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Scotland’s Commissioner for Fair Access, Professor Sir Peter Scott, was joined today by over 130 experts, practitioners and policy makers to mark the launch of a new Framework for Fair Access.

The framework consists of two parts. The first is an online resource for recording and sharing information. The second part is a community of access and participation practitioners -a forum to share and develop best practice  across Scotland.

Professor Scott said: “the framework is designed to produce a step-change in our knowledge about which fair access activities work best. It is also designed to act as a focus, even a rallying point, for grass-roots access and participation practitioners across Scotland.”

The website, he said, would “support a dynamic process of continuous improvement in access practice and research in Scotland”.

Newly appointed forum coordinator, Katie Monk, added: “The practitioners’ forum will connect people together and help further discussion about what works and why.”

Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“Education is by far the most effective means we have of improving the life chances of our young people. We are firmly committed to widening access and ensuring that every young person has access to the learning that will provide them with the skills and qualifications they need to meet their aspirations and succeed in life.

Scotland is ahead of the curve in delivering equality of access, with 15.6% of entrants to Scottish universities now coming from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland – just 0.4% short of our goal for 2021. However, we can do more.

Sharing learning on how best to support disadvantaged learners to realise their potential is key to this and I am delighted to see the education sector in Scotland come together to bring to life one of the key recommendations made by the Commission on Widening Access in the form of the framework”

Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council said:

“This framework brings together the best evidence on ensuring fair access, and will support the many dedicated professionals who deliver this work across the country.

It’s a significant milestone on the road to achieving the ambitions of the Commission on Widening Access to ensure young people in Scotland have the same opportunities to access higher education, no matter their situation.”