The participant criteria for the programme aims to include as many pupils who may face barriers to access as possible:
- Pupils who live in an SIMD 0-20 or an SIMD 21-40 post code area*
- Pupils who are care experienced
- Estranged pupils
- Refugee or asylum seeker pupils
- Pupils with caring responsibilities
- Low Income Family
- Family in receipt of benefits
- Other adverse circumstances
- Pupils should be academically capable of 2+ qualifications at SCQF Level 6.
*SIMD stands for Scottish Index for Multiple Deprivation and is ranked from 1 (most deprived) to 6,976 (least deprived). When using SIMD as a way of working out where support may be helpful, programmes focus greatest efforts on the 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% most deprived areas of Scotland. For admissions purposes – in other words at the point where pupils are applying to HE institutions, targets are broadly categorised as SIMD 0-20 and SIMD 20-40. Due to the limitations of funding, FOCUS West aims to target a majority of pupils from the most deprived areas, living in SIMD 0-20 post codes. For Top Up and the Portfolio Development Programme, the target group is inclusive of pupils living in SIMD 0-40 postcodes.