Jo Johnson joins Wadham Social Mobility Summit

12th January 2017

News, Student news, Alumni news

Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, will join the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Professor Louise Richardson, at Wadham College’s Social Mobility Summit at the House of Lords on 24 January.

Jo Johnson and Louise Richardson will be taking part in a panel discussion with Warren East CBE, CEO of Rolls Royce (Engineering, 1980), Ken Macdonald QC, Warden of Wadham College and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg (History, 1958).

Panellists will be reviewing the findings of the latest research on social mobility, the challenges and potential solutions to increasing social mobility in the UK. Access to the UK’s most competitive universities, government policy on education, student retention, graduate outcomes, the role of employers and the need for collaborative action will be key themes of discussion.

Wadham College at the University of Oxford is working to become a beacon for fair access in higher education. The College aims to demonstrate that fairness in education is not about lowering standards or compromising meritocracy, it is about seeking out and nurturing the best talent, wherever that might be found. To achieve this, Wadham has embarked on a strategy to deliver its own access work to greatest effect, and to also facilitate debate within the higher education sector in the UK.

Wadham’s Social Mobility Summit will be an opportunity to hear different perspectives on this important and challenging area of policy, and for Wadham alumni to contribute views and opinions. In collaboration with The Bridge Group, an independent policy association researching and promoting access to higher education, Wadham is evaluating the impact and effectiveness of its access and outreach work in order to understand how the College can most effectively contribute to widening access to Oxford in the years to come. The College’s Access to Excellence Programme is designed to build a brilliant and diverse student community, reaching out beyond the traditional recruiting grounds and supporting young people from the moment they consider university, through their undergraduate and graduate studies, and as they go out into the world to make a positive impact on society.

Wadham College Social Mobility Summit speakers:
Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation
Melvyn Bragg (chair), Baron Bragg, of Wigton
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford
Warren East CBE, CEO, Rolls-Royce
Ken Macdonald QC, Warden, Wadham College (Lord Macdonald of River Glaven)


Wadham College staff Dr Peter Thonemann, Fellow and Tutor for Access, and Emily Cannon, Access and Outreach Officer, will be joining the event to answer questions about the specifics of Wadham’s access work to date and to outline plans for the future.

Palace of Westminster image by David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Speaker biographies

Jo Johnson MP
Jo Johnson was appointed Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation in July 2016.

He was elected the Member of Parliament for Orpington in May 2010 and re-elected in May 2015. Jo began his schooling in Brussels, at the European School in Uccle, before attending Ashdown House School in East Sussex, and then Eton College. In 1991, he went to Balliol College, Oxford to study Modern History. A French speaker, Jo did his postgraduate studies in Europe and has degrees from 2 further European universities. He was head of the Downing Street Policy Unit and served as Minister of State at the Cabinet Office from July 2014 until May 2015. He served as an Assistant Government Whip from September 2012 until July 2014. He also served as Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office from April 2013 until July 2014. Jo joined the Financial Times in 1997, after working as an investment banker at Deutsche Bank. He had 2 foreign postings with them: firstly as Paris correspondent (2001 to 2005), and then as South Asia Bureau Chief based in New Delhi (2005 to 2008). In 2008 he became an Associate Editor of the Financial Times and Head of the Lex Column.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Professor Louise Richardson became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford on 1 January 2016.

A native of Ireland, she studied history in Trinity College, Dublin before gaining her PhD at Harvard University where she spent twenty years on the faculty of the Harvard Government Department and latterly as Executive Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Between 2009 and 2015 she was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, during which time she served on Scotland’s Council of Economic Advisers. She currently serves on the boards of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Booker Prize Foundation and numerous other charities. Widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost experts on terrorism and counter-terrorism, her book What Terrorists Want, is widely accepted as one of the most influential in the field.

Warren East CBE, CEO Rolls-Royce
Warren East was appointed to the Board of Rolls-Royce as a Non-Executive Director in January 2014.  He served as Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee before succeeding John Rishton as Chief Executive Officer on 3 July 2015. He is a Non-Executive Director of Dyson Limited.  Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, Warren worked for ARM Holdings plc joining in 1994 and was Chief Executive from 2001-2013.

Warren is a chartered engineer, a companion of the Chartered Management Institute, Vice President and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.  He is also a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society.   Warren holds a master’s degree in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford, and an MBA from Cranfield University.  He also holds honorary doctorates from Cranfield University and Newcastle University.  In 2007, Warren was named Business Leader of the year at the National Business Awards and was named in Barron’s list of the world’s best 30 CEOs in 2011 and 2013.  He was made CBE in the 2014 New Year Honours list for services to Engineering and Technology.

Warren is the Chair of the Development Council at Wadham, and he is also involved with fundraising at Monmouth School and at the Cambridge Science Centre.

Melvyn Bragg, Broadcaster, Author and Journalist
Melvyn Bragg began his broadcasting career at the BBC in 1961. He has written several award-winning novels – The Soldier’s Return, The Maid of Buttermere, Remember Me and most recently Now Is The Time. His non-fiction work includes The Impact of The King James Bible. He has edited and presented The South Bank Show for the last 39 years and chairs In Our Time on BBC Radio 4.

Ken Macdonald QC
Lord Macdonald of River Glaven Kt QC became Warden of Wadham College in 2012. As Head of College, he chairs its Governing Body and oversees Wadham’s progress and development. Lord Macdonald’s aims include strengthening our international reputation for world class scholarship and research; making Wadham a beacon around the world for fair access by attracting the brightest young people from the widest variety of backgrounds; and building a graduate student community of the highest calibre with increasing numbers of funded places so that the scholarly opportunities offered here are available to everyone equipped to enjoy them, regardless of means.

Prior to arriving at Wadham, Lord Macdonald had practised at the Bar since 1978. A founder member of Matrix Chambers, he was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2001 and elected Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association in 2003. Later that year he became Director of Public Prosecutions, the first prominent defence lawyer to have been appointed to that post. In 2007, he was knighted for services to the law, and he has been Chair of the Council of the Orwell Prize since 2014.

Dr Peter Thonemann, Fellow for Access, Wadham College
Peter Thonemann has been the Forrest-Derow Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at Wadham College since 2007.  He has been the College’s Tutor for Access, overseeing the College’s access and outreach strategy, since 2014. 

He writes regularly on the ancient world for the Times Literary Supplement and the Wall Street Journal, and has written several books for a non-specialist readership, including The Birth of Classical Europe: A History from Troy to Augustine (Penguin, 2010, with Simon Price) and, most recently, The Hellenistic Age (Oxford, 2016).

Emily Cannon , Access and Outreach Officer, Wadham College
Emily joined Wadham as the Access and Outreach Officer in September 2014. Prior to this, she read her BA (Hons) in History at Pembroke College, Oxford, and her MA in Science, Technology, and Medicine in History at King’s College London. Throughout her time as a student, Emily involved herself in Access and Widening Participation work. This began at Pembroke College when she became Access Representative on the College’s JCR in her second year of study. Emily’s enthusiasm for – and dedication to – Access and Outreach comes from her own experience when applying to, and studying at, university. Having grown up in a small town on the Lancashire-Yorkshire border, Emily’s school and sixth form college had little history of sending students to Oxbridge. In her current role, Emily hopes to offer the support and guidance that all young people deserve when considering their futures, and to raise the aspirations of those who do not feel that they are ‘good’ enough to make a competitive application to university. She is also dedicated to ensuring that Wadham’s schemes will assist in preparing young people for the transition to university-style study.