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Bob with Joanne Martin and Dame SilverSNP MSP for Glasgow, Bob Doris, recently held a meeting with former Springburn Academy student, Joanne Martin, and the chair of the Scottish Government Commission on widening access, Dame Ruth Silver. The meeting, which was held in Bob’s constituency office, was an opportunity for Joanne, who recently won a place at Aberdeen Medical School, to outline the challenges and barriers she encountered in trying to gain a place at medical school. Joanne was turned down from various Medical Schools on eight occasions despite having all the required grades.

Bob has been working with Joanne for several months to challenge the selection criteria at various medical schools, which they both considered to be unfair towards students in state schools, particularly in deprived areas. Joanne has since gained a place at Aberdeen Medical School and will take her place up this September. The meeting will be used to inform Dame Silver’s Commission, who will make recommendations to the Scottish Government on how to further improve access to Scotland’s Universities for those from the most deprived areas in Scotland.

Commenting on what was a highly constructive meeting Bob Doris, SNP MSP for Glasgow said: “Barriers for attending university such as tuition fees are not a problem in Scotland due to the Scottish Government ensuring Higher Education is free. However, Joanne’s experience has shown that there is still work to be done and additional steps need to be taken. I think what Joanne has achieved is incredible and her experience will be invaluable to the work of the commission.

“I would encourage anyone from deprived areas in Scotland who has tried to gain a University place to step forward and share their story. I am pleased that the Scottish Government has established the commission on widening access to ensure everyone has a fair shot at Higher Education, regardless of their background. I think Joanne’s experience will strengthen its work.

Joanne Martin from Possilpark added: “I was pleased that Dame Silver listened to the issues I raised over the barriers I faced getting into medical school. I felt she understood my concerns. I hope her report will help the Scottish Government make progress in getting more students from poorer areas into university.

Note:

The call for evidence for the Commissions Inquiry can be found here: http://www.commissiononwideningaccess.co.uk/#!call-for-evidence/c1ltx