Universities Scotland: Briefing on Widening Access

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Universities Scotland, a body made up of the Principals or Directors of Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions, recently published a paper entitled ‘Widening Access to University.’  You can find the report here:

http://www.universities-scotland.ac.uk/uploads/WideningAccess%20July12.pdf

It includes a summary of Universities Scotland’s position on widening access, the fundamental challenge outreach presents and concerns with using SIMD (The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) as a measure of Scottish efforts.

The paper also takes account of the sometimes non-measurable interactions universities have with pupils from more ‘deprived’ areas.  “Ultimately it is about creating opportunities for individuals not postcodes or data-zones.”

A key message from this is that we should be looking more to partnership working and not just lay blame at the door of universities.  The report concludes “If primary responsibility for ensuring fair access is laid at the doors of universities, and the system-wide response that is needed to address problems of social inequality remains absent, then a step change in progress will be unlikely.”

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