Widen access commission launches at UofG

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, and Glasgow graduate, Angela Constance MSP was on campus on Monday 14 March as the Commission for Widening Access formally launched its report, ‘Blueprint for Fairness’.  The Cabinet Secretary was briefed by the Commission before meeting a number of University of Glasgow students who came into higher education through some of our many access routes.  

Image of Education Secretary Angela ConstanceThe Cabinet Secretary was welcomed by Professor Frank Coton. Principal, Professor Anton Muscatelli who is a member of the Commission on Widening Access could not attend due to a prior commitment.

Dr Neil Croll, Acting Director of Widening Participation introduced some of the students who explained their own stories to the Cabinet Secretary and to members of the Commission.

The Commission on Widening Access made 34 recommendations, including the following:

  • A series of targets should be set to ensure that, by 2030, students from the 20 per cent most deprived areas make up 20 per cent of Higher Education entrants
  • The creation of a Commissioner for Fair Access to drive the agenda across the country
  • New admissions thresholds for students from the most deprived backgrounds
  • Entitlements to the offer of a place and full bursary for students with care experience who meet admissions thresholds
  • A more collaborative approach to delivering access programmes by universities, colleges and schools.

Launching the report at the University of Glasgow the Cabinet Secretary said: "While our actions to widen access have delivered significant improvements compared to the position in 2007-08, we know that there remains much more to do.

“That is why we formed the Commission on Widening Access to advise us on the steps necessary to achieve our ambition that a child born today, regardless of background, should have an equal chance of entering university.  I agree absolutely with the Commission’s assessment that Scotland has a social, moral and economic duty to achieve fair access.

“With that in mind, I can announce today that the Scottish Government will immediately accept the Commission’s recommended targets. Achieving these will not be the sole responsibility of universities nor indeed just the education system –  we will all have to work collectively to this end.

“Careful consideration is needed on the detail of the Commission’s other recommendations and I will work closely with key stakeholders on how best to take this work forward. But agreeing to take forward these targets leaves no-one in any doubt that this Government is determined to make urgent progress on achieving our ambition of equal access. I am very grateful to Dame Ruth Silver and the Commissioners for the considerable time, effort and engagement they have put into producing this ’Blueprint for Fairness’. Their recommendations are bold and thoughtful and fit well with ongoing work around closing the attainment gap and developing the young workforce.”

You can learn more about the Blueprint for Fairness report on the Scottish Government website.

First published: 14 March 2016

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