The Supporting Professionalism in Admissions SPA) programme was a key recommendation in the Admissions to Higher Education Steering Group report (also known as the Schwartz report) in 2004. The report stated that there should be a UK-wide central source of expertise and advice on admissions issues; this was taken forward by Universities UK (UUK) and GuildHE with the four UK funding councils.
In early 2006 an independent national Steering Group for SPA was established; a business plan drawn up by UCAS with the HE Academy was approved by the Steering Group. The Steering Group comprises of a wide range of key stakeholders from across the HE and pre-HE sectors, and offers guidance and advice on key areas of work for SPA.
The Steering Group was initially chaired by Sir Muir Russell (Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow), in 2010 Professor David Eastwood (Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham) took over chairmanship, in July 2011 Professor Sir Steve Smith (Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter) took over chairmanship and in September 2012 Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University, was appointed as our current Chair.
In 2012 SPA underwent a funding review, under the new arrangements funding is provided by HEFCE, DELNI, UCAS and Universities UK which means SPA's work will have a greater focus on England. However, the expertise, advice, information and work on good practice will continue on a UK-wide basis through funding from our two UK wide funders, UCAS and Universities UK. SPA's resources, materials and events remain available to all institutions offering HE. SPA's independent Steering Group membership will continue to reflect and support the UK wide approach to our core objectives.
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Media enquiries should be addressed to our Director, Janet Graham.