Implementing 'A Blueprint for Fairness': progress report

Report on the implementation of the Blueprint's recommendations for achieving equality of access to higher education in Scotland.

Maintaining the Momentum

There are two foundational recommendations due for delivery in the coming years: the Framework for Fair Access in 2018 and Access thresholds in 2019. Most of the remaining recommendations did not have delivery dates specified by the Commission and many will inevitably take time to implement in full. It is vital, therefore, that we set a pace and focus for delivery that will maintain momentum in the next phase of implementation.

With this in mind, the Government has set out below its expectations for progress in the coming year - expectations of ourselves, as well as of others. These are the areas that we see as priorities in the next 12 months, not only to deliver the remaining foundational recommendations, but also to enable us to develop a more integrated system to support our most vulnerable learners throughout their education.

Expectations for progress

The Government's expectations are that over the next 12 months:

The Scottish Government will:

  • Hold regular meetings of the Delivery Group in order to review implementation and facilitate the coordination of efforts;
  • Bring together a working group to ensure delivery of Recommendation 31 ( Develop a consistent and robust set of measure to identify access students). Seek to align measures, where possible, with those being used to identify students in need of support with school attainment. Work with Universities Scotland and the SFC in delivery of this recommendation;
  • Set out the proposed approach and timetable for delivery of Recommendation 29a ( Develop and implement the use of a unique learner number);
  • Complete Stage 1 of the 15 - 24 Learner Journey Review;
  • Following the initial findings of the Framework for Fair Access, initiate a review to ensure that the use of public funding is consistent with the Framework Recommendation 3.

The Scottish Funding Council will:

  • Ensure that the access targets being set through the outcome agreement process are sufficient to ensure delivery of the targets in Recommendation 32, including at institution and national level and for full-time first degree entrants. Within this:
    • Monitor delivery by institutions and identify where targets are not met or where it feels they are not being set at a sufficiently challenging level
    • Improve transparency by setting out more clearly the access related activity and ambitions being set by institutions through the outcome agreement process, as well as progress against these;
  • Conduct a review of the use and effectiveness of the additional access and articulation places over the last four years to inform future funding;
  • Complete the work to establish a new Articulation Database;
  • Consult on the Schools Engagement Framework and finalise proposals for future working.

Universities will:

  • Make clear and demonstrable progress that will ensure delivery of access thresholds ( Recommendation 11) by 2019, as recommended by the Commission
  • Make clear how they will deliver a more open and transparent approach to their use of access thresholds and wider contextual admissions policies ( Recommendation 12).
  • Take forward delivery of ( Recommendation 21) to provide an offer of a place to those with care experience and make clear how this is being implemented.

Scottish Government
May 2017


Email: Laura Duffy

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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