Almost a quarter of students at Glasgow School of Art are from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland, new data shows.

It means that the school is ahead of most of the country’s other higher education institutions in terms of widening access.

In addition, GSA has a 98% retention rate for students from SIMD20 areas, which is 8% above the national average.

The percentage of Scottish-domiciled students from the those areas is 24.2%, which is 7% above the national average and has been achieved eight years in advance of a ‘20% by 2030’ government target.

Glasgow School of Art leaders said the figures reflected “the considerable investment” that it makes both in supporting school pupils from disadvantaged areas to consider art school and ensuring that this continues once they begin their studies.

It offers a range of free courses for secondary schools including a fifteen week portfolio preparation course which is led by tutors and student mentors. 

The Herald:

(Aqsa Asif, who was supported into art school by GSA Widening Participation initiatives graduated with a First-Class degree in Painting and Printmaking)

The school has also forged strong links with Glasgow Clyde College and Forth Valley College to offer pre-admission courses.

Professor Penny Macbeth, Director of The Glasgow School of Art said: “We believe that everyone should be able to fulfil their creative potential.

“The success of this commitment is reflected not only in the GSA surpassing the Scottish Government’s 20% by 2030 target eight years ahead of schedule, but also in supporting pupils from SIMD20 areas to make successful applications to study art, design and architecture in leading HE institutions across the UK.

“Attracting pupils to study at the GSA is, however, only part of the process.

“It is very important that support continues for pupils once they arrive at university. Our commitment in this area has meant that we now have a 98% retention rate for pupils from the SIMD20 areas.”