Local MP Alex Chalk visited Year 9 & 10 students at All Saints' Academy this week to hear about their progress as part of The Scholars Programme – a prestigious national scheme which gives students 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 students. The students Alex Chalk met with are studying a course entitled Poetry Today with their tutor Philip Monks from University of Birmingham.
Twelve All Saints' Academy students from Year 9 and Year 10 attended their launch event at Wadham College, Oxford University, and will have a series of tutorials with their PhD researcher on 'Poetry Today: Creativity In Context’. The course looks at contemporary poetry, the students will research a poet of their choice, write some poetry to get a sense of what it means to be creative.
As part of the programme, the students 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 to increase the number of students from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities. An independent evaluation by Universities and Colleges Application Services (UCAS) showed that nearly sixty percent of students who complete the programme go on to attend a highly-selective university.
Alex Chalk said 'It was great to visit All Saints' Academy, and meet students 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 Cheltenham can achieve if we give them the opportunity. I wish the students the very best for the future, and I encourage more schools to give their students the chance to benefit from this programme.
Dermot McNiffe, Principal at All Saints' Academy said 'I was delighted to meet with Alex Chalk and show him the work students are doing in The Scholars Programme. I'm proud of the achievements of our students who are participating and I am excited to see how their participation inspires their study and university choices.'
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 students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfil their academic potential and secure places at highly-selective universities. We're really grateful to Alex Chalk for taking time to come and see the great work that our PhD tutors and partner schools are doing, and the amazing things students are achieving.'