Brilliant Scholars

Posted at 11:06 am on 5th February, 2020

Over 20 FGS students, including both year 8 and 10 girls; attended the new in-take for this year’s Brilliant Club Scholarship Programme launch, at Sheffield University.

 Brilliant Club launch students1.jpg Brilliant Club logo.jpg

The Brilliant Club exists to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities. They mobilise the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools, working with more than 12,000 pupils, across nearly 700 schools and over 38 universities across the UK.

The Scholarship programme places PhD tutors in schools, giving students experience of university style learning – using tutorials in small groups, based around topics designed to stretch and challenge students. Students will complete tasks and a final assignments between 1000 and 2500 words, which is marked in university-style with students receiving a 1st, 2.1, 2.2 etc. grading.

The Brilliant Club’s programmes are having a positive impact on pupils. Data from UCAS shows that pupils completing The Scholars Programme were significantly more likely to apply to, receive an offer from and progress to a highly selective university.

Miss McLauchlan Humanities Teacher/Talented and Gifted Champion said,

‘The girls were able to complete study skills sessions, gaining tips and ideas which they could bring back into their current classroom environment. Additionally, they completed their first university-style tutorial led by their nominated PhD student; this challenged them beyond their current school curriculum.

Year groups then split into groups with our year 10s learning ‘Systems Theory’ applied to climate change technology. While the year 8s learnt about the causes of the ‘French Civil War’.

The launch event concluded with an informative tour of Sheffield University including viewing the lecture halls, libraries and accommodation. The whole experience allowed the students to understand how university life works. They were able to ask as many question as they wanted, really putting the girls at ease; allowing them to envisage their time at university, which for most was their first insight.

Each year group, split into two smaller sub-groups of six, meeting their PhD student tutor once a week to discuss their assigned topic. This allows the students to complete group and independent study skills to complete their final assignment.  Our nominated PhD student tutors are Chukwuma Ogbonnaya and James Brocklesby from Manchester University.’

Year 8 student Anna Gilbody said, ‘I would recommend this programme and university visit. It was nice to see the types of courses and variety of accommodation available; as well as speak with actual students. I am interested in pursuing a career in Medicine so was able to talk with current medical students about their experiences.’

Year 10 student Rachel Phillips commented, ‘I have never attended a university campus before, but want to extend my educational studies and become a primary school teacher. It was very useful to speak with current students and ask questions relevant to my needs, whilst touring the campus site. It has opened my eyes to alternative options and made me consider university for my future.’