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The School Connect programme has changed for 2016-17 moving on from engaging six Glasgow secondary schools to working across twelve. The schools are now located in Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire. We aim to provide focused interventions and support to ensure that secondary school pupils applying to GCU have the resources to gain the maximum benefit from their university studies. The School Connect programme works with 4,000 pupils in partner schools located in areas of multiple deprivation, engaging youngsters at key educational stages. School Connect supports senior school pupils with the application and transition to GCU, and younger students at key stages in the decision-making process. As members of the School Connect programme, pupils work closely with student mentors on a range of activities designed to develop the skills necessary for university study and to support them through the application process. Early engagement with students whilst still at school helps to raise aspirations and inform pupils about the diverse range of courses and careers open to them. The activities are designed to break down barriers to higher education and provide pupils with access to undergraduate student mentors. Options and Choices Project The options and choices project works with whole year groups of S2 or S3 pupils, as they make their subject choices. Through 12 mini show and tell sessions with GCU students, pupils learn about some routes into professions and how their subjects could be used practically in the future. S6 Induction Project then S6 Information, Advice and Guidance Programme For S6 pupils aspiring to university study, School Connect provides a series of workshops starting with a half-day of teambuilding activities in early June as pupils start S6, followed by a series of workshops to support the UCAS process and transition to university study. Many of our former pupils become Student Mentors when they commence their studies at GCU. Success stories “Taking part in School Connect as a teenager from the East End afforded me tremendous opportunities. Without it, I would not have been able to access higher education nor excelled once here. I have been nominated for countless awards and this can all be traced back to the amazing work that took place in order for me to develop into a young adult. I have been privileged not only to take part but also work for the programme as a student mentor, which is an honour. School Connect taught me that education can be accessed by all and never to be afraid to do better than what’s expected, something that has guided me through my university journey.” Dean, former pupil and current 3rd year nursing student and student mentor.) Many former participants are now current undergraduate students and work as Student Mentors. Mentors are key to our success in being intermediary figures and role model to pupils, from whom pupils benefit from first hand information. Furthermore the School Connect Team also offers targeted outreach activities to care experienced young people, including an annual themed taster day for S2/3 pupils. Rachel Is also the university's named contact for care experienced young people and care leavers.