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Policy drivers and issues for contextual admissions in Scotland Kirsty Conlon Head of Learning & Teaching & Widening Access Policy Universities Scotland.

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Presentation on theme: "Policy drivers and issues for contextual admissions in Scotland Kirsty Conlon Head of Learning & Teaching & Widening Access Policy Universities Scotland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Policy drivers and issues for contextual admissions in Scotland Kirsty Conlon Head of Learning & Teaching & Widening Access Policy Universities Scotland SPA conference, Dundee, 10 December 2013

2 The context Widening access – Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act – Outcome agreements – Additional places – Universities Scotland’s work on widening access Admissions more generally – Curriculum for Excellence – Pressure on student numbers Issues – Who are we widening access to? – What are we widening access to? – How do we measure widening access?

3 Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act Great deal of interest in widening access as the then Bill moved through Parliament: – MSPs – Unions – NUS (report on access summer 2012) – Media Personal priority for Cabinet Secretary Bill as introduced: “The Scottish Ministers may […] impose a condition that the Council, when making a payment […] must require the institution to comply with a widening access agreement of such description as the Scottish Ministers may specify”

4 Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act Perception: Universities not doing enough on access Result: – Statutory basis for widening access agreements (part of outcome agreements) – Triennial review of access

5 Outcome agreements: origins Introduced before then Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill introduced Builds on access agreements in place with some institutions Part of “something for something” deal of Spending Reviews Outcome agreements key to SFC agenda Access arguably most significant part of outcome agreements

6 Outcome agreements: content Focus on – Scottish domicile – SIMD 20 & 40 – Care leavers – Gender – Retention – Institutional measures Push for introduction of contextual admissions

7 Outcome agreements: reflections Mixed experiences from institutions Ongoing refinement Somewhat rushed Becoming more sophisticated Remain important for spending reviews

8 Additional funded places from Articulation – 1,020 places across 14 institutions – 0.8 % of places allocated Widening access places – 727 places across 9 institutions – Focused on ‘research intensives’ and one small specialist institution – 0.6 % of places allocated

9 Additional funded places from Undergraduate skills – 342 places across 11 institutions – Predominantly ‘research intensives’ – 0.3 % of places allocated – Focus on key industry sectors of energy and life sciences Taught postgraduate skills – 815 places across 16 institutions – 0.7 % of places allocated

10 Additional funded places from Overall, these additional places are 2.3% of total funded places Also new places in and/or for – STEM subjects – UHI – British Sign Language – Regional Coherence – Crichton campus – Community Education (UWS) BUT it’s not just about new places

11 Universities Scotland’s work on widening access Commissioned a literature review on ‘What Works in Widening Access’ from Centre for Research in Education Inclusion & Diversity (CREID) at University of Edinburgh Access All Areas report – case studies Parliamentary reception Recommendations by Christmas

12 Curriculum for Excellence Admissions policies changing Potentially more diversity between schools Potentially more diversity between applicants

13 Pressures on student numbers Consolidation controls Increasing applications 2013 entry, applications by end of June  1.2 % increase from Scotland  14.0 % increase from England  4.1 % increase from other EU  6.1% increase from international Selecting, not recruiting

14 Who are we widening access to? Universities diverse range of target groups; SFC focus on SIMD Only Scottish domiciled students? Unconscious focus on young FT students?

15 What are we widening access to? Regionalisation agenda Focus on some types of institutions rather than others? Post undergraduate study… – Employment – PGT study

16 How do we measure widening access? How we measure widening access will influence who we target Many issues with SIMD as a measure Universities Scotland work on alternative measures

17 So what? Widening access a continuing policy priority and only likely to become more so. The sector needs to demonstrate progress A lot of store set on contextual admissions as one of the means to achieve this. Increased pressure on contextual admissions if additional places phased out.

18 Thank you Follow us on


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