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Schools for Higher Education Programme

 undertook a review of its funding for schools engagement and has refocused and repurposed its four regional schools programmes as part of the new Schools for Higher Education Programme (SHEP).

The new programme supports regional collaboration between schools, colleges and universities to increase progression to higher education in both colleges and universities.

The purpose of the programme is to support the entitlements of the Senior Phase of CFE (Curriculum for Excellence) and to focus activity on school pupils S3 to S6. It provides a coordinated and collective approach to schools engagement at a level that would be inappropriate for individual institutions and which:

  • Meets the aspiration of a national pupil entitlement
  • Reduces duplication and aligns effort
  • Streamlines engagement for the benefit of schools, colleges and universities

Targeted with clear outcomes

The programme has been refocused to:

  • Target activity on those pupils who are at risk of not achieving their full potential and / or those achieving but who don't recognise their potential for progression to higher education (in both colleges and universities)
  • Target only those schools in each region identified, based on a five year average, as having less than 22% average progression to
  • Establish baselines against which future performance will be measured
  • Track, with Skills Development Scotland, the progression of pupils to inform performance reporting
  • Adhere to a set of national delivery principles, including strategic agreements with local authorities and partner institutions and sustained engagement with specific groupings  of pupils.

Further information on the work of the individual programmes can be found at:

The new schools programme replaces the work of the wider access regional forums. Resources produced by the Scottish Wider Access Regional Forums can be found at Access, inclusion & progression links and SFC reports and publications.

Target schools

Schools for Higher Education Programme [PDF] lists the target schools included in the programme.

Pupil Profiling and Schools for Higher Education Programme

The Scottish Government, Education Scotland, SFC and SHEP programme managers are working together to develop stronger links to support the development of profiles and the profiling process in schools.

A profile is a summary statement of a learner’s best achievements within and outwith school, which can be developed at any point in school. Currently profiles are mainly produced at the key points of transition at Primary 7 and third year of secondary and increasingly in the Senior Phase of schools.  

Although the production of a profile is important, of greater value to the learner is the profiling process which, on an on-going basis, supports them in reflecting on and understanding their learning.  It is important that all those working with young people are aware of this and are able to support this developing self-awareness in their discussions with learners.  This helps young people to see the connections between different aspects of their learning including that undertaken as part of SHEP.

As noted above, SHEP was established to support the entitlements of the Senior Phase of CFE and to focus activity on school pupils S3 to S6. A key element of this work is to encourage school pupils who are engaged in SHEP activity to be self-reflective and evaluate their own strengths as well as considering the activity and what they have gained from it. This links well with pupils having conversations with a key adult about the development of their profile. It also supports developing their confidence including their ability to have a more rounded view of their learning. 

It has been recognised that the development of profiling and the profile in the senior phase supports learners in their consideration of the skills they need to develop and in their applications for work or further and higher education.

Further information about profiling can be found in the Education Scotland website Education Scotland Profiling

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