Cambridge dream now a reality for Advanced Higher Hub pupil Rachel

Fri, 14 Aug 2020 09:37:00 BST
Advanced Higher Hub pupil Rachel Thomson with her results
Advanced Higher Hub pupil Rachel Thomson with her results

Rachel Thomson is overjoyed. With her three A grades finally confirmed, she knows she is off to Cambridge University to study Economics.

Rachel is just one of many success stories to emerge from this year’s cohort of Advanced Higher Hub pupils, Glasgow Caledonian University’s flagship widening participation programme.

The former Govan High pupil wouldn’t have had the opportunity to study History, Mathematics and Chemistry at Advanced Higher were it not for the Hub, as the subjects were not offered at her school.

This bridging programme gives pupils from Glasgow schools the opportunity to study Advanced Highers on GCU’s campus, providing greater access to subjects required for high-demand undergraduate courses, such as Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine.

This unique year-long university immersion experience also equips young people with the life and learning skills that helps them to transition successfully to university and, crucially, retain their place once there.

Rachel praised the Hub for making her ambitions a reality: “The Advanced Higher Hub was invaluable as an experience of university life and preparation for independent study. It allowed me to immerse myself in the subjects I love and get a real depth of understanding into new areas. My teachers were extremely supportive of my study and ambition to go on to Cambridge and their expertise in their subjects was inspiring. Studying at the Hub was an amazing experience and source of support that has set me up to take my next steps.”

But it was an anxious wait for Rachel and her fellow pupils, as her grades were finally ratified by the Scottish Government’s decision to stand by a robust evidence-led process to determine estimate grades in this year's SQA examination diet.

Like Rachel, many other Hubbers can now attend their desired university. Somer Umeed from Springburn is off to University of Glasgow to study Physics with Astrophysics. Duy Nguyen and Leah Wilson from St Margaret Mary’s Secondary School are going on to study Mathematics and Physics at Strathclyde and Physics St Andrew’s University respectively, and Kerys Watson, from Bannerman High, will study Medicine at University of Glasgow. 

Baraa Alhamdu, from St Mungo’s Academy, who achieved an A grade in Chemistry, will study Optometry right here at GCU. Then there is Nathan Weir from Smithycroft, who is the first pupil at the Hub to study four Advanced Highers. He will now study Theoretical Physics at the University of Glasgow. He said: “I felt very fortunate to be taught the Advanced Highers at the Hub as the teachers were so passionate about their subjects. They really brought them to life and inspired me to work hard to achieve success.” 

The Advanced Higher Hub achieved an outstanding overall pass rate of 99% this year − with eight subjects achieving 100% pass rates.

Biology, Business Management, Chemistry, English, History, Mathematics, Modern Studies and Mathematics of Mechanics all achieved the maximum, with History accomplishing 100% for the sixth consecutive year.

The widening access initiative celebrates the seventh year of its partnership with Glasgow City Council (GCC) and The Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

GCU is the first university in Scotland to employ teachers to deliver nine Advanced Highers in Biology; Business Management; Chemistry; English; History; Mathematics; Modern Studies and Physics and Mathematics of Mechanics. This year there were 172 presentations across these subjects.

Eleanor Wilson MBE, Head of Outreach at GCU, said: "After a robust evidence-led process to determine estimate grades for our Advanced Higher pupils, we are delighted to announce that the Hub has achieved an overall pass rate of 99%.

“This year the Hub has a remarkable cohort which was a result of rising attainment across Glasgow schools and is reflective of their commitment, work ethic and passion for their Advanced Higher subject.

“The teachers and pastoral staff are absolutely delighted for all our Advanced Higher Hub pupils of 19-20 and wish them every success as they move forward to university, college and employment."