Education Secretary visits Glasgow Caledonian University

02 December 2015

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance MSP

The strength of Glasgow Caledonian University’s Advanced Higher Hub in bringing together young people from across the city and giving them access to world-class educational facilities was celebrated by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance MSP.

Ms Constance met with pupils and teachers of the University’s Advanced Higher Hub today, Tuesday, December 2, to hear from current and former pupils of the Hub. Pupils studying Advanced Highers at GCU in 2014/2015 recorded a pass rate of more than 90 per cent compared with a national average of 81 per cent.

The educational initiative, a partnership with Glasgow City Council and supported by the Scottish Funding Council, opened in 2013 to offer greater access to Advanced Highers.

The Cabinet Secretary listened to pupils’ experiences and spoke of the opportunities the Hub presents, which acts a bridge between school and university.

She said: “We want to widen access to university and the crucial thing about Glasgow Caledonian University is that it is doing great work in this area to ensure every child from every community has every chance to succeed and, if they want to go to university, it is an option open to them.”

Former pupils Jonathan Kankolongo, who gained an A-grade in Advanced Higher English, is now studying Law at GCU, and Caitlin Cairney, who achieved A grades in Maths and Chemistry and a B in Biology, joined the Minister, together with Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor James Miller.

Pupils from schools across Glasgow also joined in the discussions including Caitlin Evans, from Govan High School; Mbarak Shibah, St Roch’s Secondary School; Jordan Stewart, Rosshall Academy; Craig Hampson, John Paul Academy; Meghan Miller, St Margaret Mary’s High School; and Melissa Tees, Castlemilk High School.

Advanced Higher Biology and Chemistry pupil Caitlin Evans addressed the need to strengthen numbers of female scientists and credited the Hub for bringing more females together to study sciences.

The Minister said that she was keen to encourage every girl and young woman to pursue science and careers within this field.

Jordan Stewart, a pupil from Rosshall Academy, who is studying Advanced Higher Biology and Chemistry, said: “The Hub has developed my independent learning and critical-thinking skills. I want to study medicine and spending time on a university campus has helped to build my confidence and prepare for university.”

Director of Outreach and Community Engagement Eleanor Wilson MBE, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary for Education Angela Constance to meet with Advanced Higher Hub staff and pupils. The Hub is now in its third year of operation and is going from strength to strength. It supports the learning aspirations of 150 Glasgow pupils, enabling them to have access to university life a year before many of them will make the life-changing transition to Higher Education.

“The pupils, known affectionately as ‘Hubbers’, are thriving, learning with, and from, their fellow Hubbers. It is amazing to watch them develop their confidence and learn new skills across this higher education bridging programme.”

The Advanced Higher Hub offers pupils from across Glasgow access to Advanced Highers as associate students. Pupils have access to all the University’s amenities including the library, laboratory and technology facilities.

GCU was the first university in Scotland to employ senior teachers to teach pupils in English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Modern Studies, Business Management and History.