Despite recent attempts to widen participation to Higher Education (HE), figures show that 18-year olds from Scotland’s 20% least deprived communities are more than four times as likely to enter university as those from the 20% most deprived communities (Commission on Widening Access, 2016). In Scotland, transition to Higher Education, has therefore taken on a new prominence and is linked largely to the movement into university of the most disadvantaged students: represented in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Providing fair access to Advanced Higher qualifications is central objective of the Scottish Government’s policy, recently outlined in, ‘A Blueprint for Fairness’ which makes a number of recommendations to support the achievement of the key target that by 2030, 20% of entrants to higher education must come from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland (Commission on Widening Access, 2016).
The following report from Karen MacFarlane summarise the impact of one initiative established to address this issue. The report summarises the outcomes of a research study which sought to examine the experiences of former pupils of Glasgow Caledonian University’s Advanced Higher Hub in terms of their transition to Higher Education. In-depth one-to-one interviews were carried out with a total of 30 former Advanced Higher pupils who had progressed to university. The focus of the research and of the report is the learner perspective of studying HE level qualifications (Advanced Highers) within a university environment. Project findings are discussed with reference the theoretical perspective of capability approach and conclusions are drawn in terms of the policy implications for delivering HE level qualifications within a university environment prior to entry and the subsequent impact on transitions.
Author: Karen MacFarlane, Research Fellow firstname.lastname@example.org