelopment of over 4,000 rooms on campus based upon the eco-residence model, which has become a core approach to improve the sustainable student living and experience elsewhere
  • Analysing how the accommodation design and comprehensive support provided by the College Managers improve the student experience
  • Establishing the importance of responding to students’ feedback on elements to be improved in student halls, evidenced by the recent successes in Pendle College and Grizedale
  • Supporting students who live off-campus to find high-quality, affordable homes with reputable landlords through Lancaster University Homes

Winner – Best University Halls, National Student Housing Awards 2019

Finalist– Best Customer Service, National Student Housing Awards 2019

Candace Davies, Head of Accommodation, Lancaster University (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Ensuring Robust Health and Safety Standards Across University-Owned Accommodation

  • Outlining the work undertaken by The Universities Safety and Health Association, including proving guidance on leadership and management within health and safety and university-owned accommodation 
  • Highlighting key health and safety areas which must be covered by a universities accommodation strategy, including fire safety, drug use and mental health
  • Sharing guidance on how universities can effectively promote health and safety measures within their student accommodation teams and across university-owned housing/halls

Cathy Day, Vice-Chair and Boardmember, The Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Providing a Students’ Perspective on Experience of Accommodation at University

  • Outlining how the student experience, welfare, and student accommodation are inextricably linked and now form a core part of the university experience
  • Providing context to the recommendations made in the Homes Fit for Study report
  • Evaluating the lessons learnt from the implementation of these recommendations, and considering how these may change with the evolving higher education market
  • Looking to the future: The next steps in creating effective policies which improve students’ experiences of accommodation whilst at university

Eva Crossan-Jory, Vice President for Welfare, National Union of Students (NUS) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Embedding Effective Student Wellbeing Support into University Accommodation Services

  • Outlining how Student living at the University of Derby created a strong wellbeing agenda across the accommodation team, where all staff fully understand their duty of care responsibilities and strive to have a positive impact on the student experience
  • Sharing lessons on how accommodation teams can ensure help and support is available across all their properties, including halls and private residencies
  • Examining how the University of Derby embed the input of students in designing and implementing accommodation services to ensure their views and wellbeing needs are being met

Winner, Best Student Wellbeing, Best Customer Service and Best Environmental Management

Stephen Ward, Customer Services Manager, University of Derby (invited)


Case Study: Utilising Alternative Accommodation Models to Support and Integrate International Students

  • Examining the qualities which lead to consistently winning awards for providing specialist and inclusive student accommodation
  • Developing the charity as a business model which allows rent prices to be 40% below market value and offer a hardship fund
  • Encouraging students to develop a community through a unique application form which asks for students’ contributions and a range of subsidised trips and events
  • Working in partnership with local universities to offer over £1 million offered a year in residential scholarships

Martin Chalker, Chief Executive, International Student’s House (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chairs Closing Address

*programme subject to change

The cost of renting student accommodation in the UK has increased by nearly a third in six years, according to the Accommodation Costs Survey, 2018. This accounts for 73% of the maximum student loan. Despite it’s growing costs, standards of quality remain low, with one in five students renting private accommodation reporting that they live in squalor and reported mice, slugs and other vermin.

This is compounded by the fact that 67% of females and 48% of males are struggling to cope with stress, as outlined in the Annual Student Experience Survey 2017 commissioned by UPP.

The notion of the ‘student experience’ is becoming increasingly important as a marker of success in university metrics, with HEPI’s 2017 Student Academic Experience Survey linking a feeling of not getting ‘value for money’ and low wellbeing as part of the student experience. It is clear that accommodation quality and services play a pivotal role in the experiences of students, from influencing financial pressures to creating a supportive community.

Furthermore, with a growing number of universities now commissioning private companies to provide student accommodation, a set of new regulations were established in March 2019, which would give students the right to take their landlords to court if they failed to address serious defects, such as mould and safety hazards. The Universities Minister, Clive Skidmore, also called on universities to consider social value when contracting out such services.

In order for UK universities to remain internationally competitive, improving the student experience must be at the heart of their operation. Addressing the issues surrounding affordability, supply, and quality of housing and its related services through responding to students’ concerns and thinking innovatively to maximise the use of the higher education estate is of paramount importance.

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