Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES)
ACES Edinburgh is a multi-exit programme, supporting eligible S4-S6 pupils in local state schools who are considering pursuing degrees or careers in art, design or architecture.
Programmes within art, design and architecture are very popular and competitive and require more than just good school exam results. For most of these courses there are additional steps as part of the application process and each university requires something different. In addition, methods of teaching and assessment at degree level in these courses can be very different compared to secondary school level. To be successful, applicants need to be able to demonstrate their creative development and potential to succeed in their chosen visual creative degree.
All of these requirements together can make accessing these courses and the subsequent careers extremely challenging for pupils from widening participation backgrounds who may not have the same networks and support as other pupils. ACES (Access to Creative Education Scotland) Edinburgh supports pupils to make strong and well-considered applications to these courses.
ACES is part of a national programme, funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and alongside its sister project Reach, forms the ‘Access to High Demand Professions’ programme.
ACES activities and events typically include:
- One-to-one pre-application guidance for pupils, their family and advisers
- Advice and guidance for each subject strand and extra-curricular requirements
- Workshops on personal statements, interview techniques and portfolios
- Specialist creative workshops
- Portfolio preparation courses
- Gallery and exhibition visits
- Career exploration workshops and events
- Opportunities to meet and shadow current students
All the activities are free of charge and ACES provides materials for the pupils. ACES works in partnership with the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). ACES staff are available for support via phone and email from pupils, their families and advisers.
ACES is a multi-exit programme, so offers encouragement, and impartial advice on the relevant subject areas, guidance on school subject choices and support with all aspects of the application process and various pathways available.
Any S4-S6 pupil in a state school in the south east of Scotland who:
- Is care experienced; or
- Lives in a postcode area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20) or 40% (SIMD40); or
- Is a young carer
- Is estranged from their family; or
- Is a refugee or asylum seeker; or
- Is entitled to or in receipt of Free School Meals (FSM); or
- Is entitled to in receipt of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA); or
- Lives in a low-income household; or
- Lives in an area considered to be remote and/or rural according to categories 4-8 on the Scottish Government’s 8-Fold Urban Rural Classification 2020; or
- Is facing educational disadvantages due to challenging circumstances
For pupils in other areas, there are three other ACES programmes which make up the national ACES programme: ACES Glasgow School of Art; ACES Robert Gordon University and ACES University of Dundee.
Visit the project pages for pupils or teacher pages linked below for details on our eligibility criteria.