Risking 360 degree of separation

27th October 2000 at 01:00
THE eccentrically-titled 3sixty0 University for Children and Communities is - once deconstructed - an access programme. Aimed at encouraging children from a young age in the north-east of the country to consider higher education, it is paralleled by schemes in Lothian and greater Glasgow. Although the university tradition is strong in Grampian, there are parts of Aberdeen and of the landward area that send very few people to higher education, and so the new "university" is to be commended.

It has a unique quality, which may turn out to be a step too far. The pilot secondaries have a target of ensuring that within three years they will equal or surpass the Scottish average of 31 per cent of leavers entering HE. By 2010, at least half of leavers from these schools, where the proportion at present hovers around 10 per cent, will be HE bound. Thecultural shift needed is huge, as is the rise in academic achievement. Outsiders will observe 3sixty0 with interest and, initially at least, with disbelief.

If, however, social inclusion is to work and be worth the millions invested in it, targets such as those for (in the first year) Northfield Academy and the Gordon Schools, Huntly, will need to prove practicable. The Executive is committing moral capital, too, not least in memory of Donald Dewar.

The north-east project starts in primary. Robert Beattie, chairman of the Scottish Further Education Funding Council, makes plain (FE Focus, page 38) the obligation on colleges to seek out lifelong learners in pursuit of the same inclusive goal. And the issues running across the age groups will be explored today in the conference run by Edinburgh City Council and the TES Scotland.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today