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NUS Scotland welcomes Scottish Government commitments to students

Tuesday 06-09-2016 - 15:33

NUS Scotland welcomes Scottish Government commitments to students as the Programme for Government lays strong foundations for continued improvements in fair access and student support stating that we must see ‘bold, ambitious and immediate’ action to ensure those commitments become a reality.

NUS Scotland has today welcomed many of the commitments to students and young people in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government. Particularly welcomed the announcement of the imminent appointment of a Fair Access Commissioner, which NUS Scotland has been urging to be a priority, and further confirmation of the timescale and scope of the proposed review of further and higher education student support. 

NUS Scotland has urged ‘bold, ambitious and immediate’ action, so those commitments become a reality – not least to ensure much greater, and faster, progress on widening access, and fairer support for Scotland’s students, particularly the most vulnerable – through the forthcoming student support review, appointment of a Fair Access Commissioner, and the Draft Scottish Budget.   

Commenting on the announcement, Vonnie Sandlan, President of NUS Scotland, said: 
“During the recent Scottish election, NUS Scotland’s ‘Shaping Scotland’s Future’ campaign saw students right across Scotland campaigning to ensure a Parliament that delivered on one core objective – fairer support for Scotland’s students. Today’s announcement includes some really welcome commitments for students, which will help to deliver on that objective. There was strong progress made during the last Parliament on improving fair access to education, and now it falls to this Parliament to ensure that goes even further.

“A review and reform of the current student support system is particularly welcome. If we were starting from scratch, we wouldn’t aspire to the system we have now. It leaves far too many students to fall through the gaps, and can even serve to undermine our efforts on fair access. A fundamental review of student support could ensure we scrap the injustices of the current system, and provide security and parity for all students, regardless of where, what or how they study. At the same time, we know that there are important changes we can, and must, make for students here and now, while we secure longer term reform - well be looking to the forthcoming draft budget to ensure that’s the case. 

“In recent years there has rightly been a clear priority placed on securing fair access to education, which must come with ambitious, bold and immediate action to ensure it becomes a reality. That requires continued investment in education, to ensure access targets can be met in full, if not exceeded. It must see the necessary support system for students to ensure that they are able to not just access education but stay there and succeed. And it also needs the necessary leadership to push our universities and colleges to secure much greater progress, through the appointment of a Fair Access Commissioner. This announcement laid the groundwork for all that to happen, and we look forward to playing a full role in ensuring it does.” 

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