EDUCATION minister John Swinney took a tour of a facility helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into university.

The Deputy First Minister met pupils at the Advanced Higher Hub at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), calling the initiative "impressive".

Mr Swinney was given a tour of the University’s library and laboratory facilities, which the pupils have full access to as ‘associate students’ of GCU.

The Minister met with sixth-year pupils Catherine Lawrence, Giorgio Manzi and Rachel Swinney, each studying between them eight Advanced Highers, and former Advanced Higher Hub pupil, Jonathan Kankolongo, who is studying Law at GCU.

He said: “This is a great example of schools and universities working together to help highly able pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to fulfil their academic potential.

“The achievements of the Advanced Higher Hub are impressive, with 92 per cent of students in 2016/17 achieving a pass at Advanced Higher Level.

"Of the pupils involved, 70 per cent come from the 40 per cent most deprived areas of the country."

GCU was the first university in Scotland to employ GTC registered teachers to deliver eight Advanced Highers in Biology, Business Management, Chemistry, English, History, Mathematics, Modern Studies and Physics.

Catherine Lawrence, 17, from Castlemilk High School, said: “Without the support of the Hub, it would not have been possible for me to do three Advanced Highers, which I need for applying to study medicine.

"It’s helped me build my confidence and I’ve met new friends from across the city that are passionate about the same subjects.

"We support each other using social media and we have developed a really strong bond.”

Last year, pupils achieved a pass rate of 92 per cent, in comparison to the national pass rate for the eight equivalent Advanced Highers, which stood at 79 per cent.