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Please get in touch with SCAPP by emailing and look out for more details of activities and opportunities as we develop.

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If you have evaluative evidence from an access intervention that you would like to see included within the toolkit, please get in touch.

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News and Jobs


Sir Peter Scott, Commissioner for Fair Access, has published an interim report on The Impact of Covid-19 on Fair Access to Higher Education

The report focuses on themes of digital poverty, articulation, outreach and access, online learning, student experience, staff, mental health, financial hardship, targets and examinations, grades and contextual admissions and reinforces the need to continue to take effective, and urgent, action to tackle inequalities in access to higher education

Sir Peter Scott’s report can is available on the Scottish Government website 


Please see below various Job Opportunities which may be of interest.


University of Glasgow

Admissions Officer – closing date 20 Jan 2021

Wellbeing Officer – Closing date 3 Feb 2021

Vacancies at University of Glasgow


The Robertson Trust


Scholarship Liaison Officer – closing date 3 February 2021


Scottish Funding Council


Senior Policy Analysis Officer  – closing date 2 February 2021


Heriot Watt University

Widening Participation Officer – Closing date 22 January 2021





Webinars and Online Events

Updated 22 December 2020

Bringing WP Research, Evaluation and Practitioner communities together

Wednesday 27 January 2021 10am – 12pm
A key objective for SCAPP is to ensure widening participation practitioners have access to up-to-date evidence of the impact of activity to inform their work and to share practice in the effective use of evidence to improve implementation and evaluation strategies.

SCAPP is looking to foster relationships between research, evaluation and practitioner communities in widening participation and to explore opportunities where professionals can work collaboratively for mutual benefit.

To this end we will be bringing together WP research, evaluation and practitioner communities together at an event  on Wednesday 27 January 2021 10am – 12pm to discuss opportunities for collaboration and working opportunities for future activities.  We hope that this focused and targeted event will generate more events and activity from which everyone may benefit, contribute to and participate in.

Further information available from Muriel Alexander


SCAPP Connect with Coffee

Last working day of the month

Next event: Friday 29 January 2021, 11am

As we continue to work remotely, we realise that our opportunities to meet, network, share news and practice or just say “hello” – in the train, corridor, coffee queue or water cooler  – are limited. To address this in some way, we are introducing SCAPP Connect with Coffee events which will give you a chance to meet new colleagues, or catch up with existing ones.

These events will normally take place on the last working day of each month.

Join us for the second in our series of 45-minute online events to meet other SCAPP members. Grab a cuppa and meet our ‘Member of the Month’ and get the opportunity to chat to another SCAPP member through our ‘Speed Networking’ session.

Register at Eventbrite for this event


Lunch and Learn with GCU College Connect Transforming Transition materials for Online Delivery

 Tuesday 2 February 2021 12.30 – 2pm

If you’re a WP practitioner or supporting students using online tools, join us for the first in our Lunch and Learn sessions with GCU College Connect. College Connect staff will discuss their response to the global health pandemic, transforming their flagship College Connect Transition Programme from a classroom based project with subject area specific activity to an online programme delivered over 9 weeks.

The session will cover:
• approach to transforming the materials
• Key challenges
• Impact and areas for further development
• Next Steps for the Project

There will also be a demonstration of the online content with the opportunity to ask questions.

The session will be hosted using Blackboard Ultra Collaborate and the link will be sent to you nearer the time.

To register click here Lunch and Learn




Toolkit Webinars

A series of five pre-recorded webinars has been developed on using the Fair Access Toolkit and carrying out evaluation. Webinars are pre-recorded without an audience and each lasts 20 minutes approximately. Webinars will be retained as a resource on the Fair Access website. This means that practitioners can access these at a time that suits them best and can be watched in sequence or selected for choice of topic.

A real-time virtual workshop which builds on the pre-recorded webinars is planned for the autumn. Further details to follow.

Please accept our apologies for any compromise of sound quality as we work towards facilitating online provision of this resource.

Webinar programme:

1. Using the Toolkit for Fair Access

This webinar introduces viewers to the Scottish Toolkit for Fair Access. We explain the background and purpose of the Toolkit before taking you on a tour of the website and the resources available to help you plan and evaluate your activities. We also outline what SCAPP – Scotland’s Community of Access and Participation Practitioners – is and how it can support you in your work.

You can access Webinar 1 here


2. Assessing evidence for the Toolkit
In this webinar the team who developed the Toolkit for Fair Access explain how they identified and assessed the evidence included in the Toolkit. Watching the webinar will help you understand more about the purpose of different types of evaluation and standard of evidence required for it to be included in the Toolkit.

You can access Webinar 2 here

3. Planning your evaluation

This webinar will help you to plan your evaluation in a structured and systematic way. It outlines the issues you’ll need to consider at the planning stage and the importance of developing a proportionate approach. It also explains how a Theory of Change can help inform your evaluation framework and how you can summarise your theory in a logic model.

You can access Webinar 3 here 

Here are links for the script for the presentation together with a template for the Logic model which is discussed in this webinar

4.  Selecting an appropriate method for your evaluation

This webinar will help you to select the best methods for your own evaluations and increase your confidence in your results. It talks you through the different types of research methods, the types of data they generate and the claims that can be made on the basis of the evidence they produce. We focus on evidencing causality through your evaluation and share our learning on running an RCT.

You can access Webinar 4 here

5. Sharing your findings – writing up and disseminating the results of your evaluation

The final webinar in the series is designed to help you communicate your evaluation findings effectively and achieve maximum impact. It identifies the things you need to include in the write-up of your findings, particularly if you would like your work to be included in the Toolkit in the future, and provides tips on ‘dos and don’ts’ when presenting data.

Access Webinar 5 here

Here are links for the script for the presentation together with Further Reading


Publications, Articles and Resources


The Impact of Covid-19 on Fair Access to Higher Education,  Sir Peter Scott, Commissioner for Fair Access, December 2020

The report focuses on themes of digital poverty, articulation, outreach and access, online learning, student experience, staff, mental health, financial hardship, targets and examinations, grades and contextual admissions and reinforces the need to continue to take effective, and urgent, action to tackle inequalities in access to higher education

Sir Peter Scott’s report can also be found on the Scottish Government website 

Scotland’s Learning Pathways Report

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has published a new statistical report looking at student transitions from college to university. The publication focusses on articulation, the mechanism which enables college students to join a university degree course at the start of its second or third year.

Recent advances in SFC’s development of a national database for articulation have opened up new and more nuanced ways of understanding how the process works.

For the first time analysts have been able to study two distinct groups. One group covers a wider definition of articulation and includes a wider spectrum of qualifications, as well as students moving between the higher education courses provided by the University of the Highlands and Islands and SRUC. The second group only comprises Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma qualifications and excludes internal movements within institutions that provide both further and higher education courses.

According to the report’s authors, widening the discussion in this way opens the door to a more complete understanding of the learning pathways available to students wishing to progress without repeating any levels of learning.

Although the report effectively sets a new baseline for analysing articulation, it also provides an annual comparison of the proportion of students living in Scotland who enter a university degree course from HNC/HND at college. This has remained at between 21 to just less than 23 per cent since 2014-15 and has been a consistent contributor to progress in widening access.

Whilst the growth in acceptances of a university place from people living in Scotland’s most deprived areas (including a 5% increase for 2020-21) has helped to place Scotland effectively two years ahead of its widening access targets, articulation has also played an important part. Its proportional contribution has held steady despite more disadvantaged students choosing direct entry to university as their route to a degree.

Commenting on the significance of today’s report, SFC’s Director of Policy, Insight & Analytics, Martin Boyle said:

“Improving pathways from college to university is one of the ways in which we can expand access to higher education and it’s important that our institutions continue to work together so that learners receive credit for prior learning where appropriate. Thanks to productive collaboration we now have a clearer and more detailed picture about pathways to a university degree. The findings of today’s report will feed into our Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability, and further develop our thinking about more efficient pathways for learners.”

Read the full Articulation from Scottish Colleges to Scottish Universities 2014-15 to 2018-19 report.


The Scottish College of the Future  A nations-specific final report

The Independent Commission on the College of the Future was launched in Spring 2019 as a UK-wide, four nations process, asking two simple questions: what do we want and need from colleges from 2030 onwards, and how do we get there?  The Commissioners – chaired by Sir Ian Diamond – have held roundtable and workshop events with a broad range of individuals and organisations across the UK. They are supported by an expert panel, who have been feeding in throughout the process. The Independent Commission has benefited from learnings across the four nations of the UK, drawing lessons and insights from reform trajectories and from exemplary institutional practices.

The Scottish College of the Future sets out recommendations that, if implemented by the Scottish Government, funding bodies and colleges, will empower the sector to deliver more strategically on skills and innovation support for new jobs, good jobs and green jobs. It would also transform the life chances for learners of all ages and levels.

Whilst there is the important prospect of a much-needed reform agenda to renew and reaffirm the role of colleges in Scotland, we are also clear that this is not just a report for government. This report calls on everyone across the system to take collective ownership of the change agenda, living out the principles that this report describes.

You can read this report here Scottish College of the Future


Widening Access to education is crucial – especially during a global pandemic

This year Covid-19 has upturned so many areas of society and the education sector is no different.

James Dunphy, Director of Access, Learning and Outcomes at SFC explains why the pandemic makes our goals to widen access even more important. You can read his blog on the SFC website


On behalf of the Sutton Trust, NEON Director Dr, Graeme Atherton has undertaken the most extensive scoping to date of how leading universities in different countries are addressing inequalities in access for those from low income and other marginalised backgrounds.

Dr Graeme Atherton (NEON) has undertaken a report on behalf of the Sutton Trust Report  ‘Room at the top: Access and success at leading universities around the world’  which has looked at how leading universities in different countries are addressing inequalities in access for those from low income and other marginalised backgrounds.

The report recommends that:

  • leading universities in the UK undertake ‘institutional conversation’ led by senior leaders which focus on diversity, inclusion and access,
  • identities related to first generation students are celebrated and dedicated teams formed to support such students
  • a global network to exchange practice/knowledge in the field of access and success activities amongst leading universities is constructed.

College Leaver Destinations 2018-19

Coherence and Sustainability: A review of Scotland’s Colleges and Universities Phase One Report: Insights to Develop Further, October 2020

National Articulation Forum Final Report 2020

Report on Widening Access, April 2020, SFC

Commission for Widening Access: A Blueprint for Fairness – Final Report of the Commission for Widening Access, March 2016

Commission for Fair Access Annual Report 2019: building on progress towards fair access

Commissioner for Widening Access: Discussion Paper: Access to Postgraduate Study: Representation and Destinations, January 2020

Fair Access to Higher Education: Progress and Challenges, Annual Report 2020 – Commission for Fair Access annual report

Resources and Useful Reading

WONKE – Home of the Higher Education debate

The Guardian Education pages

Holyrood Education pages

UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish

Higher Education Policy Institute

The Conversation Independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public

Volunteer Scotland has a daily Radio V podcasts on all matter volunteering and learning.

OFS Briefing Note Needs of Students Without Family Support During Pandemic May 2020

Universities of Sanctuary Resource Pack

About the Universities of Sanctuary, how to become a University of Sanctuary, including case studies, useful links and websites.




Widening participation in HE: why it’s important to focus on ‘first generation’ students –  UCL Institute of Education Blog  See this interesting blog here at UCL blog

Capability building at the hub of university transitions

Read this post from Dr Karen Campbell, Research Fellow in Educational Research and Evaluation, Glasgow Caledonian University which argues that university preparedness  is best supported when learners are immersed in the university experience when learners experience studying HE level qualifications within a university environment pre-entry

Moving Widening Participation Outreach Online: Challenge or Opportunity – Jon Rainford, University of Bedfordshire

Our Hub Model can Transform prospects for Young People in Care – Lorraine Moore, Manager, Hub for Success, Edinburgh Napier University. This article appeared in The Scotsman on 2 July 2020

Why Widening Participation Matters More than Ever – View form Scottish HE Sector – Laura Cattell, Head of Widening Participation, University of Edinburgh This article, published on FACE website (Forum for Adult and Continuing Education),  summarises how Covid-19 has heightened the value and necessity of widening participation

Minister lambasts English universities for letting down students – article in the Guardian 1 July 2020


A Strange Speech to Widening Participation Practitioners – article by Alex Blower reflects on a speech on social mobility and concludes that the minister failed to read the room – from WONKHE 5 July 2020


Open University resources

Everyday computer skills (16 hours) is a collaboration between Lead Scotland and the OU in Scotland, with funding from SCVO’s Digital Participation Fund. It’s a digital skills course for beginners, designed with and for disabled people. It covers all you need to know to get online using your computer, tablet or phone, with a focus on accessibility and online safety.


Open University Widening Access and Lifelong Learning Journal

Caring Counts is an OU in Scotland course co-created with carers and carers organisations. It’s intended to help carers reflect on their caring role, and the skills and experiences they’ve gained through it that are transferable to other contexts. It’s particularly useful for carers at a transition, who may be considering returning to work or study. It can be studied online or facilitated as a group course (there’s a guide provided) – which many carers organisations around Scotland have done.

Carers scholarships – the OU is now offering scholarships to carers and young adult carers beginning their studies with them. The criteria for this is that you must have a household income of less than £25k per year. In Scotland, the SAAS part-time fee grant covers module costs for anyone with a personal income of less than £25k. That means that Scottish carers won’t benefit from the scholarship in the same way as their counterparts in other parts of the UK so OU in Scotland will not be promoting it. The good news is that they can study with the OU for free anyway, as 70% of OU students are eligible for the part-time fee grant.

Refugees and asylum seekers
Reflecting on Transitions is an OU in Scotland course co-created with refugees, asylum seekers and other new Scots, in partnership with Bridges Programmes in Glasgow. The course can help learners identify the range of skills and abilities you’ve gained from their personal experiences and plan their next steps into work or study.

OpenLearn has developed a collection for Refugee Week called Understanding Refugee Experiences including a section on Resources for refugees

FutureLearn runs regular ESOL courses by the British Council. Understanding IELTS: Reading is available now (free, 3 weeks long). Understanding IELTS: Listening begins on 6 July.

The RefER project identified a range of online resources for refugee learners and those supporting them. You can read the report here or access the interactive document with links to those resources.

If you are using open educational resources with refugees and asylum seekers, you or your learners are invited to share your experiences on the Refugee Learning Stories blog. This is an open space, so anyone is welcome to contribute and posts can be anonymous if you prefer. There are some interesting posts for you to browse – from using Whatsapp as a language learning tool to university scholarships for asylum seekers in Dublin.

The Scottish Refugee Council has produced a short film called I Hear You for Word Refugee Day 2020

Anti-racism resources
Very topical at the moment and of critical importance to educators, many anti-racism resources are being made available for free just now. The Service Design in Scotland Network has compiled an interactive Padlet of resources called Black Lives in Scotland. You can explore links to resources or contribute to the Padlet yourself.

OpenLearn resources

Collection of mental health and wellbeing resources
Family friendly hub
Furloughed workers resources (in partnership with My World of Work)
Taking your teaching online
Open Pathways – an interactive guide for learners beginning their journey on OpenLearn

Managing your money for young adults (24 hours) is a course aimed at young people moving away from home to work or study. It comes with guidance for teachers on adapting for the classroom.

Making your learning count is a 30 credit module that allows you to gain credit for OpenLearn course and other informal learning.

Bullying and Manipulation: Join the Resistance interactive resource exploring bullying at work, school and even on Twitter at the hands of Donald Trump.

Citizen science and the data avalanche series of videos on how to become a citizen scientist

Climate justice for the next generation (7 hours, intermediate level) a new course that frames global warming and climate change in terms of social justice, human rights and intergenerational equality and emphasises how children and those least responsible for climate change are the ones who suffer its most significant consequences.

How to talk about race short video talking about race with comedian Munya Chawawa. A BBC / Open University collaboration.

Employability Resources

In partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the OpenLearn team has curated a collection of employability and digital skills resources, as well as functional English and Maths:

Internships and other work experiences (24 hours) is a brand new course for those who want to learn more about internships and other work experience options available, and explore how you can obtain and maximise the right opportunities to support your chosen career.

Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world (24 hours) is a new version of the existing ‘Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world’ course with updated content reflecting changes in the digital landscape over the last few years.

Start your career with OpenLearn is a collection aimed at people leaving education and looking for some career support.

Covid-related resources

Coping in isolation: time to think – course trailer a short video for the course in which two Open University graduates reflect on the current COVID-19 lockdown. They offer some insights into their study experiences while imprisoned in the 1970s and 1980s, and suggest ways to adjust to the current pressures facing people across the globe.

Young carers, COVID-19 and physical activity article outlining an Open University study around carers and their relationship with physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Updated 1 November 2020


Open Learning Champions Update

This is the first newsletter in a while. I hope it finds you all well. As we face into a new, tiered lockdown and many people are facing furlough again or even redundancy, we hope that some of the free, online resources we’ve highlighted here may be useful for your learners. If there’s anything you’d like us to cover specifically, please get in touch.

During the first lockdown, OpenLearn saw a huge surge of learners – from an average of 40,000 a day to more than 200,000. From the end of March to the end of July, learners completed an astonishing 790,000 courses and gained 69,000 badges. OpenLearn has curated collections of resources that many found helpful during lockdown and are unfortunately still relevant:

Collection of mental health and wellbeing resources
Family friendly hub
Furloughed workers resources (in partnership with My World of Work)
Taking your teaching online

Some of your learners may have received laptops or tablets through the Connecting Scotland scheme. If they are looking to improve their digital skills, Everyday computer skills (16 hours) is a course for absolute beginners, designed with and for disabled people. It covers all you need to know to get online using your computer, tablet or phone, with a focus on accessibility and online safety. The course is a collaboration between Lead Scotland and the OU in Scotland, with funding from SCVO’s Digital Participation Fund.

Open Pathways is a resource to help learners plan their journeys – from dipping their toes into OpenLearn to registering for formal study. You can use it to support learners to access online learning at the level that’s right for them. There is an accompanying guide for Open Learning Champions with ideas for using resources with learners.

Care Experienced Week
This week is Care Experienced Week – look out for #CEW2020 on social media for celebrations of the care-experienced community. We at the OU are proud corporate parents. If you’d like to learn more about the impact of care experience on access to education, and the role of corporate parents, we have produced a new online resource in partnership with Who Cares? Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council, universities and colleges. Corporate Parenting in Higher Education takes 1-2 hours to complete and is based on the lived experience of care-experienced students. It has optional activities and opportunities to reflect on your role in improving outcomes for care-experienced students and you can gain a digital badge.



Black History Month
OpenLearn has created a Black History Month hub featuring articles and courses on Black history, notable people and the Black Lives Matter movement.
How to talk about race is a short video by comedian Munya Chawawa. A BBC / Open University collaboration.


Sustainability Hub
Another new hub on OpenLearn features articles, course and interactive content related to sustainability, climate change, ecosystems and the natural world.

FutureLearn – available now
Most FutureLearn courses are free to access but there may be a fee if you would like the option of a certificate to recognise your participation.
A Global History of Sex and Gender: Bodies and Power in the Modern World (4 weeks) – University of Glasgow
Caring for Vulnerable Children (6 weeks) – University of Strathclyde / CELCIS
Introduction to Cyber Security (8 weeks) – Open University

Open Learning Champions
Well done to all of you who have managed to support learners through unprecedented times, sometimes while you and they grappled with unfamiliar technology. We hope these mailings have helped a wee bit. As a thank you to all our champions, please accept our Open Learning Champions badge (jpeg file attached) to ‘wear’ with pride!


OLC workshops
It may be a while before we can meet face to face but we are beginning to offer online Open Learning Champions sessions (1.5 hours). If your organisation would like to host one, please get in touch.

Remember to follow @OUScotland and @OUfreelearning on Twitter for updates and tweet us using #OLchamps

You’re welcome to share this with your colleagues, learners and networks. If you no longer wish to receive these mailings, just respond to this email to let us know and we’ll take you off the mailing list.

Keep well


Stand Alone Estranged Students Solidarity Week 23 – 27 November 2020
‘Being an Ally to Estranged Students’

Society focuses a lot on family, so estrangement is often misunderstood or goes unseen. And because it is not talked about much estrangement isn’t a term many people are familiar with. Individuals become estranged for any number of reasons, such as abuse, a clash of beliefs, religion or values and rejection of their LGBTQI+ identity among many others. This can be a long slow process, or a sharp and sudden break. Students in higher education feel the impact of not having any parental support throughout their entire student journey. Stand Alone’s Estranged Students Solidarity Week is about talking about estrangement and raising awareness of the issue, and showing estranged students you see them and offer them support.

Stand Alone has developed a set of resources to help staff and students reach out to estranged students. These can be downloaded at:
StandAlone Resources

Let us know what you are doing during Estranged Student Solidarity Week by sharing pictures, comments, thoughts, etc, on
Twitter & Instagram

Also during ESS Week: Stand Alone Pledge Awards and Student Voice Awards.
Please contact us on if you have any questions about ESS Week 2020.
Susan Mueller
HE Director
Stand Alone

Follow us on Twitter @StandAloneHE and @UKStandAlone



Articles and Papers

Why Widening Participation Matters more than Ever – View from the Scottish HE Sector written by Laura Cattell, Head of Widening Participation at the University of Edinburgh,  published on FACE website (Forum for Adult and Continuing Education)

Student ambassadors: “role-models”, learning practices and identities’ published by Dr Clare Gartland from the University of Suffolk – paper presented at LEAPS/SCAPP event on 25th June 2020 “Working effectively with Student Ambassadors and Volunteers in Widening Participation Projects

Presentation from webinar Working Effectively with Student Ambassadors and Volunteers in Widening Participation Projects – presentation by Dr Clare Gartland on 25 June 2020

Using the Lens of ‘Possible Selves’ to Explore Access to Higher Education: A New Conceptual Model for Practice, Policy, and Research  Neil Harrison, Department of Education and Childhood, University of the West of England

Information for Volunteers

Volunteer Scotland has a daily Radio V podcasts on all matter volunteering and learning.

 Keeping Volunteers Safe: Restarting your Volunteer Programme this  10 hour  course covers the key considerations to ensure a positive experience for those returning to volunteering following COVID-19. It’s hosted on OpenLearn Create as part of the OU’s Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership collection and you can gain a certificate of participation and digital badge participation on completion of the course. More information about Volunteer Scotland’s online learning here.


Information to support Care Experienced and Estranged Students

Carers Trust Scotland have produced a video with BBC Scotland called Things You Should Know About Young Carers (1 minute) featuring young people talking about what their caring role involves.


Materials provided by Hub for Success

All you need to know about the Care-Experienced Students Bursary and Further Education in Scotland


All you need to know about the Care-Experienced Students Bursary and Higher Education in Scotland

For any queries or further information please contact the HUB for Success at, or

Student Finance, Research, Campaigns 

Stand Alone summer update

Campaign for financial support for estranged and care-experienced students and graduates without family support

Stand Alone has been working in collaboration with a number of charities to raise awareness of the impact of Covid 19 on higher education students without parental / family support and to lobby governments for additional financial support for these students.

We published a survey at the start of lockdown on the challenges these students were facing due to Covid 19. We have written about the issue in the press, have taken part in Scottish Government consultations and are in discussions with the DfE and Welsh Government.

Our most recent ‘summer hardship’ survey report will be published shortly alongside an open letter from an estranged student.

Applying to SAAS: Financial Support for Estranged Scottish Students

Applicants need to let SAAS know that they are estranged from parents when applying for support.

A student is eligible to be considered for independence on the basis of being estranged if:
• they are not in contact with both their parents and
• there’s been a permanent breakdown in the relationship, and there is no sign of this being resolved in the future

Applicants are sent the Evidence of Estrangement form, and they return the completed form using the ‘Document Upload’ service in their SAAS Account. The form must be endorsed by a professional person who knows the student’s circumstances, such as: teacher / doctor / counsellor / college or university student advisor / lawyer / solicitor / police officer / family mediation worker / social worker / etc.

If the student doesn’t have a professional person to confirm they are estranged then they should still complete the estranged evidence form and explain why this is the case in section B. SAAS will contact them if they need any further information.

SAAS case workers assess all applications from estranged students on a case-by-case basis. If any further information is required when processing an application for estrangement SAAS will contact the student directly.

You can find information about the Student Information Scotland website here

Student Finance England ‘Estrangement Form 20/21’: Advice and best practice

Practitioners feedback since the form’s inception has been very positive as it gives step by step guidance to supporting those students without any suitable evidence and an opportunity to request a SFE caseworker should a further discussion be needed and a future telephone interview.

In the past some staff in institutions have been reluctant to sign the form as they felt they were confirming a certain situation was true.

Staff now no longer need to known the student for any length of time to sign the new form, therefore removing a major barrier to proving estrangement. The new form specifically directs students without evidence to student services as in many cases staff may either know their circumstances and be able to confirm them or alternatively, can suggest sources of evidence that can confirm their situation and would be acceptable. If you are not able to sign the form though, you should send it to SFE with an email explaining why and ask for the student to be referred to a case worker.

It is also important to note that the form is not a compulsory part of the estrangement process and evidence will continue to be accepted as it has been in a variety of formats.

Please bear in mind when speaking to a student about the form to be aware of the potential sensitivity of individual student’s circumstances and the potentially traumatic experiences that have led to a breakdown in the relationship with their parents and often also their wider family. Conversations should be conducted with care and confidentiality and not probe into details of student’s personal experiences and their estrangement.

House keeping: The new Form was released in Jan 2020. Please delete the old version and familiarise yourself with the new version.

Click here for the new form on the SLC webpage

You may also find the SLC Funding Information Team monthly bulletin useful which you can access via this webpage, and where you can also post feedback:

A guide to help estranged students write their personal statement
Stand Alone has worked with UCAS to produce guidance for estranged students on how to write their personal statement. A group of estranged students compiled a set of unique skills and positive personal strengths these students may have developed as a result of their experiences.

Click here for more information

New Stand Alone research report: Family Estrangement and the Covid 19 Crisis

This survey set out to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on estranged family relationships.

This research was conducted by Dr Lucy Blake at Edge Hill University, Dr Becca Bland at Stand Alone, and Dr Sarah Foley and Dr Susan Imrie at the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge.

Click here to read the report

The Stand Alone Pledge

Emerging from lockdown and planning for a restructured delivery of the new academic year provides higher education institutions with a unique opportunity to fully address the different needs of a diverse student body.

So this is also a time to sign the Stand Alone Pledge or use your Pledge to shape the support for estranged students to ensure their needs are recognised and they feel part of their university community.

Click on the Pledge logo to link to the Pledge website


Updated 5 August 2020

Covid-19 Survey – Summary of resources

Following the survey on responses and challenges of Covid-19 which was distributed in May, please find the link below for the summary of the responses. There are key points and actions on page one, followed by an executive summary of the main points under themes, then followed by responses per question for those readers who wish to see the full set of responses.

I hope that this provides insightful, interesting and useful reading.

Covid-19 Survey Responses Summary