A school is motivating its most able and hardest working students to aspire to go to the most highly selective universities.
Launched in September 2017, The Brilliant Club is playing its part in the Kempston Challenger Academy’s strategy to stretch and challenge students. The club “exists to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities by mobilising the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools”.
When a student is selected for a place in the Brilliant Club, they are treated to an introduction visit to a top class University. It has completed three trips to the University of Cambridge.
Students enjoy a tour and also get to hear from University students about ‘life at university’. They also received some top class inspirational talks.
Students then embark on a six week programme of study led by a PhD Mentor in their field of specialism. This involves the PhD Mentor coming into school once a week to lead interactive sessions in his or her specialism.
Lessons are designed to be challenging by being a full key stage above what the students are studying in school.
To ‘graduate’ students must write a 2,000 word ‘university style’ essay which is then graded using the typical university system within two weeks. They are assisted online via a virtual learning environment provided by the Brilliant Club and their mentor.
Upon graduation, students are invited back to a different university to the one they went to on their ‘Introduction’ trip to hear some keynote speeches from motivational speakers and again receive more advice about university access.
They also receive their Brilliant Club Honours Certificate and get encouraged to really emphasise this on their CVs!
A school spokesman said: “All of the above requires a great deal of commitment, focus, time, organisation, research and motivation on the part of our students. In our first year with the Brilliant Club, we were delighted to confirm the graduation of just over 30 students!
“Our students this year studied topics as diverse as “20th Century Art History”, “Understanding Disease and Disease Prevention” and “Race, Women and the Criminal Justice System”.
“Our graduating students now have an entry on their CV to enable them to stand out above a crowded employment market and above all else, our students have learned just exactly what it takes to face a challenge and then succeed.”