The Scholars Programme, run by registered charity The Brilliant Club, aims to give young people who have the potential to go to a good university in the future a genuine experience of university life and work. The selection process is also weighted to favour those who, despite their potential, may not have a clear route to getting to a top university. The whole of Year 10 at De La Salle was given the chance to apply for the programme and, from the many excellent applications we received, we selected thirteen pupils.
Our programme ran from October 2021 until February 2022 and included activities such as virtual tours of top universities and access to the experiences of current university students, through presentations and Q and A sessions. The central element of the programme, however, involved our pupils attending a series of small-group seminars and one-to-one tutorials, leading to the production of a 2000-word final essay. Under the guidance of Rachel White, a PHD graduate who lectures at Durham University, pupils were given an authentic taste of what it means to study within a university framework, developing skills such as independent learning, extended writing, research methods, time-management and the meeting of deadlines.
Pupils’ final assessment pieces were graded using university criteria and the results were as follows:
6 students: 1st
4 students: 2:1
3 students: 2.2
The Scholars Programme was extremely challenging for our pupils and involved an awful lot of extra work - work which was deliberately pitched at a level above GCSE. But, as the results clearly show, it was a challenge that they met superbly, making us extremely proud in the process.
Overall, the programme was a great success and we are already arranging to run it again in the next academic year.