Site navigation

Check out the latest news from across the sector

If you have any news that you want to share, please contact

Scottish Funding Council - Skills, Enhancement, Access and Learning (SEAL) - recruitment for Committee members

Scottish Funding Council – Skills, Enhancement, Access and Learning (SEAL) – recruitment for Committee members

SFC are looking to appoint five new members to their Skills, Enhancement, Access and Learning (SEAL) Committee.

Meeting between three and five times a year, the Committee provides advice on:

  • How to maximise the tertiary sector’s impact on the economy by identifying skills gaps, opportunities for growth and addressing employers’ needs
  • The student lived experience including how they access, progress, complete and progress from tertiary education
  • An overview of the tertiary learning and teaching landscape and its impact and outcomes

SFC are looking for people with strategic leadership and/or specialist knowledge and would encourage applications from:

  • Education professionals and influential leaders from Scotland, the UK and overseas, including those in the Senior phase in schools and tertiary education
  • Employers and/or Skills experts, with knowledge of skill gaps and opportunities for growth
  • Student leaders and/or staff leaders who support students including those involved in Student Representation and/or Student Engagement in an institution
  • Leaders from membership organisations that represent pupils, students and/or employers
  • Visionary specialists in delivering learning particularly in relation to the blend of online and in person approaches
  • Access and inclusion professionals with skills and knowledge in the strategic promotion and successful delivery of fair access, equality, and inclusion

This is an exciting opportunity to support the implementation of the SFC Review of Coherence and Sustainability, for example, in the protection of student interests, the role of employers in our system, and the development of tertiary education.

Members will also inform delivery of SFC’s Strategic Plan and provide advice to the SFC on addressing key Scottish Government outcomes.

How to apply

The SFC website provides more information about both the committee and the role of its members as well as details on how to apply. Applicants are required to give a short overview of the skills and knowledge that they have to offer and why they feel suitable to serve on this committee.

Applications are strongly encourage from students with lived experience of the system and SFC provide support to applicants with no or little experience of Committee work.  Applications will be considered on the criteria outlined above but will also consider the equality and diversity of the committee and the skills mix.

The SFC will cover travel and subsistence costs to enable members to attend in person meetings and events.  The aim is to secure a diverse and representative Committee and SFC are therefore also particularly interested in applications from people who are disabled and/or are BME.

Closing date is noon on Wednesday 5th October 2022

Please visit SFC  website for more information and how to apply.

College to University HE Information Sessions

College to University HE  Information Sessions

Colleges across Scotland host information events where Universities attend to promote their progression and articulation opportunities. Practitioners may find these sessions useful to refer to if working with learners who are looking for information about how to apply and  course opportunities available to them as the work towards completing their current courses at college. Listed below are some events taking place during October and November. If you know of any other colleges offering similar events please let SCAPP know by contacting

If you need further information about individual events please contact the relevant college.

Forth Valley College

18 October 2022, Falkirk Campus, 10am – 2pm
19 October 2022, Stirling Campus, 10am – 2pm


Glasgow Kelvin College

7 October 2022, Online UCAS event, 12.15pm
12 October 2022, Springburn Campus, 10.30 am – 1.30 pm
24 November 2022, Online UCAS event, 12.15 pm

New College Lanarkshire (contact is Nicola Mulholland)

4 October 2022, Cumbernauld Campus, 12pm – 2pm
5 October 2022, Coatbridge Campus, 12pm – 2pm
6 October 2022, Motherwell Campus, 12pm – 2pm


SCAPP Welcomes new member of staff to the Team



SCAPP welcomes new team member

We are delighted to welcome our new Learning and Development Coordinator, Laura Kwiatkowski, to the SCAPP team.

Laura will be on secondment from LEAPS, a Widening Participation programme in South East Scotland. Laura has previously worked in Higher Education in Australia and the UK in roles in Student Recruitment and Events, Widening Participation, Student Support, and Programme Coordination.

Outside of work she can usually be found attending gigs and performances, hiking up hills, seeking out good coffee, or riding and maintaining her 80’s motorcycle.

In the coming months she will be reaching out to hear your ideas on how SCAPP can support the continuing professional development of our Widening Access & Participation community, running the next iteration of SCAPP’s MAPS (Mentoring for Access Practitioners Scheme), and supporting SCAPP’s Accreditation Scheme.

She will be developing new training and learning opportunities for the community and practitioners, and collaborating with our Working Groups so that our Widening Access & Participation professionals in Scotland are best equipped to support the students that we work with.

You can reach Laura on

Pathways from Poverty - Colleges for Communities - CDN report

CDN have published a new report Pathways from Poverty – Colleges for Communities which was prepared by Dr Paula Christie and Dr Erica O’Neill for CDN’s Research and Enhancement Centre.

Building on CDN’s Pathways from Poverty in March 2022, which published evidence from a two-year national sector inquiry into the role of colleges in addressing the poverty crisis in Scotland, this most recent report aims to promote and encourage the work of colleges in tackling poverty with case studies which highlight best practice in the college sector.

The report highlights five key themes as potential areas for the development of future practice in colleges:

• Creating safe spaces
• Working in partnership
• Direct action on poverty
• Supporting Transitions
• Sustainability

Find out more and access the report here

Contributions to research invited!


Mapping policy and practice around university access for forced migrants with language support needs 

Eva Hanna, ESRC-funded PhD researcher at the University of Glasgow.

I am a doctoral researcher at the University of Glasgow, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and under the supervision of Prof Alison Phipps and Dr Lavinia Hirsu. I expect to complete my PhD in autumn 2023.

I am researching language barriers to higher education for underrepresented groups in Scotland, with an emphasis on forced migrants. My ethnographic research involves qualitative interviews or discussions, observation, and document analysis.

I have two main research aims: the first is to collect up-to-date information on structural language-related barriers, while also exploring the perceptions and ideas we each hold about language(s) with regard to integration of newcomers, entrance to and success at university. The second is to map the partnerships between various networks of practitioners from higher education institutions and individuals from third/voluntary sector organisations working around access to university, especially around language education, and to describe these partnerships as part of a growing community of practice and grassroots-level policy work. I expect that my findings will have implications for several policy areas: the Scottish Government’s New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy and its English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) policy; university-based policy and practice areas: admissions, Widening Access, language requirements and language support; intra-sectorial collaboration and partnership generally.


I am including SCAPP in my mapping of networks around HE access. With permission, I am conducting ethnographic observations of The Sanctuary Group, an online Community of Practice using the Slack platform that some SCAPP members may already be part of. This will entail describing its structure, function, aims, and the general roles of individuals using the platform.


I will NOT include names of individuals or their organizations in my data collection, and I will NOT extract quotes from individuals. I will also describe my own interaction with the platform (auto-ethnographically). If I identify a person of interest for my study, I may contact them privately with a request an interview or discussion, to which there is no obligation to accept.


If you feel that you would like to contribute to my study in some manner, e.g. to be interviewed, or to direct me to relevant documents, projects, etc., or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me, ideally by late December 2022, at the following email address:


Or reach out to me at LinkedIn, or on Twitter


If you would like to become a member of the Sanctuary Group please contact


Eva Hanna

SCAPP Learning & Development Focus Group - we want to hear from you!

SCAPP seek interested members to take part in a Learning & Development focus group. This group will inform how SCAPP can best meet the CPD and training needs of our community. The Focus Group will have the opportunity to feed into existing programmes (such as the SCAPP MAPS Mentoring scheme), the development of an accredited short course on Widening Participation, and new or other training provision.


Ideally this focus group will comprise of a cross-section of our community. This includes new practitioners, experienced staff, and those from universities, colleges, and the third sector.

We encourage SCAPP colleagues from all areas of widening access & participation to be involved whether their role is working with students, guidance, research or evaluation.

Dependent on community interest, there may be some curation of participants to ensure an accurate sample of our members.


Consultation with the Focus Group will take place in October 2022.

Expected time commitment: 3 hours

Exact dates for the focus group will be discussed with participants. There will be an option to participate online.

This is a voluntary commitment.


If you are interested in being involved, please email by Wednesday 5th October at 5pm to discuss further.

SQA Exam Results for 2022 published

SQA Exam Results 2022 published

2,110 young people from the 20 % most deprived areas of Scotland (SIMD20) have accepted a place to go to university in 2022, an increase of 25% from 2019

Read more here at Universities Scotland

Higher Education Provision in Scotland's Colleges - new report

A new research report entitled Higher Education Provision in Scotland’s Colleges: A future shaped by new levels of cross-institutional collaboration?  written by CDN Research Associate Patrick O’Donnell, Perth College, UHI has been published which looks at the development of higher education delivery in the colleges in the UK and in Scotland specifically.

In a detailed survey of the college landscape and its historical development, Patrick identifies the main drivers of higher education provision and how they are continuing to evolve. This is a valuable report for anyone interested in how our colleges have developed their unique provision and what will influence the next stage of their development.

You can read the report here 

Maintaining the Momentum towards Fair Access - Sir Peter Scott, Scotland's Commissioner for Fair Access

The fifth, and final, annual report from Sir Peter Scott, Scotland’s Commissioner for Fair Access. “Maintaining the Momentum towards Fair Access”  was published in May 2022.

See here for report 

This highlights continuing progress towards meeting the Government’s targets for  new entrants to full-time first-degree courses but that work and momentum must be maintained and could be challenging following the pandemic. Recognition is given to the significant work of institutional and organisational commitment to achieving this and specifically those involved in wider access and participation practice. Specifically SCAPP and the Framework for Fair Access are mentioned.

SCAPP would like to thank Sir Peter for his continued support and interest in the development and activities of the network and would like to convey their very best wishes as he steps down from his role. SCAPP looks forward to working with the new Commissioner when they are appointed.

World Access to Higher Education Network (WAHEN) call for papers for Global Conference on 17 November 2022

Dear Colleague

WAHEN is pleased to announce that our annual World Access to Higher Education Day Online Global Conference will take place on the 17th of November 2022.

The World Access to Higher Education Network (WAHEN) would like to invite the submission of research papers and examples of best practice for the World Access to Higher Education Day (WAHED) 2022 online, global conference ‘Equity in higher education: building the global knowledge base’. The event will take place on the 17th of November 2022 and run from 00:00 (GMT) until 17:00 (GMT) over a range of sessions giving colleagues from all time zones the opportunity to contribute.

The conference will concentrate on what we know from across the world regarding extending participation in higher education for those from low-income backgrounds; ethnic groups who have low rates of participation or are disadvantaged in their countries; rural, indigenous and older learners, disabled students and other groups who may be under-represented in their national context.

World Access to Higher Education Day (WAHED) was launched in 2018 and over the past 5 years we have engaged with over 100 organisations from over 100 countries. It is the largest collaborative event focussed solely on equitable access and success in higher education in the world. To celebrate this year’s World Access to Higher Education Day we are delighted to be able to offer opportunities for colleagues across the world to contribute to the event by presenting their work at our online conference. Presenting at the World Access to Higher Education Day online global conference 2022 will enable you to:

  • Participate in the only global conference dedicated towards issues of equitable access and success in higher education;
  • Share your research and/or practice with a global audience and create opportunities to collaborate and discuss
  • Feature your work in our conference proceedings;
  • Make new connections with other researchers and practitioners working in similar areas.

We welcome submissions from contributors who are at all stages of their careers. All papers that relate to the conference theme, or to issues of equity in access to, and success within higher education are welcome.

To submit a paper and for more information, please click here.

Best wishes

Professor Graeme Atherton
Head, Centre for Levelling Up and Director, National Education Opportunities Network (NEON)
Vice Chancellor’s Directorate
University of West London 

UCAS - New Self Declared Widening Participation Questions

UCAS – New Self Declared Widening Participation Questions

The  UCAS application cycle from 2023 (applications open from 3 May 2022) will include new self declared Widening Participation questions which will include the opportunity for applicants to indicate the following:

  • if they have caring responsibilities
  • If they have refugee status or are seeking asylum
  • if they are estranged
  • if they are from Armed Forces family or a service leaver or veteran
  • if they are in receipt of free school meals
  • if they have participated in an activity to prepare for Higher Education
  • if they have a physical or mental health condition or long term illness
  • Enhanced Gender Questions
  • More information can be found here or contact the Widening Participation Department/SHEP office/Admissions Department at college or university for further details

    These questions will enable institutions to ensure that they can provide the right level of support for individual students

SCAPP Accreditation Scheme Update


SCAPP Accreditation Scheme Update

Our pilot participants have just submitted their individual portfolios of evidence to SCAPP. A significant amount of work has gone into undertaking this work and it is a testament to their commitment and resilience that everyone has managed to complete their portfolio on top of their busy jobs and various responsibilities.Work is now under way by our Peer Reviewers to consider the portfolios and decisions will be made and communicated by early July.

The Peer Reviewers met in May for an induction workshop which provided the opportunity for some of us to see each other for the first time or to catch up on news  – as well as working hard! Thanks to the Peer Reviewers for taking time out of your busy lives to attend the workshop.

Peer Reviewers Below

L-R: Gill Ryan, Open University in Scotland, Andrew Comrie, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Alice Smith, LEAPS, Amanda Baldwin, FOCUS West.

Also attending by missing from photo is Peter Tormey, Edinburgh Napier University

Behind the lens – Muriel Alexander, SCAPP

SFC Widening Access Annual Report 2020-21

SFC Report on Widening Access 2020-21

The SFC annual report on Widening Access presents data relating to the Commission on Widening Access targets, and on Scottish-domiciled entrants to higher and further education in Scotland by socio-economic deprivation, gender, ethnicity, disability, care experience and age.

You can read the report here 

SCAPP Directory of Networking and Expertise

As part of SCAPP’s ongoing activities to connect professionals engaged in widening participation research, evaluation and practice, we are working to develop a knowledge exchange of information and activity. This is designed to improve communication, sharing of practice and to develop a hub to enable collaboration, promote availability of research and evaluation or project funding, and to connect individuals or organisations where supply and demand of practice can be met.

We have developed a SCAPP Directory of Expertise and Networking  to do this and colleagues across the sector are invited to input to this.   The Directory collates and publicises information about professionals engaged in the practice, research and evaluation of widening access and widening participation work within Further and Higher Education and the charity/voluntary and other public and private sector organisations.

The aim is to improve engagement across the roles and encourage collaboration and best practice sharing which can be disseminated and shared across the SCAPP network. This may enable us to, for example,  connect those who are looking for research or evaluation work to be undertaken with those who are available to undertake that work.  We also hope to have best practice, networking and knowledge exchange events to which widening participation colleagues engaged in a range of activities can meet and disseminate work.

This information will be available ultimately on the Fair Access website

If you are interested in inputting to this Directory,  we look forward to receiving information via the attached link below. There is no deadline to input to this Directory.

I would be grateful if you could share this with colleagues within your network who you think would be interested in being part of this Directory.

SCAPP Directory of Networking and Expertise

You can also find this on the Connect page of the Fair Access website


If you require any further information at this stage, please contact Muriel Alexander at

We hope that this is a resource that you will be interested in being part of and we look forward to hearing from you.

Fully funded places on accredited online learning Microcredentials

Please see information below about some learning opportunities which may be relevant for colleagues. All enquiries to the Open University in Scotland

The OU in Scotland is offering a number of fully funded places on their online learning Microcredentials courses for those working in the CLD sector but they are also relevant for staff working with young people, adults, families and community groups in the university, college and charity/voluntary sector

This offer is open to any practitioners who provide youth work, adult learning and community development, regardless if they are part of a local authority CLD service or deliver upon the values of CLD within the third sector. We recognise that CLD is provided within community by so many different organisations and services and as such we hope these courses will support the professional development of practitioners within the field.

The available courses will allow staff in the field to look at how they can deliver a more digitally accessible service while broadening their reach to more young people, adults, families and community groups.

The courses on offer are:

  • Online Teaching: Creating Courses for Adult Learners
  • Online Teaching: Evaluating and Improving Courses
  • Online Teaching: Accessibility and Inclusive Learning
  • Teacher Development: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum
  • Online Teaching: Embedding Social, Race and Gender-Related Equity


These courses are at postgraduate level, and they will start in June 2022 and run for 12 weeks.

For more information and to apply, please visit


The deadline for applications is 15th May 2022.


Congratulations to Sofia Khan


Congratulations are extended to colleague Sofia Khan, Access and Participation Co-ordinator at Strathclyde Students’ Union for winning the NUS Scotland Education Campaign Award 2022, as part of the innovative Widening Access work she does at the SU. She has also been shortlisted for The Herald Higher Education Widening Access Award. Winners to be announced at the end of May.
You can read more about the awards here


Making Work Work

‘Making Work Work’ is an SDS funded, Scotland-wide programme for Women Returners.

It’s open to women over 25 who have had a career break of 6 months or more and who have management or leadership experience or aspirations. The programme provides a refresher on management skills and support to rekindle confidence, develop new networks and understand the employment / business opportunities that are right for their level of skill and experience. An additional focus is around the confidence to ask for and secure flexible working and ‘make work work’ for them.

The programme is online and as the content is delivered using teams and zoom it provides an opportunity for women to become familiar with new ways of working. In addition to the peer support and programme content we offer individual mentorship, masterclasses, and access to a network of alumna.

Recruitment is continuous and there are regular online information sessions Full information is there too and so is the online application form.

There is new content several times a week on the following channels that can be shared:

For further information contact Rachel Helms, Engagement Manager,

Rachel Helms (She/Her)  ||  Engagement Manager  (Recruitment and Marketing)

Student Engagement: How the Student Community can shape widening access - recordings and presentations from the event

Student Engagement: How the Student Community can shape widening access – recordings and presentations from the event

We welcomed 50 practitioners from across the university, college, student union and student association and careers sector on Tuesday 29th March to this event.  We explored a number of key questions, demonstrated in a number of different ways by our presenters. This included:

  • How can Widening Access and Participation practitioners work more closely with Students’ Associations to raise awareness of each others’ activities
  • What more can be done by working together to shape provision and activity to support learners from the most disadvantaged backgrounds
  • What role can Student Associations play in bringing Widening Access and Participation practitioners together to shape activity

Special thanks to the following people for their support in making this event possible:

Simon Varwell, Senior Development Consultant, sparqs
Sofia Khan, Access and Participation Coordinator, Strathclyde Students’ Union, University of Strathclyde
Peter Tormey, Senior WP Officer and Thomas Dalli, Student Researcher, Edinburgh Napier University
Holly McDonald, Wellbeing and Equality Coordinator and Ananya Jain, University of St Andrews

The recording of the presentations and the discussion is available below

Student Engagement: How the Student Community can shape widening access


Scottish HE Innovate Webinar - recording of event

Scottish HE Innovate Webinar – recording of event

A number of HE representatives from the teaching, learning and practitioner communities were panelists at a recent webinar organised by Pearson. Amongst the topics discussed were the impact of  Covid-19 on our work and its impact on hitting the government target of attracting students from some of the most deprived areas of Scotland, the work being done by universities and organisations on improving student transitions and the work that institutions have done during the pandemic to support students’ learning with a move to blended learning and its impact on their experience.

This event was recorded and the link for this can be found below:

Higher Education Scotland – Widening access and participation – HE Innovate

The Robertson Trust: The Mentoring & Tutoring Landscape in Scotland – A Call to Action - Shelby Brown

The Robertson Trust: The Mentoring & Tutoring Landscape in Scotland – A Call to Action – Shelby Brown

The Robertson Trust: We want to hear from you!

As one of Scotland’s largest independent funders we are keen to see where we may be able to add value to the education sector. The Trust has identified mentoring and tutoring as two key areas of interest in one of our strategic themes, Educational Pathways. We commissioned an evidence review with the Poverty Alliance on the landscape in Scotland as a first step for us to identify gaps in provision. You can view the report here.

We have had upwards of 60 stakeholder conversations and would like to continue having these important discussions with professionals working in mentoring or tutoring. If you would be open to sharing your work or would like to find out more about our work, please contact Shelby Brown. We would love to hear from you.

Contact details:



Commissioner for Fair Access website

Sir Peter Scott, Scotland’s Commissioner for Fair Access, has developed a standalone website about his role and his work including his publications ranging from his Annual Reports, Discussion Papers, Speeches, Press Articles and Speeches

You can find his website  Commissioner For Fair Access here


This can also be found on the website here 

Help wanted to recruit Scottish students for research project

Help wanted to recruit Scottish students for research project

Dr Zoe Baker (Department of Education, University of York) is currently undertaking a large research project on care-experienced students’ graduate transitions.

The Care-experienced Graduates’ Decision-Making, Choices, and Destinations project (2021-24) – funded by The British Academy – explores the transition out of higher education and into employment and/or further study for care-experienced graduates in England and Scotland. The project seeks to establish an in-depth understanding of care-experienced students’ plans for after graduation, their choices and decisions informing these plans, and actual graduate destinations. In doing this, the project intends to make recommendations for policy and practice to support these transitions.

Zoe began data collection with care-experienced students (who are due to graduate in 2022) in late 2021, but is still actively recruiting volunteers until around April/May 2022. She is currently looking for more participants from Scotland.

If you are connected with any care-experienced students who are in their final year of either undergraduate or postgraduate studies (due to graduate in 2022), it would be greatly appreciated if you could pass on details of the project which are available on Zoe’s website here: and the following link to the Expression of Interest Form for participants:

If you have any questions about the project, please feel free to contact Zoe directly on

In Conversation with....

In Conversation with ….

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland have launched four new podcasts – artist-led collaborative projects created with students on the Contemporary Performance Practice and Transitions programmes.

Care Experienced and Estranged Collective Sound Bank


SQA webinar

SQA recently held a webinar entitled Next Generation of HN Meta-skills The Journey so far event on the 27.01.22 as part of their series of events about the Next Generation of HN qualifications.

The recording for the webinar is now ready and can be viewed by following the below link. There are four parts to the recording to allow you to navigate to different parts of the webinar as required.

The Robertson Trust: Mentoring and Tutoring Research - video of event


DonnaMarie Steel and Hazel Robertson from The Robertson Trust hosted an event on 2 December about mentoring and tutoring activity across Scotland and shared their thinking and findings about tutoring provision across the College and University sector and how the Robertson Trust might support any gaps in provision.


You can watch the first part of this event here

Death of Jane O'Rorke, Widening Participation Professional

Death of Jane O’Rorke, Widening Participation Professional

Please find below the sad news of the death of Jane O’Rorke who many of you may have known or worked with. With thanks to Fiona Andrews for passing this on to SCAPP.

Colleagues will be very sad to hear that Jane O’ Rorke, previously Senior Widening Participation Development Officer and Multi-Faith Co-ordinator at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), passed away peacefully on Tuesday 9th November 2021.

Jane will be remembered as a passionate ambassador for widening access and the main lead in highlighting the needs of care experienced children and adults in Scotland. Her commitment to equality and fairness ensured that many students progressed into further and higher education and on to successful careers.

Any individual who worked with Jane across her career in higher education working in the Scottish Wider Access Programme (West) and UWS would have been inspired by her enthusiasm and constant willingness to help.

Jane had many close friendships inside and outside of work but was definitely proudest of being mum to her three sons, Michael, David and Robert.

Fiona Andrews, Friend and Colleague

Retirement of John Blcharski, University of Dundee


With a career spanning  thirty years, John has done so much for Widening Access. From his early days as a PhD student in Pharmacology to his latter time as Widening Access Manager there are few, if any, areas of the University that he hasn’t been involved with at some time.

His development of the Access Summer School aimed, for the first time, to prepare and qualify students for entry to undergraduate degrees at the University of Dundee. Now in its twenty sixth year, accompanied by its sister Online Summer School, this programme has supported thousands of students to bright futures.

Many other programmes followed, from Discovering Degrees, Discover Learning at Dundee and City Campus all the way through to the ACES and Reach Tayside projects. Furthermore John and the University have worked collaboratively with The Talent Foundry to give younger pupils their first exposure to life at university, the only Scottish university to do so.

John’s academic career has taken him beyond the University of Dundee, sitting as an influential figure in the higher education community. From the Dundee Educational Trust to the Scottish Parliament, John’s experience and insight has proved invaluable.

To say there will be big shoes to fill is a slight understatement.

With thanks to Helen and Chris at ACES and REACH Tayside for providing these words.

And, on behalf of everyone at SCAPP we would like to wish John a long, happy and fulfilling retirement.

Pathways website picks up national digital award

Pathways website picks up national digital award



A website, created in partnership between colleges and universities from Fife, Edinburgh, Lothian, Borders, Falkirk and Stirling, has won the ‘Best Use of Technology in Education’ award at the first Herald Digital Transformation Awards.

The ‘Pathways’ website, a product of the Regional Learner Passport Partnership (RLPP), has been recognised for playing a key role in helping increase the visibility of positive learner pathways from college to a degree.

Led by Fife College, alongside Edinburgh College and Queen Margaret University, the RLPP, which includes a total of 14 tertiary education institutions, created a web solution which pulls together often complex articulation information into one platform, making information on routes from SQA Higher National (HN) qualifications to university degrees more accessible.

With so many pathways and routes of study from Higher National Certificate and Diploma to degrees, and advertising, promotion and understanding of routes often complex, the Pathways website has helped make things easier for pupils, students, parents and advisers to navigate.

Launched in July 2020, the website has already had thousands of views, providing a ‘one-stop shop’ for those looking for information on education pathways.

Iain Hawker, Assistant Principal at Fife College said:

“As Chair of the RLPP, I am delighted that our partnership work on the Pathways website has been recognised at the Herald Digital Transformation Awards.”

“Pathways, a unique platform which supports making higher education articulation routes much easier to understand, navigate and find, simply would not have been possible without the input of all our 14 education partners involved in the partnership.”

“The Pathways platform has helped clear confusion by reducing the number of institution websites and documents students need to access before deciding on next steps. It is a great example of a traditional process being transformed through use of digital technology.”

“We look forward to working collaboratively with our education partners to continue providing pupils, careers advisors and students with the best information possible to support those important transition steps in higher education.”

The Herald Digital Transformation Awards were created to celebrate how organisations across all sectors successfully have adopted digital technology into daily practices, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.

The winners of the Herald Digital Transformation Awards 2021 were announced during a virtual awards ceremony on Thursday 4 November.

Full list of colleges and universities involved in the Regional Learner Passport Partnership (RLPP):

  • Fife College
  • Borders College
  • Edinburgh College
  • Forth Valley College
  • Newbattle Abbey College
  • West Lothian College
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Heriot Watt University
  • Open University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Scotland’s Rural University College (SRUC)
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling

Pathways platform can be accessed here.

SQA NextGen: HN

SCAPP hosted an event about the next generation of HN qualifications, supported and led by colleagues from SQA. The event covered an overview of, and background to, SQA’s  NextGen: HN project, including the principles governing qualification design, current and future work streams, meta-skills and other timelines for the rollout for individual subject areas.  Articulation and progression is at the heart of many WP practitioner’s work, be it in the delivery of these qualifications, in the design, negotiation and management of articulation pathways or in the Information, Advice and Guidance to learners about these pathways and therefore it was no surprise that the event attracted more than 50 attendees.

This event was recorded and can be found here

Slides from the presentation can be found here


Developments are ongoing and there may still be questions you have or comments you wish to make which will inform the activity of the HN development. If you have anything you would like to say, or ask, please  use the contact details below.  Further information also available below

Contact details and further information about the Next Gen qualifications can be found below




News updates

The Access Podcast – FACE (Forum for Access and Continuing Education)

FACE have launched an  Access Podcast recently and the first two are listed below.

The first is about tracking students via a centralised database, called HEAT (Higher Education Access Tracker).

The second looks at Skills and the Post-16 education bill for England and Wales

The Access Podcast • A podcast on Anchor


More News

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Fair Access Expo – footage now available to view

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland ran a Fair Access Expo on Thursday 4 November 2021.

This is an inspirational event for Widening Access and Creative industries (WACI) and Transitions pupils with families, carers and friends.

This event is now available to view here. 

Reducing the Poverty Related Attainment Gap – Evidence Review of Mentoring and Tutoring 

Report undertaken by the Poverty Alliance on behalf of the Robertson Trust

New analysis, undertaken by the Poverty Alliance on behalf of the Robertson Trust, examines evidence on the effectiveness of mentoring and tutoring for children and young people living in poverty and provides an overview of the current policy and practice landscape in Scotland.

The research highlights the success of mentoring as an effective way to improve self confidence and raise aspirations amongst young people affected by poverty.

You can read the report here 

An event covering this research and to establish the range of current provision of tutoring across the college and university landscape will take place on Thursday 2 December 11am – 12.30 pm.  More information is available in the Events section.

Co Creating the Learner Journey: School College Partnerships and Effective Skills Pathways
College Development Network Research and Enhancement Centre
This report highlights the value and importance of school college partnerships. The report shows that between 2016-17 and 2019-20, School-College Partnership enrolments rose from 53,000 to almost 73,000. The new research reveals that if the upward trend continues, once we have recovered from the pandemic, it is anticipated that 12% of all school pupils in Scotland will engage in study with a college.
The research, which contains 11 case studies, goes on to identify ten key characteristics of successful School-College Partnerships. It also makes nine recommendations, including the need for an annual report to allow meaningful and consistent comparison across school/college provision.Report authors: Gordon Hunt, CDN Associate (Research & Enhancement Centre), Dr Karen Campbell, CDN Research Associate, Colin Lynagh, CDN Research Associate Grant Ritchie, Associate Director, CDYou can read the report here
Update 16 July 2021
Congratulations to John Blicharski and the team at University of Dundee whose Access Summer Schools won the Heist Silver Award as Best UK Widening Participation Initiative 2021 for “Online Innovation to Widen Participation in a Pandemic Year”.
I July 2021

Commissioner for Fair Access, Sir Peter Scott’s report Re-committing to Fair Access: A Plan for Recovery

This is Sir Peter Scott’s fourth annual report

Sir Peter makes a number or recommendations focusing on the pandemic and how it has hit the most disadvantaged learners the most. He makes a number of recommendations including that the Scottish Government’s commitment to fair access should be a priority, and additional funded places should be made available in universities for this current year and for next year. In addition that universities should give high priority to reintroducing outreach activities, and a more flexible and ambitious approach to contextualised admissions as a result of the changes which were made this year to the examinations system.

Of interest specifically to SCAPP is his comments about the Framework for Fair Access and within it the Toolkit and SCAPP, and future funding support options, which you can read on pages 45 and 46.

30th June 2021

The Scottish Funding Council has published a report with recommendations for the future of Scotland’s College and university system.

The Phase 3 report, following on from two earlier reports, sets out the significant strengths of Scotland’s colleges and universities, the challenges they are facing over the coming years, and recommends ways to continue to secure good outcomes for current and future students in terms of fair access, good quality learning environments, and readiness for their next steps in the world; for employers and the changing world of work; and for wider social and economic benefit.

Read the report here Coherence and Sustainability: Review of Tertiary Education and Research

SFC Report on Widening Access 2019-20

This report presents data relating to the Commission on Widening Access targets, and on Scottish-domiciled entrants to higher and further education in Scotland by socio-economic deprivation, gender, ethnicity, disability, care experience and age.

The report highlights amongst many things that 16.4% of all Scottish-domiciled full-time degree entrants were from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland, which means that universities have met the COWA target of 16% by 2021/22 two years ahead of schedule.

28 June 2021

Improving Schools in Scotland – An OECD Perspective

A recent independent report about the Curriculum for Excellence from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), was published on 22 June 2021. As a result of this report the Scottish Government have made a number of important decisions including the replacement of the SQA and review of Education Scotland. You can read the report below


14 June 2021

Access to Humanities (SWAP) Course Perth College

Perth College are offering the opportunity to study towards an Access to Humanities (SWAP) course which can be undertaken remotely.

The main aim is to give more opportunities to adults living in Scotland wanting to access higher education but who live in remote areas where access to a local college is difficult.

This may be of interest to learners that you are supporting or those who may be in touch with you.

See here for further details

7 June 2021

Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland

Colleges Scotland and Universities Scotland set up a Joint Articulation Group (JAG) in response to concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the ability of students to successfully articulate in 2021, which were raised in the Covid-19 Learner Journey Ministerial Taskforce. JAG is looking at immediate articulation issues but will then shift focus to taking forward articulation, building on the National Articulation Forum report published in 2020.

We are aware that colleges and universities have gone to great lengths to support all their students in their studies over the course of the pandemic. We know that colleges and universities have been carefully considering how to support new and continuing students and that this will include arrangements for articulating students. JAG has looked at this issue across the sector and wishes to make some points that universities and colleges might find useful. Our aim is to support fair access and widening participation, for which articulation plays an important part. We also have some information on changes to SQA’s arrangements for the assessment of students on HN courses this year, which we hope will assist universities.

Recommendations and further information is available here 

Universities Scotland

Statement for Scottish school leavers and university applicants in 2021

The pandemic has disrupted much of the last year’s school education and has necessitated a second year of alternative arrangements for the assessment of National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers. This has been a very challenging time for pupils in the senior phase.  The disruption and this year’s adaptations to the assessment process have a number of implications for school leavers hoping to go onto university and universities would like to offer some clarity and some reassurance to those pupils and their families and support networks.

The full statement can be found here. 

Understanding who works in WP: survey request

Dr Colin McCaig, Professor of Higher Education Policy, Centre for Development and Research in Education, Sheffield Hallam University , Dr Jon Rainford, Honorary Associate, Access., Open and Cross Curricular Innovation, The Open University and Ruth Squire, Doctoral Researcher, Sheffield Hallam University are undertaking a survey to understand who works in WP.

Understanding who works in Access to higher education work and how they perceive their role is an under-researched area. We want to develop a broader understanding of who works in the field, where they work and what they do – and we need your input to ensure the range of experiences of working in the sector are represented in our current projects.

If all or part of your role is focused on supporting people to access higher education, no matter what job title you have or organisation you work for, you can help us by completing the survey below. You’ll be asked some questions about your current and previous roles, what brought you to working in WP and your day-to-day activities. It should take no more than 15 minutes and your answers are voluntary and anonymised.
Survey Link: Understanding who works in WP 

Please share with contacts and colleagues, in and outside universities.
This research is being carried out by Professor Colin McCaig, Dr Jon Rainford and Ruth Squire. Any questions can be directed to

17 May 2021

Dr Karen Campbell joins College Development Network

Dr Karen Campbell has been appointed Research Associate for the College Development Network’s new Research and Enhancement Centre.

The network, which drives research in Scotland’s colleges to enhance performance and student success, launched the centre to 150 delegates from across the UK last month. The centre will act as an information hub for existing research, propose and commission new research and drive enhancement work arising from it with networks and short-life working groups.

At the launch, Professor Martin Doel, Chair of FE Leadership at University College London, said the centre would create a space to create, curate and harvest further education research.

Education researcher Dr Campbell said: “I am delighted to be involved in such an innovative new sectoral development. There is a dearth of research in the Scottish college sector. The launch of the new Research and Enhancement Centre will go a long way to addressing this omission, ensuring sectoral decision making and enhancement is based on research that is relevant, robust, applicable and useful in the Scottish FE/HE context.”

You can learn more about the launch event here

Brightside National Collaborative Programme for Young Refugees September 2021

Brightside are an online mentoring organisation with over 18 years’ experience and working with over 80 Partners, including Universities, charities, businesses and schools. Following the success of the Collaborative National Prepare for HE programme in 2020, and the programmes currently running working with young carers and 16-18 year old students, Brightside are now hoping to run a programme in Autumn of 2021 to support young refugees aged 16-25 as they navigate unique and complex challenges with their next steps on their educational and career journeys.

The idea behind a Collaborative National programme is that we bring together a number of universities and Higher Education Institutions so that we can pool costs, making the programme more cost-effective per Partner, but also share the expertise, knowledge and experience we all have of working online and working with this group of young people to ensure an impactful and successful programme.

The programme has also been endorsed by Refugee Education UK (formally The Refugee Support Network), who will be providing mentor training, as well as putting together and keeping updated a specialist Resource Toolkit for mentors and mentees so that this programme is tailored to the needs of the young people we’re working with.

You can find out more about this programme by clicking here to see a programme outline and clicking here for a summary of the costs involved.

If you are interested in becoming a Partner in this Collaborative National Programme, running throughout the Autumn and Spring next academic year, then please fill in this expressions of interest form and return it to Nick Wells: who will be in touch to arrange a call to discuss getting involved in further detail and ensure the programme works for you and the students you want to support. Any other questions can also be directed to Nick directly.

Recovery and Education

Scott Duguid, Learning Support Adviser, Edinburgh College is interested in the role of further and higher education in peoples’ recovery from addiction and how colleges and universities can better advocate for the needs of individuals.

He is also interested in raising awareness of recovery within colleges an universities and how we can develop better, more connected structures for adults entering mainstream education (for comparison, as is increasingly the case with care experienced students).

Scott would welcome contact from any professionals with an interest in recovery and education, and particularly interested in hearing from anyone who might be willing to do some awareness training for Edinburgh College support/lecturing staff.

Topics might include:
– College and the recovery pathway
– Learning support for adults in recovery
– Cognitive/learning impacts
– Transition support

If anyone can help Scott, or wants to connect he is available

University Demand at Record High

19 Feb 2021

New figures from the university admissions service, UCAS, show the total number of applicants to Scottish universities has risen by over 12 per cent (an increase of 14,700 applicants), reaching a record high for this point in the application cycle.

Read more information here

Maintaining fair assessment for university students in academic year 2020/21

Scotland’s higher education institutions have offered reassurance to all students that fairness will continue to be a defining feature of assessment processes in 2020/21.

A new statement by all 19 universities reaffirms their commitment to ensuring that student assessment, and the processes that lead to progression and graduation, are underpinned by the fundamental principles of fairness, integrity and reliability as well as those of quality and standards.

Read the full statement on the Universities Scotland website  here.

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 

Updated 3 December 2020

The Sutton Trust are keen to engage with partners who work with S5 pupils for their US programme.

The Sutton Trust US Programme is designed to support students from state schools across the UK in Year 12 in England and Wales, S5 in Scotland and Year 13 in Northern Ireland to explore US study and access leading universities. It includes two virtual residentials before all students spend a week in the US staying on campus at a leading US university and visiting a variety of other American universities. Please note that the health and safety of our young people and our staff takes top priority. This may mean we need to adjust our plans, and possibly deliver US weeks in a virtual format. If any of your students are accepted onto the programme we will provide further details regarding US weeks.

An optional second year of the programme supports students to apply to US universities alongside their UCAS options. In the past six years, we have helped more than 450 British students get places and funding at top US universities.

The programme is free to take part in. 

The Programme is founded and funded by the Sutton Trust, the UK’s leading social mobility charity, and delivered in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, who are experts in helping UK students study in the US.

The Trust are accepting applications until 17 January 2021

The Sutton Trust also runs multiple UK-based summer schools that students may be interested in. You can find more information here.

For further information please contact Angel Fletcher at

Other News updates

Latest levelling up funds go to less deprived areas as well as Wales and the south

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced the allocation of over £200m of UK Community Renewal Funds (UKCRF) yesterday to 477 projects, with less than a quarter of this funding going to the most deprived areas and nearly a quarter to projects in Wales. The UKCRF sits alongside the Levelling Up Fund and the Community Ownership Fund as part of the government’s levelling up investment strategy. Analysis of the data by the Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up at the University of West London shows that of the 172 bids that went to English County or City Councils:

  • 23% of bids and 21% of funding went to areas in the bottom 20% in terms of the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD);


  • 63% of bids and 66% of funds went to areas in the top 50% of IMD rankings;


  • None of the county councils (as opposed to City councils), except Durham county council, that received funding are in the bottom 50% of IMD rankings;


  • 23% of the overall funding went to projects in Wales while in England the regions that received the most funding were the south east with £22.7m, the south west with £20.4m and the East Midlands with nearly £19.9m. London received only £3.8m of funding – less than 2% of all funding;


  • The area in England where the most projects were funded was Norfolk with 14 and the county/city council area receiving the largest amount of money was Devon with £9.34m.

In contrast to last week’s £1.7bn Levelling Up Fund (for more details on how these funds were allocated see our briefing paper here) the projects funded were smaller and more focused on education, training/employment and community development. UKCRF funding is also focused far more in the south west/east with the percentage of funding allocated to projects in the north west falling from 13.79% through the Levelling Up Fund to 7% in the UKCRF. The percentage of funding allocated to Wales was much higher than in the Levelling Up Fund – the allocation across nations through the UKCRF was a Ministerial decision. To an even greater extent than the funds allocated via the Levelling Up Fund much of this funding allocated to England is allocated to less deprived county and city councils. A fuller breakdown of allocations by region and IMD can be found here:

The Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up (CILUP) was launched in July 2021. It aims to produce policy relevant research related to place and other dimensions of social inequality. The Head of the Centre Professor Graeme Atherton stated that:
This analysis shows that the latest tranche of levelling up funding while supporting important and worthwhile projects may risk missing the most deprived communities and who benefits from them needs monitoring closely. It is also notable many projects are being funded in the south of England and Wales consistent with the government’s ambition to address inequality across the whole country, but London despite having so many people living in poverty receives a very small amount of funding’.

This will be the first of regular briefs from CILUP monitoring the progress of the governments work on levelling up. If you do not wish to receive such briefings, please contact