Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Two-thirds of applicants to Abertay University considered deprived by Scottish Government ‘are not disadvantaged’

Professor Nigel Seaton
Professor Nigel Seaton

A vast majority of students applying to Abertay University considered deprived by Scottish Government standards are not actually disadvantaged, the institution’s principal has warned.

The University pioneered the use of lower entrance grades for students deemed eligible under the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), which considers factors such as poorer postcode areas, and other indicators.

Professor Nigel Seaton described SIMD as “too uncertain a measure” in determining alone which students should be admitted on lower thresholds after the University’s own approach found significant discrepancies in the challenges facing applicants.

Principal of St Andrews says cap on Scots students putting some candidates at a disadvantage

He said just one-third of students applying to Abertay from the lowest-scoring areas were disadvantaged “in terms of their own personal circumstances” and only around one-third of disadvantaged applicants live in the poorest 20% of SIMD postcodes.

Mr Seaton said: “It is important to recognise that this approach works best when it is tailored to the individual, using a range of indicators, rather than simply being based on the location of the student’s home.

“At Abertay, these indicators include attending a school where few pupils go on to university, having parents or guardians who have not attended university, having spent time in care, and having taken part in a university access programme.”

Abertay University.

The SIMD system, which plays a central role in evaluating the Scottish Government’s efforts to close the poverty-related attainment gap, has been criticised by opposition parties as “deeply flawed” and “only partially successful”.

Mr Seaton argued individual students should not be made an offer “simply because of where they live, but rather after taking a full view of their personal circumstances”.

He described SIMD as a “perfectly good indicator for use in public policy” but said he would like to see “more varied measures” taken into account wherever possible when widening access has been identified as an ongoing concern.

Professor Sir Peter Scott, Scotland’s Commissioner for Fair Access, said he also hoped measurement of disadvantage will be updated.

“Work is already under way to refine the best way of identifying the most disadvantaged applicants,” he said.

“The emerging consensus seems to be to combine residence in an SIMD area and eligibility for free school meals to target community-based deprivation and individuals who are themselves deprived wherever they live.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said SIMD data was currently the best measure available to support fair access work.

He added: “We recognise there is merit in using additional measures alongside SIMD which is why we established an Access Data Working Group which has been working closely with the sector to consider what other measures might be useful such as registration for free school meals.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in