A SCHEME to urge more Glasgow youngsters to consider university will now be rolled out across the whole country.

Research found that too few primary pupils were being introduced to the idea of higher education - an important step for universities looking to widen access to youngsters from different backgrounds.

Glasgow education bosses worked with Glasgow University and Skills Development Scotland to come up with a resource to get pupils thinking about all the options for their futures.

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills & Early Years, Glasgow City Council said: "For many years we’ve had a very active and engaging widening access programme across the city and working with a range of partners.

"Even for our youngest learners in Glasgow nurseries have benefitted from working with colleges – it really is never too early to think about the future and the learner journey.

"However, our officers are continually striving to improve and add value to the opportunities on offer to our children and young people and carried out extensive research with our partners in this project – Glasgow University and Skills Development Scotland – to identify any gaps in our widening access delivery model.

"The research found that higher education should be introduced to pupils in primary school and the primary engagement programme will deliver more widening access activity at this crucial stage of the learner journey, including the transition to secondary school, to further enhance aspirations and informed choices."

The Primary Engagement Programme follows recommendations from research project ‘A Blueprint for Fairness in the Glasgow Region' published in 2018 and carried out between Glasgow City Council and the city's higher education institutions.

The report showed that while the widening access work being carried out in secondary schools was important in helping young people progress to a positive post-school destination, this activity needed to start much earlier.

Monika Anderson, Widening Participation Officer, Glasgow University, said: "To address this gap in the current provision we worked in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and GCC to redevelop one of their existing widening participation programmes.

"One of the key objectives of the redevelopment was to allow the programme to be delivered in all primary schools, and not just on a targeted basis.

"We wanted to ensure that the programme would be accessible to all primary school pupils, regardless of their socio-economic background or school."

The team behind the schools resource said it aims to introduce P6 and P7 pupils to the concepts of further and higher education, as well as different career pathways.

The lessons introduce young people to the notion of university, college and apprenticeships as well as enabling them to identify their own skills sets and match these to their aspirations.

Monika added: "The programme was piloted in October to November 2019 and the feedback from the pilot has been incredibly positive.

"It has been very satisfying to see all the amazing work that the young people have been doing as part of the programme and we are very excited to be able to launch the programme to all Glasgow primary schools this week.

"We hope that the programme will give teachers the tools necessary to support their pupils’ aspirations and for the young people to be able to pursue their hopes and dreams for the future."

The programme is now live on school's website My World of Work and will be launched nationally in the coming months.

Keith Falconer, Partner Development & Integration Executive at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), said: "Working with our partners on this vital project has been hugely rewarding, allowing us to combine our expertise to develop a resource that will be used by primary teachers as part of the range of career education resources available online through My World of Work.

"Not only will the resources support primary school teachers to deliver on widening access, Developing the Young Workforce and the Career Education Standard here in Glasgow, but they will be available for use by schools in local authorities across the whole of Scotland.

"SDS delivers Scotland’s careers services, supported by My World of Work, and this resource builds on the work of our teams across Scotland to support young people to fully understand and explore all the options available to them."