2021 - AHH results

Another fantastic year for widening participation programme

Mon, 09 Aug 2021 13:02:00 BST

Glasgow Caledonian University’s Advanced Higher Hub is celebrating another year of fantastic results.

The widening participation initiative has achieved an overall pass rate of 97%, with 53% achieving A grades and 82% A and B grades.

Particularly pleasing for the Hub are the pupils who have achieved success from Caledonian Club schools. The Caledonian Club is the University’s award-winning programme which works with schools to help children and young people to develop a range of skills, across curriculum areas and different contexts and settings, celebrating their successes along the way.

One such pupil is Ayo Lambe, of St Margaret Mary’s Secondary School, who has achieved four Band 1 A grades in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths. As a result, he has been accepted onto Cambridge University’s prestigious medicine programme.

There are also two pupils from Drumchapel High School, Michal Jusis, who got two As in Physics and Chemistry, and Jonathan McKay, who achieved an A in Physics. They are going on to Strathclyde to study Maths and Physics. In addition, Cameron Sweeny, from John Paul Academy, who studied Modern Studies, is going on to study Social Sciences here at GCU.

The Hub works in partnership with Glasgow schools to provide Advanced Higher provision and subject choice where there is no option to study at the school itself.

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 help them to transition successfully to university and, crucially, retain their place once there.

Ayo said: “I feel ecstatic and shocked. I figured that, if I aimed for Cambridge, I’d make strides that would definitely get me into a medicine course at a university. Being able to achieve the Cambridge offer is as big a shock to me as to anybody else because of how rigorous the application process is. I am very grateful to everyone who contributed to my journey and am happy I have been able to make them proud.”

Ayo moved to England from Nigeria when he was three years old, before returning to the country when he was 10. He returned to the UK when he was in S4, this time to Glasgow.

He said: “Though the UK had previously been my home, it was still a big culture change. I vaguely remember not being able to grasp the Glaswegian accent and still laugh at that. But what they say is true. Glasgow has the kindest people and it really is the people that make Glasgow. Everyone from my school to my immediate community was extremely nice and made my adjustment very smooth.”

Ayo said he was inspired to study medicine due to his experience of being a young carer.

He said: “I have a younger brother with Down’s Syndrome, who I credit with being my main motivation for wanting to study medicine. Helping my mum take care of him is something I enjoy doing. I have been able to develop a routine that enables me to balance this effectively with my studies.

“I admire the selflessness and hope that the vocation radiates to people, often caring for them when they are most vulnerable and in need of help.”

Ayo also paid tribute to the Advanced Higher Hub.

He said: “The flexibility and expertise of the teachers and pastoral staff saw me through the unforeseeable COVID-19 pandemic by effortlessly combining virtual and in-person classes. The Hub believed in my abilities when I unconventionally said I wanted to take four Advanced Highers, and they kept checking in with me to see that I was balancing my courses well.

“Their support was not limited to academics. When the lockdown blues were getting to me, the Hub staff always reassured me and gave me the push I needed to keep going. For this, I am very grateful. I also have my classmates to thank for making my experience what it was. I have made some amazing, highly-driven friends and will stay in touch with them as we continue our journeys.” 

The widening access initiative celebrates the ninth 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 186 presentations across these subjects.

Eleanor Wilson MBE, Head of Outreach at GCU, said: “We are so proud of the hard work and achievements of our pupils who have shown brilliant determination throughout their studies during a challenging and unprecedented year and in reaching their chosen post-school destinations.

“This year, the Hub delivered our nine Advanced Higher subjects via blended learning on GCU’s virtual learning environment, further expanding on the excellent added value and university experience we offer to prepare pupils for their next steps.

“The Hub used robust assessments and undertook internal moderation exercises, as well as taking part in national moderation as part of the SQA’s Alternative Certification Model, to ensure our pupils were rewarded with the qualifications and grades they truly deserve and have demonstrated throughout the year.”

The Hub’s approach to blended delivery provided a distinctive space for pupils to meet, discuss and learn as HE students throughout the disruptions and lockdowns of 2020-21.

In 2021-22, the Hub will participate in a small pilot in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Scottish Funding Council to provide Advanced Higher subjects via blended learning for pupils living in rural and remote areas.

Eleanor added: “We are very excited to work with schools and pupils in Dumfries and Galloway to offer subject provision and choice at Advanced Higher, while providing an excellent university transition experience.”