Education Secretary Michael Russell celebrates Advanced Higher Hub

02 October 2014

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell with pupils from the Hub

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell with pupils from the Hub

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell MSP celebrated the success of Glasgow Caledonian University’s Advanced Higher Hub at an event held at GCU.

The Cabinet Secretary spoke of the University’s commitment to the common good and its global mission to be a force for good at home and abroad. In his keynote speech, he highlighted the successful partnership between the University and Glasgow City Council and the importance of collaborative working.

Mr Russell said: “The Scottish Funding Council has supported GCU and Glasgow City Council to make sure that students who want to study Advanced Highers can do so as students of the University. This enhances their learning, it helps the University and it makes pupils realise what it’s like to be a student, while producing great academic results. It’s a win-win.”

The audience of pupils, students, teachers and GCU staff heard from GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE and Glasgow City Council’s Executive Member for Education and Young People, Councillor Stephen Curran. Three former students from the Advanced Higher Hub also shared their stories.  

Jonathan Kankolongo, a former pupil of St. Andrew’s Secondary school, gained an A grade in Advanced Higher English. He is now studying a Law Degree at GCU and spoke of his ambitions to pursue a first-class degree. Calum McNairney, who gained A grades in Advanced Higher in Modern Studies and Higher Politics, said he had developed a deeper insight into university life and is now studying Politics at university.

Adela Beloucif, who is now studying Neurosciences and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, said: “One of the surprising advantages of coming to the Hub was that it offers a university environment. We used the libraries, laboratories, online resources; it was a great chance to get used to university.”

GCU’s Advanced Higher Hub opened in August 2013, when it was allocated £952,000 by the Scottish Funding Council. It is the first project in Scotland to employ school teachers on a university campus. Now in its second year, the Hub is working in partnership with 21 Glasgow City Council Schools supporting the Advanced Higher studies of 156 young people.

Eleanor Wilson, Director of the University's UK Recruit­ment and Outreach Department, which runs the Hub, said: “The Advanced Higher Hub builds on GCU’s University for the Common Good commitment and it is our aim to raise aspirations and widen access to higher education for pupils in the city.

 “The number of pupils achieving success is testament to the hard work of the Hub teaching staff and the support received from Glasgow City Council. The Hub works to complement and supplement provision across the city and this event is an excellent opportunity to celebrate and build upon last year’s achievements.”

Councillor Stephen Curran, Executive Member for Education and Young People, is delighted with the success of the partnership and said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our young people.

 “In the inaugural year, the initiative has increased the number and range of Advanced Higher courses on offer, and importantly, given S6 pupils the opportunity to experience learning within a Higher Education environment.

 “This was reflected in the city’s best ever exam results recorded in the summer with more Glasgow young people than ever before achieving one or more Advanced Higher.  This year even more of our young people are able to access the Hub’s resources, which I know will result in ever better results in August 2015.”

GCU is a sector leader in widening access to Higher Education, with consistently more than one third of its students coming from relatively disadvantaged backgrounds.