Reaction to Sutton Trust report: Access in Scotland

Universities Scotland responded to a report on access to university published today [Friday, 27 May] by the Sutton Trust. The report, Access in Scotland, is a comparative assessment of widening access policy and performance across the UK.

Commenting on the report, a spokesperson said:

“Universities deeply share the First Minister’s commitment to enabling people to realise their full potential, no matter their background. There are some sensible recommendations in the Sutton Trust’s report. We particularly welcome the call to meet widening access goals through expansion of funded places. We would share the emphasis it puts on bridging programmes as a route into university for those who have been underrepresented.

“We understand the temptation to compare Scotland with England on access, as with all things, however it is not always meaningful or helpful because our systems of education at school, college and university level are now so different. This limitation applies equally to cross-UK data and policy direction. What is clear from the Sutton Trust’s analysis is that England’s policy of uncapped places has made it easier to get into university and this has helped access. Scotland’s strict cap on places has made it much harder for Scottish students to get into Scottish universities. This is having clear knock-ons in terms of entry requirements and access.

“We have been carefully considering our response to the Blueprint for Fairness and we look forward to meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss the Commission on Widening Access’ final report.”