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SCAPP: Scotland's Community of Access and Participation Practitioners

What is SCAPP?

SCAPP (Scotland’s Community of Access and Participation Practitioners) aims to provide a practitioners’ network to support the development and professionalisation of a strong widening access and participation community in Scotland and by doing this embed, enhance and support effective practice in Scotland.


Events and getting involved

  • Join our mailing list by emailing
  • Follow us on twitter
  • Come to our events:



UPDATED 29 May 2020

Staff Mentoring Programme

One of the objectives of SCAPP is to explore and deliver learning and development opportunities for practitioners and a short life working group has met to discuss a number of options.

One key activity that we will be launching is a Staff Mentoring Programme for Widening Participation practitioners. Participating in a mentoring scheme can be immensely rewarding and an important and valuable part of personal and professional development whether you are at the beginning of your widening participation career or an experienced practitioner. The scheme will benefit from the wealth of expertise that exists across the WP community in Scotland and I hope that you may find this programme of interest whatever stage that you are in your career, either as being a mentee, a mentor or both.

To find out more we will be holding a short information session about the programme on Monday 15th June 2020 at 11am so that you can find out more about this opportunity which we hope to launch from September 2020.

If you are interested in finding out more please contact Muriel Alexander at the details below


Open Learning Champions Community

Please find information below from Gill Ryan, Open University Scotland, with some really useful Learning links that you, your colleagues and students may find useful.

New on Open Learn this week
The Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, has partnered with OpenLearn to create MSE’s Academy of Money, a new free course to help people master their finances. It’s made up of 6 x 2 hour sessions covering key aspects of personal finances – making good decisions, budgeting, borrowing, mortgages, saving and retirement (Introductory level, 12 hours).

There’s a similar course for young adults getting ready to live independently – Managing my money for young adults (24 hours, introductory level).

Microcredentials on Future Learn
There’s a new OU course called Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners starting on FutureLearn on 8 June (postgraduate level, 12 weeks). This is a microcredential course, which means it is worth credit towards a qualification and costs £475. Most FutureLearn courses are still free to join, but microcredentials are a new option being offered by universities around the world using platforms like Futurelean.

If your finances don’t stretch to that, there are lots of free resources on taking your teaching online:
The Online Educator: People and Pedagogy is running on FutureLearn just now (4 weeks) and is free to join (extra cost for certificate)
Take your teaching online on OpenLearn is all free, all the time (24 hours, Intermediate level)
OpenLearn has a collection of tips and free resources (from introductory to postgraduate level) covering distance learning, creating online courses and accessibility – How can you take your teaching online?

Our colleagues in the Open University Learning Design team have created a collection of collaborative online activities in a handy booklet (pdf).

This recent blog, by open educator Maha Bali, on the pedagogy of care (Covid-19 edition) is a lovely read about building care for your learners into every stage of online teaching and ensuring equity and justice.

What else is happening in Scotland?
SCVO and Third Sector Lab have been running DigiShift Zoom sessions for third sector organisations who are moving to online delivery. There is a themed one on Community Learning and Development on 4 June (book here). Check out SCVO’s events page for future dates / themes.

If you’re supporting anyone with care experience, you can now refer them to Who Cares? Scotland’s new counselling service. The sessions are being made available to care experienced people aged 12 years and over who are experiencing distress and are funded by the Scottish Government.

Reminder of useful resources
• OpenLearn collection of mental health and wellbeing resources
• OpenLearn family friendly hub
Furloughed workers resources (in partnership with SDS My World of Work)

As ever, please get in touch if you have any specific learning needs that we could help with. Remember to follow @OUScotland and @OUfreelearning on Twitter for updates and tweet us using #OLchamps


Gill Ryan | Access, Participation and Success (Scotland)
The Open University in Scotland, 10 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, EH3 7QJ
Tel: +44 (0) 131 549 7963 | |




Recordings of NEON Summit: Taking outreach online: delivering widening access to the HE work in the Covid-19 context. Thursday 30 April 2020

Please find recording below of the key part of this summit which took place on Thursday 30 April 2020. NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) have kindly enabled SCAPP to provide these recordings to share with practitioners. This was a timely summit in the context of Covid-19 and the sector’s response to the support and delivery of activities.

NEON is the professional organisation supporting those involved in widening access to higher education and has members across the UK. They provide a number of useful working groups and events relevant to our work. For further information about NEON and membership please contact NEON

Recordings of summit












Young Scot, the national youth information and citizenship charity for 11-26 year olds, offers very useful information not only about the coronavirus Young Scot Corona but also about general support, employment and voluntary opportunities and much more. Young Scot


For latest updates on Corona Virus and how it may affect applications please see UCAS website

For You

If you find you have time on your hands it might be an opportunity to learn British Sign Language. BSL are offering on-line “pay-what-you-can” courses ranging from £5 for full time students or those on low-no income, £10 for a Key Worker to £35+ which covers cost of enrolment for you and contributes to helping someone elses’s enrolment.

British Sign Language courses

For everyone

Mind the mental health charity have a very comprehensive website about the coronavirus and how to keep well for physical and mental health including activities to keep you occupied and tips on working from home. Worth a read

Working from home and leading a team

Whether you are leading a team, or are part of a team, and now find yourself at home interacting with everyone at a distance, Maren Deepwell has pulled together a really useful and readable guide to working from home and how to manage teams at a distance. While there are lots of blogs and reflective essays appearing all over Linked In, Facebook, etc, I found this one quite useful and straightforward

Keep on learning

Thanks to Gill Ryan from OU Scotland for supplying the following information:

As the schools and colleges close, and third sector and community learning projects end face to face contact, the OU have had a few enquiries about online learning opportunities. If you are an open learning champion, or if you would like to spend some time developing or enhancing your knowledge and learning, now would probably be a good time to share with colleagues, learners and networks some of the free learning available on OpenLearn as well as FutureLearn and OpenLearn Create. If you’re looking for something in particular that would be helpful, please get in touch and the OU can help you find it.



SCAPP's Five Priorities

1. Networking

Provide opportunities to collaborate, discuss and share practice, resources and skills. Identify and work with, existing communities of practice across Scotland to ensure a positive impact on the learner journey.

2. Training and Development

Develop and enhance practice by creating, identifying and promoting training opportunities. Develop working groups, activities and training linked directly to elements of the Fair Access Toolkit and other relevant resources.

3. Evaluation and Research

Work with research to ensure practitioners have access to up-to-date evidence to inform their work. Share practice in the effective use of evidence to improve implementation and evaluation strategies.   Support the collation of national and regional data to better track and target relevant groups.

4. Quality Standards

Ensure quality of practice by supporting and promoting the alignment of practice with evidence. Explore the development of a formal accreditation process to endorse and value the work of practitioners and to assist in raising the status of Widening Access and Widening Participation.

5. The Toolkit

The Toolkit is intended to support practitioners to plan and evaluate engagement and approaches. The practitioners’ network will have a key role in informing the content and contributing to the Toolkit, as well as championing its use.


Development Coordinator Appointed

Muriel Alexander took up the position of Development Coordinator on 6 January 2020. We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Dr Katie Monk for the work that she did to establish SCAPP and to take planned activities forward.

Muriel has worked at a number of universities in Scotland in a range of roles encompassing widening participation and lifelong learning, admissions, articulation and student recruitment and more recently worked at Forth Valley College to coordinate the range of Partnership degrees between the college and various university partners. Please get in touch with Muriel if you have anything that you would like to discuss with respect to SCAPP. Muriel can be contacted at or

SCAPP Logo Designer Recognised

SCAPP’s logo has been designed by a recent graduate of Glasgow School of Art, Colette Kerr.  We are thrilled that Colette’s talents have been recognised and she has been invited to exhibit at the prestigious New Designers in London this Summer.  She has also been included in the graduate directory that Wallpaper* produces.

Who can join?

The network is open to all and will have an emphasis on supporting those directly engaged in delivery of widening access and participation to higher education. Amongst others, we welcome school leadership and teaching staff; careers advisors; college and university widening access/participation teams; access researchers and those working in the third sector.

Contact  if you wish to join

History of SCAPP

The Framework Governance Group tasked a Short-Term Working Group (STWG) of WP practitioners to create a community of practice in Scotland for the widening access and participation sector. In doing this, they sought to build on the work of existing networks, their volunteers and their experience which were operating locally and nationally for years, (for example, the SHEP Network and its Practitioner Best Practice sessions; the SWAP practitioner groups). After agreeing a range of aims and objectives, the STWG sought funding from the Scottish Funding Council to create a Development Coordinator (DC) post so that SCAPP could be managed and grow to support everyone across the sector in Scotland. Part of the DC role will be to develop a sustainable membership model going forward so that a practitioners across the sector can continue to have a strong professional network to support them in their work. SCAPP will be led and shaped by its members.