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The Commissioner for Fair Access, Sir Peter Scott, has published his second annual report to the Scottish Government.

Today’s report highlights the “welcome progress” made towards meeting national targets and recognises the “full-hearted commitment” to achieving fair access in Scotland. Sir Peter describes as impressive the “whole sector” approach adopted by organisations, including the Scottish Funding Council, which are working together to meet the challenge.

The Commissioner argues for a new way of thinking about fair access which sees it as creating an asset rather than addressing a deficit. He points to the qualities of determination and resilience brought into higher education by students from more challenging social backgrounds and talks about the positive benefits for universities and colleges of a wider and more democratic student population.

According to the report, reaching the goal of fair access would be “a great achievement …which would confirm Scotland’s historical reputation as a nation that has always placed a high value on education”.

The report touches on the implications of Brexit and cautions that any Brexit “bounty” from EU students being treated as international students is likely to be limited.

Today’s report has been welcomed by the chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, Karen Watt, who said: “The Commissioner’s report shows evidence of good progress and that universities and colleges are working hard to ensure everyone has a fair chance of a place on a higher education course.

“The report also points out that there is a lot of work still to do. We will continue to play our part in this collective challenge until we have a truly level playing field.”