Scottish universities branded ‘fundamentally unfair’

All Scottish universities should consider accepting poorer pupils with significantly lower grades than middle class applicants to address a "fundamental unfairness" in the system, according to a new government-backed commission, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.

Instead of being detrimental to the principle of academic excellence, as some fear, the move to support students from less affluent backgrounds would enhance excellence, an interim report concludes. Growing evidence, it said, suggested pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds with lower entry grades did just as well as other students if given the appropriate support.

The initial findings of the Commission on Widening Access, set up by the Scottish government, will be seen as a wake-up call to the higher education sector which may eventually face moves to compel it to do more to widen access. Although numbers have improved in recent years, just 1,335 school-leavers from the poorest 20% of households went to university in Scotland in 2013-14 compared to 5,520 from the richest 20% of communities.
Full report on the Herald Scotland site