The Brilliant Club is an award winning non-profit organisation that exists to widen access to top universities for outstanding pupils from non-selective state schools. Our primary activity is to recruit, train and place doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in non-selective state schools and sixth form colleges serving low participation communities to deliver programmes of university-style tutorials to small groups of outstanding pupils, which develop the knowledge, skills and ambition that help those pupils to secure places at top universities. Working together with schools, colleges and universities, we are building a national movement that mobilises doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to engage with challenging schools and to address educational disadvantage more broadly. Our doctoral and postdoctoral researchers are placed in schools to deliver programmes from Year 6 through to Year 12. We are currently working with over 150 schools and colleges in London, the South East and the Midlands, placing over 250 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to work with more than 5000 pupils.
The UK education system faces a range of inter-related challenges: students from non-selective state schools are under-represented at top universities; schools are increasingly accountable for progression to higher education; there is a shortage of high quality development opportunities for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers; and universities are committed to recruiting more pupils from low-participation backgrounds.
The Brilliant Club facilitates sustained contact between outstanding pupils and doctoral and postdoctoral researchers from top universities. In doing so, we offer a simple and scalable solution that addresses the inter-related problems mentioned above and at the same time benefits each of the key stakeholders. Pupils develop the skills, confidence and ambition that help them to secure places at top universities; schools develop a culture that champions excellence, hard work and progression to higher education; doctoral and postdoctoral researchers are paid for taking part in high quality development opportunities; and universities are given access to target schools and target students.
Our work is already having a significant impact on students in London; however, we intend to work with schools and universities across the country to build a high-profile national movement committed to widening access to top universities. Further details of our impact and how we measure it can be found in our Interim Organisational Impact Report.
We are extremely grateful to our Founding Partners for their support in the establishment of our organisation:
We are also delighted to be working with the following Partner Universities:
We also gratefully acknowledge the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for supporting our regional expansion, and are also collaborating with Faculti – an academic research media platform with 4 million viewers – to help disseminate the fantastic work that our PhD tutors do.