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Coherence and Sustainability: Review of Tertiary Education and Research  SFC, 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.

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.

Please find here SFC’s Report on Widening Access 2019-20

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

Commissioner for Fair Access, Sir Peter Scott’s report Re-committing to Fair Access: A Plan for Recovery   June 2021

Accessing Robert Gordon University: The experiences of students from disadvantaged backgrounds

Professor Stephen Vertigans, Head of School of Applied Social Studies at RGU,and Sarah Minty, University of Edinburgh, recently undertook research with undergraduate students from MD20 areas and those with care experience/ estranged backgrounds at RGU to explore their routes to the university and the barriers and enablers they encountered on the way.

You can read their research findings here

Students who participate in summer schools more likely to attend university

Students who attend summer schools are more likely to receive better grades and progress to higher education, according to a new report from TASO and the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) Service.

Download the read the article here 

University Admissions: The international Picture
Post qualification admissions systems around the world
Professor Graeme Atherton

See the full report here
To discuss the report and its contents please contact Professor Graeme Atherton on

New report – The Outlook for Outreach –  shows investment in widening access to higher education to fall if Uni-Connect programme not renewed

Research released in June by the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) examining the Access and Participation Plans (APPs) of 171 Higher Education Providers shows that from 2022-23 the total invested in activities to support those from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter HE will fall unless there is continued funding provided for the national Uni-Connect programme.

The report entitled ‘The outlook for outreach’, also finds that investment in activities for learners post 16 is almost double that for those younger than 16, despite the wealth of evidence that shows young people form their future educational ambitions at the pre 16 stage. This difference in investment between those pre and post 16 is also set to grow over the 2020-21 to 2024-25 period covered by the plans.
As the author of the report Neil Raven states:

‘Whilst the report confirms the real commitment of HE providers to widening access, it also highlights the essential and complementary role that Uni Connect plays and the need to secure the programme’s long-term future.’

You can read the report The Outlook for Outreach here

Journals, Newpaper and other 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.

Open University Widening Access and Lifelong Learning Journal

Magazine or journal articles

Students who attend summer schools are more likely to receive better grades and progress to higher education, according to a new report from TASO and the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) Service.

Download the read the article here 

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

‘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