Report from the Commissioner for Fair Access

Minister comments on Commissioner’s first annual report.

Responding to the publication of the first annual report from the Commissioner for Fair Access, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said:

“Every child, no matter their background, should have an equal chance of going on to higher education and it is this ambition that drives forward the work of this Government.

“Progress is being made - with latest figures showing that a record number of students from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland successfully gained a place at university in 2017.

“But we want to go further, faster and that is why we appointed Professor Peter Scott as Scotland’s first Commissioner for Fair Access.

“As anticipated, the Commissioner has produced a report which challenges both policymakers and the sector to do more to improve the accessibility of a university education in Scotland.

“We’ll consider this report and his recommendations carefully, discussing them with the recently established Access Delivery Group.

“In particular, I welcome the Commissioner’s view that free higher education for Scottish students provides the foundations on which fair access can be built. Similarly, we would echo his calls for universities to increase the number of students admitted directly from colleges and free up more college-university pathways.

“We already invest over £1 billion in higher education each year, including £51 million a year to support approximately 7,000 places for access students and those progressing from college.  But developing a truly fair system requires systemic change and will not be achieved simply by just expanding the system.

“That is why we’ll continue to work alongside the school, college and university sector to meet our ambitious targets on widening access – giving all young people an equal chance in life.”


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