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NUS Scotland wins on Widening Access for students

Thursday 17-03-2016 - 12:48

For a number of years, NUS Scotland has tirelessly campaigned for fairer access to education for students in the region. This week (14 March) saw them reap the rewards of that hard work through the publication of the Commission on Widening Access report, which includes a majority of NUS Scotland’s asks within its final recommendations to Scottish Government.

In 2012, NUS Scotland’s ‘Unlocking Scotland’s Potential’ report called for a commission to examine the barriers to access and for urgent action to improve the number of people from poorer backgrounds attending Scottish universities.  

The creation by the Scottish Government of the Commission on Widening Access was the first step in addressing this. 

NUS Scotland were represented on the Commission by NUS Scotland President, Vonnie Sandlan, and former NUS Scotland Director, Russell Gunson.

Commenting on the Commission, Vonnie Sandlan said: “Fair access to education has long been NUS Scotland’s underlying principle in all that we campaign for. The publication of the Commission on Widening Access’ final report is a significant moment in our campaign”, adding “I’m so proud of the work the Commission has done. I’m even more proud at the thought of what Scotland could achieve as a result of it.”
 

A significant win

Today sees a significant win for the campaign with the publication of the Commission on Widening Access report. The majority of our asks are included in the final recommendations in the report to Scottish Government.


Key recommendations from the commission include:

  • The establishment of a Commissioner for Fair Access, to ensure the necessary strategic leadership, coordination, and strategic delivery of fair access in Scotland.

  • The development of a Scottish Framework for Fair Access, to ensure a clear framework of what works in fair access, and how students can best be supported at each stage of education.

  • A clear and ambitious target to ensure that, by 2030, our universities are reflective of the communities they serve, with equal representation of students from our most deprived communities.

  • A clear set of recommendations for how universities, colleges, and others can work together, complementing and supporting students at each stage of their education.

  • Recommendations to make admissions fairer, setting a minimum threshold that judges students on their potential to succeed.

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