MP praises local pupils getting a taste of university

Stretford and Urmston MP Kate Green visited the University of Manchester this weekend to celebrate the achievement of local pupils who have successfully completed The Scholars Programme – a prestigious national scheme which gives school pupils an opportunity to experience university-style learning.

The programme recruits, trains and places PhD researchers in non-selective state schools to deliver university-style tutorials based on their own research to small groups of pupils. The pupils Kate Green met with have been studying a diverse range of courses with their PhD tutors in schools across the region, including ‘What is Fairness?’ and ‘Diabetes: It Really Does Get on our Nerves’.

The Scholars Programme is run by The Brilliant Club, an award-winning charity whose aim is increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities.

An independent evaluation by the Universities and Colleges Application Services (UCAS) showed that nearly sixty percent of pupils who complete the programme go on to attend a highly-selective university.

For pupils on the programme who were eligible for free school meals, 58% progressed to a highly-selective university, compared to a national rate of 11%.

Kate Green MP said: “It was great to take part in The Scholars Programme graduation ceremony today, and meet pupils who had worked so hard in their tutorials and on their final assignment.

“I was very impressed at how they engaged with such a complex and challenging academic topic. I wish the pupils the very best for the future, and I encourage more schools to give their pupils the chance to benefit from this programme.”

One of the PhD students who took part was Connor Rogerson, who is studying molecular cancer. He said: “Being able to teach your own research to secondary school pupils is such an incredible and unique experience and I was so impressed by their innate ability to understand complex topics at the forefront of research.”

Stephanie Lee, Head of Widening Participation at The University of Manchester said: “Here at The University of Manchester we were delighted to welcome Kate Green MP to give the keynote speech today and share in the pupils’ success. We are proud to be a partner university of The Brilliant Club and to work with pupils across the North West in order to widen access to highly-selective universities.”

Dr Chris Wilson, CEO of The Brilliant Club said: “In Britain today, there’s an entrenched link between a young person’s background and their chance of education success.

“The Scholars Programme helps pupils develop the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfil their academic potential and secure places at highly-selective universities. We’re really grateful to Kate Green for taking time to come and see the great work that our partner schools and universities are doing, and the amazing things pupils are achieving.”

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