Ucas chief to depart for vice-chancellor role

Clare Marchant to join University of Gloucestershire after six years leading the admissions service

June 7, 2023
Source: Ucas

Ucas’ chief executive is to leave the UK’s admissions service after six years to take up a new role as vice-chancellor at the University of Gloucestershire.

Clare Marchant will depart later this year as Ucas continues to plan for an expected rise in the number of university applicants up to 2030, with demand for places boosted by changing demographics and continued interest from abroad.

She will replace Stephen Marston at Gloucestershire, who announced late last year that he would be retiring at the end of July 2023.

Ms Marchant led Ucas through the Covid-era disruption in university admissions and has overseen its expansion, doubling the number of students it supports each year to 1.3 million.

She recently announced a series of changes to the admissions process – including replacing the personal statement with a series of questions – and has also worked to put apprenticeship opportunities on an equal footing with traditional degree courses

Ms Marchant came to the role in 2017 without a background in higher education, having previously been chief executive of Worcestershire County Council and, prior to that, holding senior leadership roles as a digital delivery specialist with the Department for Health.

Ms Marchant said working at Ucas had been a “privilege and a joy”.

“I am most proud of the huge strides forward it has made in increasing the number of students supported each year, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds,” she added.

Nicola de Iongh, chair of council at Gloucestershire, said Ms Marchant had been a “transformative force during her time at Ucas, opening doors for so many people who thought that university was beyond their reach and leading on digital initiatives that have enhanced the student and staff experience.

“We are confident she will help us build on our many strengths to help us grow and thrive at a challenging time for our sector, working closely with our staff, students and partners to continue to identify and unlock our true potential.”

The chair of Ucas’ board of trustees, Trudy Norris-Grey, paid tribute to the outgoing chief executive, saying she had been a “dynamic and inspirational leader and a powerful advocate for higher education and apprenticeships”.

She said Ms Marchant “leaves Ucas in an incredibly strong position, with a talented and dedicated team and a clear focus for the future”.

Ucas said Ms Marchant would continue to lead the organisation during the coming clearing and offer-confirmation period, and the board would shortly commence the search for a new chief executive.


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Reader's comments (1)

Perhaps now is the time for the near monopoly UCAS has over managing the entry of students to Universities and increasingly, apprenticeships and possibly students applying for places on courses using Life Long Learning Loans, to be reviewed. The data they collect and store, over 1 million applications a year, has a high potential value. Perhaps we need more information about the people who manage the institution.


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