A Blueprint for Fairness: Final Report of the Commission on Widening Access

A Blueprint for Fairness presents a system wide plan to achieve equal access to higher education.

Annex B

Commission on Widening Access Remit

The Government's ambition is that a child born today in one of our most deprived communities should, by the time he or she leaves school, have the same chance of going to university as a child born in one of our least deprived communities.

To achieve this, Scotland requires:

  • A shared understanding of the barriers to accessing higher education, and their removal, for those from the most deprived communities and households, based on reliable and comprehensive evidence.
  • A clear target to achieve equality of access and an understanding of the actions required to meet that ambition.
  • A culture of partnership between early years, schools, colleges, universities, employers and the Government, where each recognises the part that it can play in eradicating the inequality in access to higher education and works in partnership with others to achieve this.

Building upon the Government's commitment to free tuition fees for higher education, the introductions of Curriculum for Excellence, School Attainment Policy, reforms to the Post-16 education system and Developing the Young Workforce programme, it is proposed that the Commission on Widening Access will:

  • synthesise existing evidence around barriers to widening access and retention, and their effective removal, for those from deprived backgrounds and, within this, identify any specific barriers for those with different equality characteristics or those from a care background;
  • propose both a short and long-term target for participation in higher education and clear milestones, to drive further and faster progress to widen access;
  • identify best practice on widening access across early years, schools, colleges, universities and employers, and make recommendations as to how best practice on access and retention can be scaled up and embedded, within the work of individual institutions, across the wider education and employment system;
  • identify the data and information required to monitor and support improvements on widening access across all education providers, and recommend the processes necessary to support this.

In addition to formal meetings of the Commission, it will use a number of events and visits to meet with those who have direct experience of the barriers to widening access, whether from a personal or professional perspective, including: school pupils, parents, graduates, widening access professionals and community groups. The Commission may also enlist the help of a number of expert advisors to support its work.

The Commission is expected to draw preliminary conclusions and recommendations in autumn 2015, with a final report, to Government and institutions, by spring 2016.


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