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SFC funding for access initiatives

Widening access

Schools for Higher Education Programme

The Schools for Higher Education Programme (SHEP) supports regional collaboration between schools, colleges and universities to increase progression to higher education in both colleges and universities.

The programme supports the Senior Phase of CFE (Curriculum for Excellence), focused on school pupils S3 to S6. Working with schools in each region where fewer than 22% of pupils progress to higher education, the programme targets activity on pupils who are at risk of not achieving their full potential and those achieving but who don't recognise their potential.

Further information on the work of the individual programmes can be found at:

Schools for Higher Education Programme [PDF] lists the target schools included in the programme.

Scottish Wider Access Programme 

The Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) works in partnership with colleges and Higher Education Institutions across Scotland to provide routes into Higher Education for adults with few or no qualifications, or whose qualifications are out-of-date.

SWAP Access Programmes are one year full-time courses at colleges across Scotland. Successful completion of a SWAP Access Programme can lead to a guaranteed place on a Higher National or degree course at a college or university.

For details of current SWAP programmes running at different colleges, please see:

For more information on SWAP, please contact Anna Thomson, tel: 0131 313 6605, email: athomson@sfc.ac.uk.

Impact for Access 

Our aim is to gather evidence of the impact of access work across the full student cycle - from getting in to further or higher education, to staying in, and moving on to employment or further study.

This will enable us, colleges and universities to judge better what works on access, and to produce evidence to support those judgements.

It will also be used to inform the work of the Commission on Widening Access.

Funding will be focused on at least four areas:

  • Outreach to schools, colleges, and to prospective mature students.
  • Summer schools for prospective students.
  • Admission systems.
  • Outcomes for students.


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