Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES)

Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES) is a Widening Participation project for eligible state school students in years S4-S6, studying in the south east of Scotland. The project is aimed at students interested in studying a visual creative subject, such as art, design or architecture, at university.

What is ACES?

Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES) is a national Widening Participation (WP) project, funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). The project aims to support eligible S4-S6 pupils in local Scottish state secondary schools who are considering pursuing degrees or careers in art, design or architecture.

These visual creative degrees require more than just good exam results from school.

ACES is a multi-exit programme. We will work with you to support your creative development, explore your future options, and help you create a competitive application.

We will also support you with impartial advice and guidance in choosing and applying for a visual creative degree that is right for you.

What's involved?

Application support

ACES Edinburgh staff will support you through all stages of pre-application, including subject choices and portfolio preparation.

We will also help you through the application process for art, design and architecture degree programmes.


Over S4, S5 and S6, we run subject and career exploration events, which will provide you with valuable insight into your chosen subject area.

Our programme activities and events are relevant to your area of interest, as well as your current stage in the pre-application or application process.

All of our activities are free of charge, and we will provide all materials for you to use.

Events and activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • One-to-one pre-application guidance for you, your family and advisers
  • Advice and guidance for your subject choices 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

We will always contact you with information about upcoming events relevant to you.

Who can join?

ACES Edinburgh works with eligible S4-S6 pupils attending state secondary schools in:

  • Edinburgh
  • The Lothians (East Lothian, Midlothian & West Lothian)
  • Scottish Borders
  • Falkirk
  • Stirling
  • Clackmannanshire

If you attend a state secondary school in any of the above local authority areas AND meet any of the below criteria, you will be eligible to sign up for ACES Edinburgh:

  • you are Care Experienced; or
  • you live in a Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintile 1 or 2 postcode area; or
  • you are a Young Carer; or
  • you are estranged from your family; or
  • you are a refugee or asylum seeker; or
  • you are entitled to or are in receipt of Free School Meals (FSM)

Criteria explained

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintile 1-2

You can use the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation to find your postcode category.

Use the link below and follow the steps:

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

1. Type your postcode into the ‘area finder’ box on the left

2. Click ‘GO’

3. Hover at the bottom of the yellow marker that appears on the map

4. If the ‘current data zone’ box on the right of the screen states ‘Quintile 1’ or ‘Quintile 2’ then you are eligible to register with the project.

Young Carer

We define a Young Carer as a young person who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member.

This means caring for someone, who due to illness, disability, mental health issues, or an addiction, cannot cope without your support.


Estranged students are usually without the financial or emotional support of their family due to a breakdown in the relationship.

Do I meet the criteria?

If you are unsure whether you meet any of our criteria, please contact us directly and we will be happy to help you.

How do I take part?

Register to join

You can register to join ACES Edinburgh by completing our online form:

Register to join Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES)

Event booking

If you are already signed up and are looking to attend one of our events, use the form below:

Book your place at an ACES event

ACES resources

We have put together some resources for pupils interested in pursuing a degree or career in art, design or architecture. 

ACES resources

What if I don't attend a school in your area?

If you attend a state secondary school in another area of Scotland, you may be eligible to sign up with another ACES partner.

Please use the links below to find out more about the ACES partner that is closest to you:

Any questions? Contact us

ACES: Edinburgh

Contact details



Student Recruitment and Admissions
The University of Edinburgh
33, Buccleuch Place

Post Code


  • Office Hours
    Monday - Friday:
    09:00 - 17:00

ACES is run in collaboration with Reach: Scotland, a project managed by five universities throughout Scotland (the University of Aberdeen; the University of Dundee; the University of Edinburgh; the University of Glasgow; and the University of St Andrews), and funded by the Scottish Funding Council. The University of Edinburgh is responsible for the delivery of Reach in the south east of Scotland.