UEL Higher Education Research seminar
Cass School of Education and Communities, College of Professional Services
Date/Time: 7 March 2018, 5.00-6.30 PM.
Venue: Cass School, ED2.04, UEL Stratford Campus
Speaker: Professor Sir Peter Scott, Commissioner for Fair Access, Scottish Government/ (emeritus) Professor of Higher Education Studies, UCL Institute of Education, University College London
Convener: Dr. Terri Kim, Reader in Comparative Higher Education; RSVP: Terri Kim (email@example.com )
TITLE: Fair access and social mobility: lessons from Scotland
Fair access to higher education, and widening participation, have become major policy priorities in both England and Scotland – and in most other European countries. Despite mass expansion of student numbers patterns of social stratification have changed little, with young people from the most privileged social backgrounds being between three and four times more likely to participate in higher education than those from the most deprived social backgrounds (and the latter being concentrated in less prestigious institutions). England and Scotland have adopted different approaches – England relying on access agreements made between institutions and the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), which has now been rolled into the new Office for Students, to mitigate the potentially negative effects of high fees; and Scotland fair access targets set by the Scottish Government which has retained free higher education. However, the debate about fair access in higher education needs also to be seen in the wider context of stalled social mobility in the decade since the 2008 financial crisis, and subsequent economic recession – and also the increasing social inequality resulting from the erosion of the welfare state, and the widespread adoption of pro-market neo-liberal economic policies by many Governments.
Peter Scott is (emeritus) Professor of Higher Education Studies at the UCL Institute of Education and also Scotland’s first Commissioner for Fair Access, who made his first annual report to the Scottish Government at the end of last year. Formerly he was Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University in London, a member of the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England and – after leaving Kingston – Chair of the Council at the University of Gloucestershire. His most recent book is (with Jim Gallacher and Gareth Parry) New Languages and Landscapes of Higher Education (Oxford University Press 2017)