Our Aim

FOCUS West (Focus OCollege and University Study – West of Scotland) is part of the National Schools Programme alongside the Access to High Demand Professions programmes, REACH and ACES.

Its work involves supporting more pupils into Higher Education, whether directly into university, or going to college to study for a Higher National Qualification. FOCUS West, through its Top-Up Programme, has the capacity to permit adjusted university offers to pupils at the secondary schools from which it operates. FOCUS West works on behalf of ALL universities and colleges in the west of Scotland, which means that it has a helpful, balanced overview of all suitable courses across all of Scotland’s colleges, universities and specialist institutions. All subject areas offered at degree and sub-degree level are covered through a full programme of activities specifically designed to move more pupils into higher education.

FOCUS West aims to inform and support pupils both academically and in supporting decision-making, choices and pathways into Higher Education. The programme was the first collaborative access programme in the west of Scotland to use student mentors and tutors to deliver its activities and the first to connect pupils with a systematic plan of visits to university and college campuses. FOCUS West works for west of Scotland schools but is also connected into larger networks across the UK and Europe, so that the programme has a good knowledge of access to higher education beyond its geographical area.

Designed by experienced practitioners, the programme’s activities encourage pupils to develop key skills which will benefit them whichever route they decide to take after school.

All activities are delivered by universities in the west of Scotland, along with trained student tutors and mentors who are themselves studying at university and college and all of whom have personal and direct experience of the benefits and challenges. Many of the trained student tutors and mentors have themselves attended the schools that we are active in and have moved on to successful study in higher education. They are therefore excellent role models of what pupils can achieve.

From its initial incarnation as the GOALS Project 2000-2008 and now as FOCUS West, the programme has moved thousands of pupils to university and to degree-level work in college and is now the longest-running, largest and most-established access programme for pupils in the west of Scotland.

Delivery Team

The FOCUS West Delivery Team has staff in each of five universities/ Higher Education Institutions in the west of Scotland:

  • University of Glasgow (Top-Up Programme – for S5/6 pupils)
  • University of Strathclyde (Campus Experience Programme)
  • Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of the West of Scotland (Routes for All Programme – for S5/6 pupils)
  • Glasgow School of Art (Portfolio Development Programme)
  • FOCUS West Central Team (1:1 Information, Advice and Guidance for S5/6 pupils)

FOCUS West also work closely with the WACI (Widening Access to the Creative Industries) team at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Target Group

All pupils who meet the participant criteria within Scottish schools are able to access FOCUS West. Schools and Local Authorities not currently involved in the programme are very welcome to contact us to discuss funding additional places for pupils.