Widening access to higher education
On Wednesday 6 February, Minister for Further and Higher Education Richard Lochhead met with the Commissioner for Fair Access Professor Sir Peter Scott and other members of the Access Delivery Group to discuss progress on widening access to higher education.
The Access Delivery Group is made up of key stakeholders from across the education sector and works to drive forward the implementation of recommendations made by the Commission on Widening Access in their report ‘A Blueprint for Fairness’.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lochhead said:
“The Scottish Government is committed to tackling socioeconomic inequality in higher education. Recent statistics show we are making progress in this area – with 15.6% of 2017-18 full-time first degree university entrants coming from our most deprived areas, only 0.4% short of the Government’s target for 2021.
“However, we know there is more to do. I welcome the robust discussions I’ve had with the Commissioner and colleagues from across the sector today on what more can be done to support disabled students and those from more rural areas to access university. I feel certain that we will continue to make progress on our shared goal of widening access to higher education.”
Professor Sir Peter Scott Commissioner for Fair Access commented:
“The latest figures on the admission of students from deprived backgrounds are very encouraging. They are a vindication of the Scottish Government’s political leadership and the Scottish Funding Council’s sustained work on fair access.
But, as the Minister says, a lot remains to be done. Socially disadvantaged students are very unevenly distributed across higher education, between universities and colleges and between particular universities. Access for part-time and adult learners need much greater emphasis. And, although very good progress has been made, the last miles are sometimes the most difficult to travel – as with any journey.”
Recent HESA statistics show that last year a record number of full time first degree students at Scottish universities were from the most deprived areas in Scotland.