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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. The context. Widening access Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act Outcome agreements

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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

the context
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?
post 16 education scotland act
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”

post 16 education scotland act1
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
outcome agreements origins
Outcome agreements: origins
  • Introduced 2012-13 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
outcome agreements content
Outcome agreements: content
  • Focus on
    • Scottish domicile
    • SIMD 20 & 40
    • Care leavers
    • Gender
    • Retention
    • Institutional measures
  • Push for introduction of contextual admissions
outcome agreements reflections
Outcome agreements: reflections
  • Mixed experiences from institutions
  • Ongoing refinement
  • Somewhat rushed
  • Becoming more sophisticated
  • Remain important for spending reviews
additional funded places from 2013 14
Additional funded places from 2013-14
  • 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
additional funded places from 2013 141
Additional funded places from 2013-14
  • 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
additional funded places from 2013 142
Additional funded places from 2013-14
  • Overall, these additional places are 2.3% of total funded places
  • Also new places in 2012-13 and/or 2013-14 for
    • STEM subjects
    • UHI
    • British Sign Language
    • Regional Coherence
    • Crichton campus
    • Community Education (UWS)
  • BUT it’s not just about new places
universities scotland s work on widening access
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
curriculum for excellence
Curriculum for Excellence
  • Admissions policies changing
  • Potentially more diversity between schools
  • Potentially more diversity between applicants
pressures on student numbers
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
who are we widening access to
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?
what are we widening access to
What are we widening access to?
  • Regionalisation agenda
  • Focus on some types of institutions rather than others?
  • Post undergraduate study…
    • Employment
    • PGT study
how do we measure widening access
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
so what
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.
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Thank you

www.universities-scotland.ac.uk

Follow us on Twitter: @uni_scot

kirsty@universities-scotland.ac.uk