HEA and DFHERIS host 7th National Access Forum

Maura O'Shea

By Maura O'Shea

Posted: 22 April, 2024


22 April 2022

The 7th National Access Forum takes place today in Dublin. Hosted by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS), this annual event is a key date in the national education calendar and provides an opportunity for stakeholders to come together to discuss key issues and developments relating to access and to share best practice. Almost 150 stakeholders are attending this year’s Forum.

The 2024 Forum is focused on the Inclusivity goal in the National Access Plan (2022-2028). The Inclusivity goal underpins all aspects of the higher education system, embraces diversity in the student population, and aims to provide all students with an accessible, supportive and inclusive higher education experience while creating a sense of belonging for students.

Today’s Forum features lightning talks, panel sessions and presentations, and opportunities for stakeholders to interact and provide feedback on progress toward the ambitions of the National Access Plan. The agenda for the 2024 Forum is available here.


The Mentoring and Role Modelling Lightning Talk is inspired by Objective 1.1 of the National Access Plan (2022-28) – To support students from priority groups to access higher education and have an inclusive experience with a successful outcome. With a focus on the students’ voice and experience, the session brings together mentors and mentees from across higher education institutions to talk about the mutual benefits of mentoring programmes and how these programmes foster students’ sense of belonging in higher education and enhance educational journeys.


The National Access Plan identifies students with experience of the care system as underrepresented in higher education, and the Forum seeks to enhance stakeholder understanding of the particular ‘Barriers to Participation in Higher Education for Care Experienced Students’. The Central Statistics Office is presenting on the Educational Attendance and Attainment of Children in Care (2018 – 2023) Report. Stakeholders from government departments and advocacy organisations, alongside researchers and students with lived experience of the care system, will share their perspectives and experiences.

Keith Moynes, Assistant Secretary General, DFHERIS, is delivering the opening address and the HEA is presenting on progress to date in the implementation of the National Access Plan.

A report of the event will be prepared and published later in the year.

More: DFHERIS, HEA, National Access Forum

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