The Brilliant Club
For primary and secondary school pupils. A research-led schools programme providing an experience of university-style learning by mobilising our PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools.
Building projects, which engage with school pupils in a meaningful way, with tangible impact upon both aspiration and attainment raising, can be challenging. The Brilliant Club delivers on both accounts as it prioritises the development and measurement of attainment-raising behaviours, including meta-cognition and critical thinking, using a competency framework. It also ensures pupils experience the university and ultimately feel a sense of belonging by interacting with our student role models (researchers) and visiting us at the launch and graduation of their programme. We’ve found this to be a fantastic and mutually beneficial WP model: sharing our research within the wider community, engaging with harder to reach audiences, and providing rewarding experiences and development opportunities for our postgraduates.
The Brilliant Club exists to increase the number of pupils from underrepresented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities. We do this by mobilising our PhD community to share its academic expertise and input into two core programmes; The Scholars Programme and Researchers in Schools. The Scholars Programme recruits, trains and places doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in schools to deliver programmes of university-style tutorials, which are supplemented by two university trips. Researchers in Schools recruits PhD graduates, places them as trainee teachers in schools and supports them to develop as excellent teachers and research leaders committed to closing the gap in attainment and university access. Small groups of pupils in tutorial groups are supported by a PhD-level tutor over the course of a term to complete a university-style module culminating in a final assignment. These in-school tutorials are complemented by two trips to the University. All courses are supra-curricular. Final assignments are marked with a university-style mark scheme (1st, 2:1, 2:2). 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.
The Brilliant Club works in partnership with (and is co-funded by) the university and participating non-selective state primary and secondary schools. The programme is academically rigorous and teachers select pupils who will benefit most from the challenge of working above their current Curriculum for Excellence level. As a minimum 55% of pupils on the programme must met widening participation criteria. The programme is available from P6 primary to S6 secondary.