Scotland leads UK on access to universities for those from deprived areas. Meanwhile in England…..

Yesterday, the Scottish Commissioner for Fair Access said:

Scotland is continuing to “set the pace” when it comes to students from deprived areas getting into university, the Commissioner for Fair Access has said.

The Commissioner’s latest annual report said the Scottish Government’s approach has been an “unambiguous success” and that “all the fair access indicators are flashing green”, despite the impact of COVID-19. It marks Sir Peter Scott’s last report as Commissioner for Fair Access before stepping down.

A record 16.7% of students from Scotland’s most deprived 20% of communities were entrants on full-time first-year degree courses in 2020/21, an increase of  545 students compared with the previous year. This represents an increase of around 1,550 entrants (39%), during Sir Peter’s time as Commissioner.

Back in January his equivalent in England writing, in the Guardian, made the claim above.


3 thoughts on “Scotland leads UK on access to universities for those from deprived areas. Meanwhile in England…..

  1. Interesting take on this by the Herald – would you expect anything else.
    Basically the thesis is this.
    1. With cash standstill for HE there will be no additional places (or with real term cuts, perhaps fewer). Lets call that number X
    2. Fair access requires Universities to increase the number of students from disadvantaged areas – the target is 20%. Let’s call that Y.
    Thus as we progress toward Y then the number of places for students from less deprived areas will fall – particularly if the number of funded places declines, as is proposed – about 2000 between 21/2 and 22/3.
    In short middle class kids are going to be squeezed out by the 20% target, and all the more as places are reduced.
    To be honest, I am a bit conflicted about this, bringing into view as it does what we mean by “equality” and “fairness”.
    Is it fair to advantage kids because they come from a disadvantaged background? Well if you want to make society more equal then yes it is?
    Is it fair to advantage disadvantaged kids by disadvantaging kids from not disadvantaged backgrounds? You can imagine how much Ross would make of that!
    My own view is that in an ideal world qualification for University would be on merit. Full stop. But it’s not an ideal world. Kids from disadvantaged areas struggle with lack of resources, and those resources they do have being poor very often. They lack role models (I went to a council school, but by the time I got to 6th year, everyone either went to University or a course of professional training – no shortage of role models there).
    Moreover, often the admissions process is oriented toward the skills that middle class kids naturally acquire – this is most true in an interview situation for instance. If you want to study Medicine or Veterinary Science it’s a good idea for one of your parents to be a Doctor or a Vet.
    I could go on, but this in many regards is the sort of debate when grammar schools were “destroyed” to be replaced by Comps. The middle class responded to this by ensuring that even if their kids were going to school with the oiks, they still did better. At the moment the debate at University is in its early stages, but should this become a marked problem then expect a middle class (Mrs Angry, Bearsden) backlash.
    One last thing, with the cap on places that the SG uses, why are they not even more directive? Why do we train kids in skills they will never use? Why so many Media Studies grads or in Business when what we need are Engineers and Scientists? Or on another tack, just to annoy John, why do we train so many young teachers when there are few jobs for them?


    1. Would someone more able than myself please sent to
      All Tory Lib and Labour SMP,s along with Editor in chief of ABC ( BBC )
      With the under noted word highlighted and bold type

      Then their attitude and purposes shall be truly revealed if when referring to such report that the failure to repeat such word and well in context and balance


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