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Scotland Patchy take-up could doom new baccs

The government's new flagship qualifications, the Scottish baccalaureates in science and languages, could be shunned by universities because they will not be offered by all schools.

This is despite the inter-disciplinary project - the only new element of the qualifications - receiving an impressive tariff score from universities admissions body Ucas. And universities have expressed support for the qualifications in principle, believing the interdisciplinary project could prepare students better for university. They also support its inclusion of independent research.

But Edinburgh University plans to ignore the new qualifications because it says take-up is likely to be patchy.

Niall Bradley, depute director of student recruitment and admissions, said: "We wouldn't want to disadvantage students who do not have access to certain qualifications."

Just over 100 schools have expressed an interest in offering the two qualifications when they are introduced in August.

But Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, doubted that all would be able to do so. He said many schools were struggling to find the staff and resources they need to offer Advanced Highers, an integral part of the awards.

Secondary heads have already expressed fears that access to the baccs will be "a postcode lottery".

And sources suggest the baccs may fall foul of the same problem as Advanced Highers, which have failed to gain the kudos expected. eb.

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