Wera Hobhouse visited Year 7 and 8 pupils at Oldfield School this week to hear about their progress as part of 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 Wera met with today are studying a course entitled ‘Disease Detectives’ with their tutor Lucy Holloway from the University of Bristol.
As part of the programme, the pupils will also visit two highly-selective universities, where they receive information, advice and guidance about university life and making a successful university application. 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%.
Wera Hobhouse said:
“It was great to visit Oldfield School today, and meet pupils taking part in The Scholars Programme. I was very impressed at how they engaged with such a complex and challenging academic topic. It just goes to show what young people from Bath can achieve if we give them the opportunity. 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.”
Jessica Lobbett, Assistant Headteacher, added:
“I was delighted to meet with Wera Hobhouse and show her the excellent work our students are doing in The Scholars Programme. I am very proud of the achievements of all of our students and I am excited to see how their participation in the programme inspires their study and future opportunities.”
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 Wera for taking time to come and see the great work that our PhD tutors and partner schools are doing, and the amazing things pupils are achieving.”