A sweeping review is underway to determine if the Glasgow School of Sport "still offers the best environment" for young people hoping to become top athletes.

In a letter seen by The Herald, school officials first told parents of an admissions freeze in 2024/2025 on Wednesday, while promising that current students would not be affected.

But an overarching review of the city's sports funding conducted by Glasgow Life - the external organization that funds and operates the Glasgow School of Sport - could fundamentally alter how the school operates.

Neither Glasgow Life nor Glasgow City Council could commit to reopening admissions to the Glasgow School of Sport in the future.

A Glasgow Life spokesman said: "The current School of Sport model was introduced 25 years ago and was designed to meet the needs of pupils at the time.

"Since then the local networks that support young athletes have improved considerably.

"Glasgow City Council will continue funding for pupils from across Scotland already attending the school but we need to know if the current delivery model still offers the best environment for young people to become high-performing athletes.

"We will be working with governing bodies to ensure the resources available to young athletes have the greatest impact in supporting them to achieve their full potential.”

News of the funding review and admissions freeze came on Wednesday, when school leadership wrote to parents and pupils.

The school said: “Glasgow Life is currently reviewing the City’s support to talented sports performers, including the Glasgow School of Sport, as part of the development of the new Physical Activity and Sport strategy for Glasgow to be published in 2024.  

“Whilst this review is taking place we have made the decision to not take in new pupils for 2024/25.”

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The school added that it believes existing pupils will not be affected.

“We would reassure parents with pupils already at the school that their children’s education and training will be unaffected."

But one concerned parent said they struggle to see how even a temporary admissions freeze will not impact current pupils.

“We are left wondering whether children already at the Glasgow School of Sport will be able to complete their training and studies.

“If there had been any doubts about the school’s future, we would have wanted to know before committing to attend.”

The Herald:

Bellahouston Academy (above)

Housed at Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow, the Glasgow School of Sport is soon to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Council-run Bellahouston provides for students’ education, while funding from Glasgow Life to the tune of £795,000 supports specialist sports training and academic support to sports pupils.

The overlap of responsibility between Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life complicates the financial situation at the Glasgow School of Sport. 

Glasgow Life is one of many bodies known as Arm’s -Length External Organisations (ALEOS) which oversee a wide variety of council services, in this case sports and culture.

Audit Scotland defines ALEOs as service providers that are formally separate from the council but still subject to council oversight.

However, Glasgow City Council declined to comment directly on Glasgow Life's decisions that impact education services. Instead, comments were referred to Glasgow Life. 

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The announcement of the admissions freeze comes just two months before applications for the 2024 term were set to close.

Two rounds of selection were scheduled to take place in February and March of next year.

The school is home to roughly 100 sports pupils from 15 local authorities. 

Admission to the Glasgow School of Sport is by selection only. Prospective students complete an application process and then undergo sports trials.

Students specialise in one of five available sports: athletics, badminton, gymnastics, hockey and swimming.

Olympic swimmer and Commonwealth Games medallist Michael Jamieson and European and Commonwealth badminton medallist and Olympian Kirsty Gilmour are among the many Glasgow School of Sport alumni who have found success internationally.