Lothian Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS)
The Lothian Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS) promotes higher education amongst young people whose school careers have been affected by adverse economic or social circumstances or who come from communities with little or no experience of higher education.
The Scottish Government recognises a range of barriers which can prevent school pupils from considering and/or accessing higher education. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) supports a number of national programmes (SHEP - Schools for Higher Education Programme) which aim to remove those barriers. LEAPS delivers the SHEP programme in the South East of Scotland. The University of Edinburgh provides funding and staff support, working with LEAPS to raise aspirations towards university and offer information, advice and guidance to LEAPS-eligible pupils so that they can make strong applications. Working with LEAPS, their target schools and partner institutions also strengthens the ties between those schools and our local institutions and provides opportunities for sharing best practice in Widening Participation.
LEAPS (Lothian Equal Access Programme for School) is an outreach programme, with designated LEAPS link teachers in each school. They operate a tiered approach so that schools with the lowest progression to higher education are offered the full programme of activities from S3-S6. In schools with higher progression rates, pupils who fulfil additional WP eligibility criteria are offered individualised support during S5 and S6. Activities include in-school workshops, individualised support, campus visits and conferences and ‘High Flyers’, a summer school for pupils from Group 1+ schools in partnership with 5 local universities. LEAPS also recruit student volunteers from across their partner institutions to support their work.
The tiered approach is outlined below. Please visit the LEAPS website for the current school groupings.
Group 1+ Schools
LEAPS support any student in a Group 1+ school who has the potential to achieve a minimum of 3 highers by the time they finish school.
Group 1 Schools
LEAPS support any student in a Group 1 school who has the potential to achieve a minimum of 3 highers by the time they finish school.
Group 2 Schools
In Group 2 schools, LEAPS support students who have the potential to achieve a minimum of 3 highers by the time they finish school and match one or more of the following LEAPS eligibility criteria:
- student who is first generation in family to apply to higher education
- student from a low income background
- student who has spent time in care or being looked after or who is estranged.
- student who is a young carer
- student who lives in one of Scotland’s 20% most disadvantaged communities as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD20).