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New Commissioner for Fair Access is appointed

Professor John McKendrick from Glasgow Caledonian University, has been appointed as the new Commissioner for Fair Access, succeeding Sir Peter Scott who held this role until June 2022.

Professor McKendrick is co-director of the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit and is Professor of Social Justice at GCU.

Further information about this role and Professor McKendrick can be found here

SCAPP would like to congratulate Professor McKendrick on his appointment and look forward to engaging with him as part of the Framework for Fair Access


(Added to News January 2023)

SCAPP Conference 16th May 2023 - Register NOW

Join us at SCAPP’s conference bringing together managers, practitioners and policy makers working in HEIs, Colleges, Schools, local authorities, and third-sector organisations.

Since 2019 SCAPP, has worked in partnership to support the development of a sector wide community of practice for widening access and participation professionals. This conference will reflect on the success and challenges in Scotland’s Widening Access and Participation sector over the past 30 months. We will explore what we have learned and achieved, what our priorities should be, and how practitioners continue to adapt and develop to support future thinking for widening access and participation within a changing education landscape, keeping the student experience at the heart of our work.

Keynote speakers will include Professor John McKendrick, Scotland’s new Commissioner for Fair Access and James Dunphy, Scottish Funding Council Director of Access, Learning and Outcomes.

There is no cost to attend this years’ SCAPP Conference in order to support participation from our members, and encourage networking in our sector post-pandemic.

However, please be aware that places are limited. If there is excessive demand, SCAPP reserves the right to limit places per organisation in order to support attendance from all our members. If needed, we will contact individuals directly.

There will be opportunities throughout the day to meet and connect with practitioners and we hope that you will be able to commit to the full day’s schedule of activities.

A conference programme and workshop selection will be sent to registered attendees in the spring.

Register now to secure your place: 

Santander and Unite Scholarships available for Underrepresented and Care Experienced students

SANTANDER SCHOLARSHIP – £30,000 funding and development sessions, over 3 years

  • Over 18
  • Underrepresented students including low-income, care-experienced, carer, estranged, refugee and others (other groups are also eligible, for a full list of eligible students see here)
  • Current full-time undergraduate
  • Graduating in 2025 (likely to be in Year 2 of a 4 year degree)
  • Studying at a Santander partner university (includes Abertay, Napier, Heriot-Watt, QMU, Edinburgh, Open University, Aberdeen, Glasgow, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde in Scotland, and many others across the UK).

Apply by 31 Jan 2023

For more info and to apply go here:  Santander Scholarships Skills | Santander Universities Scholars Programme (


UNITE SCHOLARSHIP – up to 3 years rent and bills in Unite student accommodation

  • 25 or under
  • Care experienced
  • Starting or studying your first undergraduate degree
  • New and existing students at a Unite partner university (includes Robert Gordon, Napier, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian in Scotland, and many others in England).

Apply by 1 June 2023

More info and to apply go here:  Unite Foundation Scholarship = Unite Foundation (


Contact the HUB for Success   for further information of if there is anyone you support who would like some help to apply.


(Added to News January 2023)

CDN #LoveScotlandsColleges Campaign

To celebrate the outstanding innovation, hard work and best practice that takes place across the sector every day, organised by the CDN Marketing and Communications Network, our collaborative #LoveScotlandsColleges campaign will launch on
Monday 13 February 2023.

The week-long digital campaign highlights the importance and strength of Scotland’s colleges, promoting examples, both national and local, of how colleges support students, the economy, businesses, communities and staff.

Read more on the CDN Webpage.

(Added to News January 2023)

SCAPP's New Practitioner Network

Are you a practitioner new to a role in Widening Access and Participation in Scotland within the last 18months?

Join SCAPP’s New Practitioner Network!

This network is intended to be a supportive peer environment to build the knowledge, confidence, and connections of staff who are new to the sector.

SCAPP will host five meetings for the New Practitioners Network between January and June 2023:

Wednesday 18th January 2023, 2pm – 3:30pm (online)
Tuesday 21st February, 10am – 11am (format TBC)
Thursday 23rd March, 2pm – 3pm (format TBC)
Wednesday 19th April, 10am – 11am (format TBC)
Tuesday 20th June, 2pm – 3pm (format TBC)

Content of the sessions will be directed by the needs of the group and may involve guests or introductory workshops on specific areas of Widening Access & Participation which they would like to explore.

The network may continue to meet after these dates subject to demand and interest.

To register for the New Practitioners Network please click here.

You can also contact Laura Kwiatkowski to find out more

(Added to News November 2022)

New Sparqs projects

Please see below for recent updates and projects from Sparqs (Student partnerships in quality Scotland) at December 2022


Buddying Scheme for Student Engagement Staff across Scotland

Find out details of how professionals can be matched with a buddy, share challenges and ideas, collaborate and learn across institutions, here.


Introducing the Tertiary Enhancement Topic

Sparqs have published a briefing on the newly introduced Tertiary Enhancement Topic, which the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) proposed as an additional project to be developed by sector agencies over the next two academic years (2022-23 and 2023-24) with the aim of developing a joint approach to quality in colleges and universities. Read more, here.


New Jobs board for Student Engagement Roles:

Sparqs now have a jobs board specifically for Student Engagement roles across the sector. Find out more, here.


Contribute to Sparqs new project on College Learner outcomes:

Sparqs is keen to hear from colleges and students’ associations willing to participate in a project to explore student engagement in enhancing college learner outcomes. Read more and get involved, here.


TASO Guide

Guidance for measuring impact of raising attainment (added December 2022)

With raising attainment high on the agenda, TASO have provided guidance on measuring whether outreach activities for attainment are having the desired impact.

Read full details here

(Added December 2022)

Actions required to maintain momentum towards the 2030 access targets in Scotland

Actions required to maintain momentum towards 2030 access targets in Scotland

Dr Kirsty Conlon, Head of Learning and Teaching and Widening Access Policy at Universities Scotland, shares her thoughts on what the sector may expect to see as priorities when the soon to be announced Commissioner for Fair Access takes up position.

Read more on the Universities Scotland website

(Added December 2022)

Research on the experiences of estranged students in Scotland

In March 2022, the Scottish Government commissioned ScotCen Social Research to undertake research on the experiences of estranged students in Further (FE) and Higher Education (HE) in Scotland.

The research findings and associated literature review were published by the Scottish Government on the 1 November 2022, and can be accessed at the following links:


Research report – Estranged students in Further (FE) and Higher Education (HE) – experiences: research – (

Literature review –  Estranged students in Further (FE) and Higher Education (HE) – experiences: literature review – (


Publication of experimental statistics from the secondary analysis of the HESA data on estranged students in Scotland, 2020/21 – These data tables provide initial insights on the numbers of estranged students at university in Scotland, their demographic characteristics, the institutions and courses of study, as well as on their term-time accommodation.  Please note these are experimental statistics, which come with caveats and limitations. The Scottish Government hopes that by publishing this analysis that this will facilitate dialogue by allowing users and stakeholders to see, consider and provide feedback on these data. This feedback will be valuable in helping analysts better understand the HESA data and will help drive forward future work in this area.

If you would like to access this secondary data analysis, please see Estranged students: university data 2020-21 – (


(Added to News November 2022)

College Development Network - Launch of Mini Bites Training

The College Development Network have launched a series of short training videos and resources, to help college lecturers and support staff.

Topics for these training videos were selected from responses to the CDN Workforce Survey. These are free to access.


You can access the CDN Mini Bites here.

And you can read more about the Mini Bites project here.

(Added to News November 2022)

Call for papers / short presentations

Conversations on the future for arts, education and enterprise in Scottish rural communities

Symposium on Thursday 23rd March 2023

Venue: Glasgow Caledonian University

Part 2 will be held in St Andrews in Autumn 2023


Organisers: Dr Laurence Lasselle (School of Management, University of St Andrews) and Professor Simon McKerrell (Department of Media and Journalism, Glasgow Caledonian University)

This symposium will bring together academics and practitioners from all career stages for a discussion from across disciplines in arts & humanities and social sciences. The organisers encourage papers and roundtables, and particularly wish to encourage research students to participate in the day.

The organisers would like to hear from academics and practitioners with an interest in the many possible futures for arts, education, and enterprise in rural Scotland. The event hopes to build a conversation across 2023 that incorporates both multidisciplinary academics as well as community activists, educators and entrepreneurs focused on rural Scotland. The purpose of these conversations is to explore the possible innovative and/or future-facing issues and models for policy that are specifically driven by rural concerns and lifestyles.

Please see full details of the event and call for contributions, here.

Deadline for abstracts: 12th January 2023

(Added to News November 2022)

Save the date & Call for Papers

7th International Biennial Access, Participation and Success Conference

The Open University

26th & 27th April (Online)

The Open University are very pleased to invite you to ‘Save the Date’ and submit an abstract(s) for presentation at their 7th International Biennial Access, Participation and Success Conference taking place Online on 26th and 27th April 2023.  Full details and links to the abstracts submission form and the conference website are provided below.

Save the Date poster

Call for Papers giving additional abstracts information for anyone needing to view in an Accessible format.

Please feel free to share this with colleagues who might not be on our current distribution lists.

(Added to News November 2022)

University of Strathclyde Widening Participation from School to Higher Education Module

The University of Strathclyde are offering a Level 11 Widening Access Module, in semester 2 this year.

A reminder to colleagues that the WA/P module offered by Strathclyde is semester 2 is open for applications until December 21st 2022.

Application to the module must be made by applying to the MEd or MSc and can be done as part of one of those Masters qualifications, however the 20 credit module can also be completed as a stand-alone class. The module cost is £811. Please note that this is higher than originally advertised.

Final sessions TBC however the course will cover the following areas:
• Policy and Policy Making
• Parental Engagement and Transition Support to promote Inclusion
• What works? Joining up approaches to widening participation across sectors and through the learner journey
• Role of widening participation and mentoring in developing attainment
• Articulation in support of Widening Access
• Thinking Intersectionally in Widening Participation: From Subjects to Structures

X9650 – Widening Participation from School to Higher Education

Mode of Delivery: On campus and online
Day class is taught: 2 x Saturday (on campus) and 5 x Thursday evenings (online)
Time class starts: Saturday 10.00 – 16.00/ Thursday 18.00 – 20.00
Start Date: January, 2023
End Date: March, 2023
Assignment hand-in date: April, 2023
Marks returns to students: May, 2023


Widening access/participation to higher education is a priority of the Scottish Government and must be supported at all points at which barriers to access can manifest. This module offers practitioners, who are working to support access for school pupils of all ages either in-school or as a substantive part of their role in the wider education sector, with an opportunity to gain a solid grounding in policy context and practice and to be better positioned to ensure their own school/institutional approach to access is effective.

Participants will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of theory, debate, policy and social inequality. With a focus on children and young people, learners will examine a range of barriers, including socio-economic disadvantage, care-experience, gender and LGBT and will gain an understanding of the way in which access might be supported throughout the learner journey, both within school and into HN and Undergraduate courses. They will look closely at practitioner enquiry techniques and critically evaluate an existing access programme or activity, presenting their own work for scrutiny and recognition.

Critical evaluation of Widening Access policy

• Write a critical discussion and analysis of an appropriate aspect of Widening Access within the school or schools outreach context, developing and presenting an individual case study based on an analysis of policy in relation to your practitioner experience (max 4,000 words).
• A formative session will take place during the final seminar in March, when students will have an opportunity to present their case study. Please note that this is not part of the formal assessment.
• Assessment for the module is completed by the end of April.

Please direct informal enquiries to or to

(Updated November 2022)

Universities of Sanctuary Status

Congratulations to Dundee University and the University of Glasgow on achieving the Universities of Sanctuary status, joining a network across the UK of institutions working to develop support for those displaced by humanitarian crisis.

You can read more about the University of Dundee Dundee award ceremony, here.

(Added to News November 2022)

SCAPP Congratulates our Accredited members

SCAPP are delighted to announce the following members have been successful in achieving accreditation in the Pilot of the Scottish Widening Access and Participation Professional Standards Framework and Accreditation Scheme:

Amy McDermott, University of Glasgow (formerly at University of Stirling  – Practitioner
Ann Playford, Fife College – Practitioner
Daniella Gash, FOCUS West – Affiliate
Jackie Smith, ASPIRENorth – Practitioner
Lidia Dancu, Open University in Scotland – Practitioner
Lorna Lamont, FOCUS West – Affiliate
Morag Anderson, The Royal Conservatoire  of Scotland- Affiliate
Nicola Kennedy, Edinburgh Napier University – Practitioner
Paula Christie, College Development Network (formerly at SWAP West) – Practitioner

This is a brilliant achievement, and is credit to the hard work and dedication of these professionals. We know you’ll join us in congratulating our colleagues!

Many thanks to our Peer Reviewers: Amanda Baldwin, Alice Smith, Andrew Comrie, Gill Ryan and Peter Tormey for their work reviewing and providing feedback. And thank you to the Support Managers, for supporting these members to work towards Accreditation.

Discussions are underway for Phase 2 of the Accreditation Scheme, and we will share this news with our SCAPP members once finalised.

(Added to News October 2022)


ADVANCE Project is an innovative approach to reduce the Digital divide in Vocational Education and Training.

It was launched to develop and implement digital upskilling tools, deliver quality and inclusive training/education for the most underrepresented in our society. It consists of six partners from the Republic of North Macedonia, Belgium, Romania, the Netherlands and Scotland.

The project is contributing to the upskilling and empowering of low-skilled citizens by:

  • Creating an overview of practices in place in Europe to self-assess digital competences in low-skilled citizens;
  • Employing digital self-assessment tools adapted to the target group to the DigComp framework;
  • Applying qualitative and quantitative indicators of our target groups’ ability to access educational/training resources;
  • Preparing a digital skills training package and testing it on our target groups; and finally
  • Developing and delivering a digital training app and learning resource to facilitate upskilling and access to opportunities.

By doing so, partners have produced the following results:

  • IO1 – Digital Competence Mapping and Learner Survey;
  • IO2 – Digital Upskilling Tools Package;
  • With the final Intellectual Outcome to produce tools to assist in training and education,
    IO3 – Learning to Learn in the Digital Environment;

The ADVANCE project will enhance the digital and learning-to-learn competences of low-skilled citizens, enabling them to confidently engage in further training/education and employment. The output of IO2, Digital Upskilling Tools Package will shortly be available as a free App for learners to use,  to make the resources as accessible to the target group as possible.

SCAPP Members are invited to ‘like’ the ADVANCE Project Facebook page to find out more and to be updated on developments.

You can read more detail about the ADVANCE project in the document here.

(Added to News October 2022)

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

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.

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.

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