Postcode formula addresses access

May 8, 1998

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council has unveiled a new calculation of higher education partipation which it hopes will help concentrate wider access efforts on areas of greatest need, writes Olga Wojtas.

David Wann, SHEFC's director of funding, said that although Scotland had a significantly higher participation rate compared with others parts of the United Kingdom, there were still areas with particularly low participation.

"The council shares the government's commitment to 'the Heineken principle': to reach the parts that haven't been reached," he said.

SHEFC had commissioned Napier University's mathematics department to produce a geographic and social analysis of higher education participation. This moved away from the normal age participation rate to a "standardised participation ratio" covering postcode sectors, which could then be compared with the national average.

"I think we have here a powerful analytical tool, which should help the development of strategies and remedies to address the most serious problem areas of under-representation in higher education."

The new statistics enable colour-coded maps to be produced, with the highest and lowest participation postcode areas immediately recognisable.

"This shows the potential scale of the problem in particular localities. It is easy to zoom in and identify smaller areas of particularly low participation," Mr Wann said.

SHEFC was providing Pounds 1 million a year for at least five years to boost wider access, acknowledging that there were no "quick fix" solutions and that collaborative regional partnerships had to be developed and strengthened.

The largest concentrations of low participation were around deprived urban areas, which pointed to the need for a small number of well-coordinated partnership initiatives, Mr Wann said.

"There are also scattered pockets that will probably require a different style of approach. The council is a national body, and this should help us to ensure that all the worst cases across the country are addressed."

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 10 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Business Development Officer YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Linguistics YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Associate Professor/Professor EDINBURGH NAPIER UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

Brexit, EU referendum

Joanna Williams voted Leave, and has been left disappointed by the academy’s reaction to the EU referendum result

Elly Walton illustration (7 July 2016)

Researchers in the liberal arts seem to have made it their mission to communicate in the most obscure fashion, says Zachary Foster

Daniel Mitchell illustration (14 July 2016)

Frank Furedi says the mournful mood on campus and the disparagement and silencing of Leave supporters betray an isolated scholarly class

Michael Parkin illustration (7 July 2016)

Rising immigration-related costs and lack of employer support send an unwelcoming message to international staff, says Jason Danely

People walk past second hand books for sale

Shift may be evidence that researchers feel they are increasingly judged on citations and journal impact factors