THE most established model of collaboration between universities and schools is the Advanced Higher hub at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Set up five years ago and costing some £350,000 a year to run, the hub sees pupils from across the city travelling to the campus every week to study Advanced Highers not available in their own schools.

Pupils from schools in more disadvantaged areas are given first choice of places and make up the majority of students.

Although pupils go on to pursue a range of future options, including degrees at other universities, Glasgow Caledonian allows successful pupils onto their own programmes as part of the drive to widen access.

The hub, which is currently teaching 145 pupils from 26 schools, has had remarkable results with record pass rates of 90 per cent compared to a national average of 81 per cent.

Eleanor Wilson, the university’s strategic lead for engagement and outreach, said the hub was developed as a response to concerns schools were unable to offer a range of Advanced Highers.

She said: “We were noticing pupils in sixth year were trying to increase the grades they got at Higher rather than stretching themselves with Advanced Highers.

“They couldn’t do the Advanced Higher of their choice because the school didn’t run it and if they were able to do one they were often sitting in classes with Higher pupils self-directing their own study.

“We felt there was a gap there which we could plug, but over the past five years the hub has become more of a bridging programme.

“Whilst the qualifications are a fantastic end result it is actually what they get on top of that to prepare them for the transition from school to university can be incredibly profound. We are preparing them for higher education entry.”

Mrs Wilson now believes the hub model, which is jointly funded by the Scottish Funding Council and Glasgow City Council, with the university providing support staff and facilities, could be rolled out successfully across the country to increase the availability of Advanced Highers.

Leah Wright, 17, from St Pauls High School, in Pollok, who is studying chemistry and maths, said the experience had been very rewarding. “It is very different to school with a lot more independence,” she said.

“It’s a new environment with people you don’t know and the teachers are new so you have to keep proving to them you are capable of fulfilling the course.”

Abbie Fenton, 17, from Smithycroft Secondary, in the east end of the city, who is studying business management, said it was “nerve-wracking” when she first came because there was only one other pupil from her school.

She said: “We are a really close group now. It’s good to be with people all aiming for the same goal who have similar ideas about what they want.”