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Publications, Articles and Reports

SFC Reports

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 2020 – 2021 report here

You can read the 2019 – 2020 report here.

 

Scottish Funding Council Strategic Plan 2022 – 2027

The latest strategic plan from the SFC outlines the organisation’s priorities for tertiary education between now and 2027.

Read more on the Scottish Funding Council website.

 

College student satisfaction increases

The Scottish Funding Council have published statistics from the 2022 Student Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, which show student satisfaction rates in colleges are on the rise.

Read the report, here.

 

Resilience and Recovery: Colleges and Universities response to Covid,

This report, through a selection of highlights and case studies, shows how Scotland’s colleges and universities – with the support of SFC – have responded to the unprecedented challenge of the Covid pandemic.

You can find the report here or look on the SFC website

 

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.

 

See all SFC reports on their Statistical Publication Schedule page.

 

Journals, Newspapers 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

Publications

Next Steps: Care Experienced Students and progression to HE (November 2022)

UCAS, in partnership with the Unite Foundation, have published a report exploring the experience and aspirations of care-experienced students in their progression to HE across the UK.
This includes the positive impact of using minimum entry requirements for care experienced students in Scotland.

You can read the UCAS report here, and Universities Scotland response to the findings, here.

 

Actions required to maintain momentum towards 2030 access targets in Scotland (November 2022)

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.

You can read the article here.

 

Research on the experiences of estranged students in Scotland (November 2022)

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 – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

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

 

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 – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

 

 

Higher Education’s Equity crisis threatens sector

Graeme Atherton – University World News (Nov 2022)

This article by Graeme Atherton outlines challenges facing the sector, for World Higher Education Day 2022.

Read the report, here.

 

HESA – area based deprivation (Nov 2022)

Using the 2011 Census data, HESA have released a paper detailed a new, UK-wide area-based measure of deprivation.

This may be of interest to those in education, charities, researchers, or organisations specialising in poverty, deprivation and social mobility.

Read the report, here.

 

Reaching Care-Experienced learners earlier – The Learning Explorers Pilot (Nov 2022)

An evaluation of the Learning Explorers pilot has been shared. This project worked with P7 students and student ambassadors in partnership with the Hub for Success and local educational institutions.

Read the report, here.

 

Estranged students in further and higher education (Nov 2022)

In March 2022 the Scottish Government commissioned ScotCen to undertake research on the experiences of estranged students in Scotland.
This research included a rapid literature review, interviews and focus groups.

Read the report, here.

 

COSMO study (Nov 2022)

The first reports of the COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities study have been published. This collaborative research explores the short, medium and long-term impacts of the pandemic on educational inequality, wellbeing and social mobility.

Read the reports, here.

 

The Sounding Out Project (Oct 2022)

Evaluation has been undertaken for the Sounding Out Project, a Youth Music Initiative with care experienced young people, delivered by RCS and supported by Live Life Aberdeenshire and Creative Scotland. Read the report on the Fair Access Website.

 

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

 

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.

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

 

CDN have published a 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

 

Higher Education Provision in Scotland’s Colleges – A Future shaped by new levels of cross-institutional collaboration?

A  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

 

 

Access to HE for Scottish rural and remote communities

Laurence Lasselle, Senior Lecturer, School of Management at University of St Andrews undertook research on access to HE for remote and rural communities following the inquiry into attainment and achievement of school children experiencing poverty of the Education and Skills Committee of the Scottish Parliament in 2018. This Committee recommended investigating how communities could be affected by the use of the SIMD1 and Free-School Meals as indicators of deprivation in school funding allocation.

Laurence has published two papers  Levelling the playing field between rural schools and urban schools in a HE context: A Scottish case study (Lasselle and Johnson, April 2021)

and its follow up Depicting Rural Deprivation in a Higher Education Context – A Scottish Case Study
(Lasselle, 2021)

Both papers document how the use of the SIMD1 and FSM indicators could impact access to HE for remote and rural communities.

Please contact Laurence Lasselle if you would like to know more about this research.  laurence.lasselle@st-andrews.ac.uk

 

Refugees Welcome Guidance for Universities on Providing Asylum Seekers and Refugees with Access to Higher Education 2021 – Universities Scotland publication.

Higher education institutions are well placed to be able to provide wide-ranging support to people who are fleeing violence and persecution. They can and are supporting people and communities in different circumstances: in their home countries, in refugee camps, and when they are settled in the UK.

Universities have updated their 2016 report . This is a collaborative effort between the Scottish Refugee Council and Scottish universities to provide guidance for the sector to ensure there is an understanding of entitlements, and that any displaced person living in Scotland that wants access to higher education is not discouraged by the administrative procedure required to gain entry into higher education.

You can access this publication below

Refugees-Welcome-2021-final.pdf (universities-scotland.ac.uk)

 

 

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.

Th 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

 

The Robertson Trust funded a Mentoring Project – Time4 Me – aimed at  young people (aged 15-26) considered at highest risk of not achieving successful and sustained educational outcomes. The groups targeted for support were
• Care experienced young people
• Young carers/Young adult carers
• Young people from regeneration areas (SIMD20)

An evaluation of this project has taken place and makes interesting reading. You can find this report here

 

Building Belonging in the post-pandemic landscape

Dr Karen Campbell (Glasgow Caledonian University) explores ways of embedding a sense of belonging among students as they make transitions into and through higher education. Drawing on research and highlighting specific aspects of Glasgow Caledonian University’s approach, the paper discusses key challenges and opportunities for building belonging in the post-pandemic student experience and offers practical examples and activities that could be introduced in other institutions.

This article can be found on the  QAA Membership Resources site

You can read this article here

 

 

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, CD

You can read the report here

 

MD20 students with Care Experienced & Estranged Backgrounds

l 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

 

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

Improving-Schools-in-Scotland-An-OECD-Perspective.pdf

 

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 Graeme.atherton@uwl.ac.uk.

 

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

 

Building Belonging in the post-pandemic landscape

Dr Karen Campbell (Glasgow Caledonian University) explores ways of embedding a sense of belonging among students as they make transitions into and through higher education. Drawing on research and highlighting specific aspects of Glasgow Caledonian University’s approach, the paper discusses key challenges and opportunities for building belonging in the post-pandemic student experience and offers practical examples and activities that could be introduced in other institutions.

This article can be found on the  QAA Membership Resources site

You can read this article here

 

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