I am currently working in Widening Access for FOCUS West as School Partnership Officer for FOCUS on Futures / FOCUS West Team Leader.
FOCUS On Futures is a school pupil development and support programme within FOCUS West that supports and guides pupils from schools within the SIMD 20 areas with their entry to Higher Education.
I am immensely proud of the work that I do with FOCUS West. As a returner to education myself, I understand how difficult it can be for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to take steps into higher education. My role is to support these pupils in a way that I wished I had had two decades ago. I also support and run various additional aspects of FOCUS West including our FOCUS Experiences Work placement programme, FOCUS Stars alumni project, and our upcoming collaboration with the University of Strathclyde – FOCUS on History.
Below is the official description of FOCUS West taken from our website.
Welcome to FOCUS West, an educational support and guidance programme designed to widen access to higher education.
We are based in the west of Scotland and work with 37 secondary schools that are deemed to have the greatest need; the criterion for inclusion in the programme being that the school has an average progression rate to higher education that is considerably below the national average (less than 25% average progression to higher education). Higher Education is defined as university study for a degree or an HNC/HND course at a college.
Our work is funded by the Scottish Funding Council as part of a national programme known as the Schools for Higher Education Programme. FOCUS West works with educational partners to help all pupils with the potential to succeed to have more choices and opportunities in their higher studies and careers.
Our programme includes:
- For Primary 6 and Primary 7 pupils, plus pupils in S1 (age 10-12) – awareness-raising work, including profiling, prior to the transition to secondary school
- For pupils from S4 to S6, individual personal pupil support, in the form of one-to-one information, advice and guidance on routes and pathways to higher education
- For pupils from S2 to S4, campus visits and experiences for pupils, delivered by the University of Strathclyde
- For S5 and S6 pupils, college preparation work, entitled Routes for All, run by the University of the West of Scotland and by Glasgow Caledonian University
- For S4 to S6 pupils, the Portfolio Development Programme, for students interested in careers in art and design, run by the Glasgow School of Art
- For S5 and S6 pupils, an Access to the Creative Industries Programme, delivered by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- For S5 and S6 pupils, Top-Up, a university preparation course, delivered by the University of Glasgow.
All pupils in our programme also have access to our award nominated FOCUS Point website and resource, that gives pupils support with careers and progression from P6 to S6 and beyond.