Delivering for Scotland 2013/14

The second round of university outcome agreements

This is the second year of the new outcome agreements process between higher education institutions and the Scottish Funding Council. Outcome agreements are intended as a means of demonstrating the impact universities deliver in return for public investment.

The outcome agreements cover a range of university activity including widening access and retention, graduate employability and the pattern of HE provision across Scotland and innovation.

As a result of a new process, the second round of outcome agreements follows very quickly after the first; only a matter of months later. This has left universities will little time to make progress or develop new initiatives. However, universities have risen to these challenging circumstances.

  • Nine universities have bid for additional 727 undergraduate places that are to be ring-fenced for students from SIMD40 postcodes. Recruitment is now underway with entrants due to start in 2013/14.
  • 14 universities have bid for an addition 1,020 articulation places which will take a new shape of ‘associated student status’. This means that from day one, when in college, the student will have access to all university facilities. It is hoped this will foster a sense of belonging and help progression into university and retention once there.
  • Seven universities make reference in their outcome agreements to new or expanded initiatives to widen access and reach out into schools and communities.
  • A majority of universities identify looked after or those in care as a priority group within their widening access agendas.
  • Eighteen universities have made a commitment to partner with local or regional colleges to increase the diversity of routes into university.
  • Universities have committed themselves to closing the retention gap between the student average and that for students of SIMD20/40 if and where a gap exists at present.

University actions are making a clear difference to individuals

Connor McKenzie from Kilmarnock is studying Medicine at the University of Glasgow thanks to REACH

The University of Glasgow delivers REACH in the west of Scotland. REACH is a nation-wide project that works to address underrepresentation within the professions. Glasgow University has had great success with REACH in its medical degrees. The number of students from SIMD40 backgrounds has increased from 10 per cent a year ago to 25 per cent.

“It was a real turning point. Attending the project gave me the confidence to know I could do it and I really applied myself and worked really hard to get the grades I needed. When I started the course I was a bit intimidated but I have settled in well and am really enjoying it.”

Abbie Granger, 17 from Falkirk, is using a new articulation route into the University of Stirling

The University of Stirling has developed two new articulation routes with Forth Valley College in Applied Biological Sciences and Heritage and Conservation. Students spend the first two years in college and finish their undergraduate degree from year three at Stirling University.

“I personally don’t feel that I’m ready to go straight from school into university and I feel this course will give me opportunities to become familiar with the University of Stirling, making me better prepared when I do eventually make the transition. It’s an ideal stepping stone.”

Key Points:

  • 18 universities partner with a local college to increase the diversity of routes into HE.
  • 7 universities have worked to deliver new or expand existing widening access programmes in the last year.
  • A majority of universities have identified children in care as a priority group in addition to SIMD and other measures of under-representation.


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