We are excited to announce our first Keynote Speaker for the 2024 Conference.

Professor John McKendrick

Professor John McKendrick
Professor of Social Justice,
Glasgow Caledonian University

Commissioner for Fair Access
Scottish Government

Professor John McKendrick is Professor of Social Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University, where he co-directs the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit. He arrived at the university twenty-five years ago, having spent the first four years of his career at the University of Manchester. His work at the university was interrupted with two years on secondment to the University of Edinburgh (2002-2003 at the Centre for Families and Relationships).

Professor McKendrick was appointed Commissioner for Fair Access in January 2023 by the Scottish Government. The Commissioner is independent of government and responsible for leading a system wide effort to deliver fair access in Scotland, including the development of a framework for fair access. He provides impartial policy advice to the Scottish Government and other organisations and works across the entire education system to:

  • develop best practice
  • improve the evidence base
  • hold to account all those with a role in advancing fair access to higher education

His route to higher education was through Carmyle Primary School (Glasgow), Pennyburn Primary and Kilwinning Academy (North Ayrshire). He studied Geography at the University of Strathclyde, before heading across the city to complete a PhD at the University of Glasgow. Technically, the first in his family to go to university, he prefers to credit that family milestone to his mum who gained a teaching degree as a mature student at Craigie College of Education (now the University of the West of Scotland).
He is on the Child Poverty Programme Board and Scottish Attainment Challenge Programme Board and serves as a committee member on a number of anti-poverty initiatives and organisations.