About this page


At LIFT OFF we welcome a diverse range of Core Pupils to our programme, and embracing this diversity is at the centre of our approach.

The aim of this page is to:

Use the information and resources on this page to develop your awareness of our diverse pupil cohort and reflect on your individual practice in supporting our Core Pupils.

Background to Supporting Core Pupils

In 2016 the Scottish Government released the Final report of the Commission for Widening Access, which set out 34 recommendations to support its ambition that every child, irrespective of socioeconomic background, should have an equal chance of accessing higher education.

Widening access in education refers to the efforts and initiatives aimed at providing equal opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances.

It recognises that education is a fundamental right and a powerful tool for social mobility and personal development. By ensuring equal opportunities, we can break down barriers and create a more inclusive and equitable society.

At LIFT OFF, our objective is to increase our target pupils’ aspirations and support their transition into Higher Education destinations.

In doing so we aim to: 


Supporting pupils is crucial to this as it addresses the disparities that exist in educational access and attainment. Many factors such as socio-economic status, geographical location, race, and disability can significantly impact a pupils ability to thrive academically.  Without proper support, these barriers can perpetuate inequality and limit individual potential. 

Scotland’s education system is needs led, placing the learner at the centre of provision and support using the Curriculum For Excellence framework, which prohibits discrimination and supports inclusive education. The UK also has obligations under international human rights law to provide inclusive education for all children and young people.

Under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful to discriminate between pupils on the grounds of race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, and religion or belief.  

Curriculum for excellence diagram

Pupil Selection Criteria

Every young person we work with is unique, as is their readiness and ability to learn. Pupils are eligible to join the programme by having the academic potential to achieve at least 2 Highers by the end of S6.  They also may have one or more of the following contextual markers:

Contextual markers list- Care Experienced, 20/40 SIMD (Quintile 1-2, Decile 1-4), Free School Meals, ASN- Additional Support Needs, ESOL- English as a second Language, Young Carers, Asylum Seekers/Refugees, Adverse Family Circumstance, Rural Isolation, Subject to negative peer / community influence & Little / no family experience of Higher Education

Contextual markers can have a significant impact on learning as they shape a learners experiences, circumstances and resources available to them on their individual learning journey.   These markers refer to the environmental, social, and situational factors that surround the learning experience. Overall, contextual markers have a multifaceted impact on a pupils ability to learn, such as:



By creating engaging environments, meaningful connections and social interactions, and considering individual and cultural differences, LIFT OFF can maximise the effectiveness of it’s engagements to ensure  a positive experience for the Core Pupils on our programme. Creating inclusive and supportive environments can help minimise the negative impacts of these markers and promote equitable opportunities and diversity. 



Scottish Index of Multiple Deprevation

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) identifies areas where there are concentrations of multiple deprivation. The SIMD can be used to target policies and resources at the places with greatest need. The SIMD identifies deprived areas, not deprived individuals.


English to Speakers of Other Languages

English to Speakers of Other Languages

Rural Isolation

Rural isolation refers to the geographical, social and economic barriers that can limit educational opportunities for students in rural communities.

Young Carer

A young carer is someone aged 25 and under who cares for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.

Socio Economic Status

Socioeconomic status is the social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income, and occupation.

Adverse Family circumstances

Adverse personal and family circumstances refers to circumstances outside of your control that has an unfavourable impact on you directly or indirectly.

Care experienced

The term care-experienced refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after.


Additional Support Needs

Additional support needs can be both long and short-term, and can be due to disability or health, learning environment, family circumstances, social and emotional factors.

Little to no family experience with HE

An individual's immediate family members, such as parents or siblings, have had limited or no exposure to Higher Education.

A supportive approach

All young people need support to help them learn and develop.  This is where student volunteers play a vital role.  They are enthusiastic individuals who dedicate their time, skills and knowledge to support Core Pupils. Student volunteers serve as relatable role models for Core Pupils, inspiring them to overcome obstacles and strive for success.  This not only fosters growth, well being and development, but also leads to pupils feeling valued and empowered. This can lead to increased engagement, motivation and achievement. Fostering a culture of inclusivity, combating discrimination, and providing supportive learning environments are essential to ensure pupils can thrive and reach their potential. 

A supportive approach is offering assistance, guidance and encouragement while respecting autonomy and individuality. 

Here are some key elements to a supportive approach:

Take the time to actively listen to young people. Show genuine interest in their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. This helps them feel valued and understood.

Put yourself in the shoes of the young people you are working with.  Try to understand their experiences, challenges and perspectives.  This empathy helps build trust and rapport.

Avoid being judgmental or critical. Create a safe and accepting space where young people feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of negative judgment.

Recognize and acknowledge the achievements, efforts, and strengths of young people. Offer sincere praise and positive reinforcement to build their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Involve young people in decision-making processes and activities. Encourage their active participation, seeking their input and ideas. Treat them as partners rather than passive recipients of support.

Establish clear boundaries that promote respectful interactions. Treat young people with dignity, respect their personal space, and maintain confidentiality when appropriate.

Encourage young people to identify and analyse problems they encounter. Help them develop problem-solving and decision-making skills by asking open-ended questions and guiding them through the process.


Each young person is unique, so adapt your approach based on their individual needs, backgrounds, and circumstances.  Flexibility and open-mindedness are key to providing effective support.

Support Plans

  •  At some point throughout  their learning journey all pupils are likely to face barriers to their learning, whether for a short period of time or longer. Sometimes young people can benefit from tailored support to their individual circumstances.  This can be at any point on their learning journey or throughout.  Focused support may be required for short or longer periods of time to overcome or minimise barriers to learning to ensure progress. Some pupils have specific support plans in place to ensure they can participate fully at Campus events on the LIFT OFF programme.


Headshot of Hannah Campbell

Hannah Campbell

ASN Co ordinator



Inclusive Practice

Inclusive practice can be defined as attitudes and methods that ensure all learners can access education.  Everyone works to make sure all learners feel welcome and valued, and that they get the right support to help them develop their talents and achieve their goals. When education is truly inclusive it can benefit all learners. 

This approach (inclusive) understands that everyone is unique which affects their readiness and ability to engage and learn. 

Inclusive practice allows young people to thrive but also appreciate and understand diversity. 


Please complete the quiz to the best of your ability to demonstrate your understanding of the information provided on this page.  

Further reading