Birkbeck student to represent higher education students nationally

Lizzie Pace will sit on the student panel of the government’s new regulatory body for Higher Education, the Office for Students.

Birkbeck student Lizzie Pace has been selected to be part of the student advisory panel for the Office for Students (OfS) – a new public body to regulate the higher education sector and promote high-quality teaching and choice for all students nationally.

The role of the student panel is to represent the student view in the development of the OfS, and Lizzie will be one of just 13 panel members following a nationwide application and competitive interview process. Other members of the panel include Shakira Martin, President of the National Union of Students; Xenia Levantis, President of Norwich University of the Arts Students’ Union; Alice Richardson, a sixth form student from the North West of England; and Chad Allen, PhD student at the University of Cambridge.

Lizzie left school at the age of 16 and embarked on a career in the British Army as a logistician and soldier. Working globally, including an operational tour of Afghanistan, she had lived and worked in Cyprus, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Gibraltar and France before returning to the UK and embarking on the part-time Higher Education Introductory Studies course at Birkbeck.

Lizzie, like many Birkbeck students, has not followed a traditional pathway to higher education and so offers a particularly meaningful voice to the panel. Her appointment comes as loans become available from Student Finance England for part-time undergraduate students later this year.

She says: “I am delighted to be joining the student advisory panel for the OfS. The panel's role in shaping the future of the higher education system and its accessibility is an important one. I value the transformative, life-changing nature of education and this is one of the main reasons I am returning to higher education as a mature student.”

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of the OfS, commented on the announcement, saying:The panel has a crucial role to play as we work to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. Effective student engagement is a top priority for the OfS, and the panel’s advice and expertise will help us to shape our policy and approach.”

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