As Chair of Trustees, and as a Head Teacher of a London school, I am very excited to working in partnership with The Brilliant Club. In this country there are many good and outstanding schools that have raised attainment in the face of challenging circumstances, and for whom the next barrier is to help their students go on to secure places at the very best universities.
By providing the opportunity to take part in programmes of university-style tutorials, which are led by passionate and committed PhD students and focus on academic development, The Brilliant Club helps pupils to translate potential into places at highly selective universities. Furthermore, by connecting schools and universities in this way, it provides an innovative new solution that addresses a number of the challenges that we share in our endeavour to give the next generation fair access to an outstanding education.
I speak for the whole board of trustees when I say that we are looking forward to the prospect of executing our five year strategy (available to download in the sidebar on the left) over the coming years, and of building a movement that mobilises PhD students to widen access to highly selective universities.
Dame Sue John
Dame Sue is Head Teacher at Lampton School, a Director of London Leadership Strategy and a non-executive Director of the Department for Education. In her role as Chair of Trustees she is supported by:
- Vice-Chair of Trustees: Adrian Percival, CEO, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation
- General Secretary: Mathew Hood, New Business Manager, Achievment for All
- Trustee (Finance): Ben Williams, Manager in Transaction Service, KPMG
- Trustee (Strategy): Russell Hobby, General Secretary, National Association of Head Teachers
- Trustee (Strategy): Sally Boyle, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
- Trustee (Strategy): James Turner, Director, The Sutton Trust
Following the success of our programmes The Brilliant Club expanded to five full time members of staff in 2012.
Founder and CEO: Jonathan Sobczyk
“Jonny studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Durham. He then joined the 2008 cohort of Teach First and taught Citizenship at Bow Boys School in Tower Hamlets. Jonny left the classroom to found The Brilliant Club with Simon Coyle in 2011. Jonny and Simon won the 2011 Teach First ‘Social Innovation Awards’, were named in the ‘Top 10 Young UK Social Entrepreneurs’ in 2012, were listed in The Observer’s ‘Britain’s 50 New Radicals‘ and recently short-listed for The Sunday Times ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ competition. Jonny and Simon were also listed in Social Enterprise UK’s ‘Top 5 Start Up Companies of 2012′. Jonny has also written for the Guardian and the Telegraph.”
Founder and COO: Simon Coyle
“Simon grew up in rural Nottinghamshire and went on to study Economics and Politics at the University of Warwick. Upon graduating in 2007 he was accepted onto the Teach First programme. Before embarking on life as a teacher he spent a year studying Political Theory at the University of Sheffield, where he specialised in the consistency of John Rawls’s thought. Simon taught Citizenship, Economics and History at Kingsmead School in Enfield for two years before leaving the classroom to co-found The Brilliant Club with Jonathan Sobczyk in 2011. Outside of work Simon spends his time listening to blues music and following Nottingham Forest, and in the future would like to move to America to teach or to study for a PhD.”
Programme Director for Schools: Michael Slavinsky
“Michael graduated from University of Oxford where he studied languages and joined the Teach First programme, teaching French at London Academy, where he became head of Modern Languages. He went on to study his MA in French Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London and also helped Simon and Jonny found the Brilliant Club. He has joined as Programme Director with a responsibility for schools and evaluating of the impact of our programmes.”
Programme Director for Universities: Dr Christopher Wilson
“Chris became interested in medieval history at the University of Cambridge where he completed his undergraduate and M.Phil degrees, receiving a double first and ‘distinguished performance’ (distinction) respectively. During this time there he was awarded the Taylor Scholarship and college prizes. After leaving Cambridge he spent two years working as a government lobbyist in London for Keene Public Affairs. During the course of his Ph.D research at the University of Exeter he taught on the Department of History’s Foundation Course for three years and was a lead tutor on the course for two. During this time he became an Associate of the Higher Education Academy. Chris’ research focused on thirteenth-century ecclesiastical history and was generously funded by a University of Exeter College of Humanities Studentship. Chris joined the Brilliant Club as Programme Director for Universities in 2012.”
Office Manager: Lily Sida-Murray
Programme Officer: Jess Grisewood
Jess studied Law and Politics at Manchester University. She is passionate about equal opportunities with several years experience volunteering within the charitable sector. Jess has two years teaching experience on the Teach First programme, where she taught Citizenship, Law and Politics at London Academy. Jess has now joined The Brilliant Club working as a Programme Officer within the School and University teams.
Programme Officer: Mary Henes
Mary studied English at Durham University before returning to her home town London to undertake an MA in English, specialising in life-writing, at King’s College. After a year’s break including some work in a bookshop and running an international summer school for teenagers, she started her PhD back at King’s. Her thesis title was ‘The Land of the Lion and the Sun: British travel-writing on Persia, 1890-1940′, neatly combining her love of travel and literature. Alongside her PhD Mary taught undergraduates at King’s, undertook the King’s Learning Institute Graduate Certificate of Academic Practice, organised conferences, tutored students preparing for 11+ and Common Entrance, and continued to run summer schools. She joined The Brilliant Club as a tutor in autumn 2012, and as a Programme Officer in April 2013.
Programme Officer: Hollie Brown
Hollie studied History at Warwick University. After graduating with a 1.1 degree in 2008, she was selected for VSO’s Global Xchange programme. For six months, Hollie worked with a team of 18 UK and Ghanian volunteers to organise and deliver a number of community development projects in Plymouth and northern Ghana. Hollie’s interest in education led her to spend part of the time in Ghana working closely with local schools and foster homes. In 2009, Hollie returned to London and completed her PGCE at the Institute of Education. She then went on to teach history at George Green’s school in Tower Hamlets. Hollie’s interest in education has also led her to spend seven months teaching in Malawi and four months teaching in Xi’an, China. Hollie has now joined the Brilliant Club as Programme Officer.
We are also extremely grateful to the following individuals for their advise and input to our organisational strategy:
- Lord Adonis: Director, Institute for Government and former Minister of State for Schools
- Sam Freedman: Special Adviser, Department for Education
- Brett Wigdortz: Founder and CEO, Teach First
- James Turner: Projects and Policy Director, Sutton Trust
- Victoria Eadie: Head Teacher, Feltham Community College
- Denise Webster: Head Teacher, The Norwood School
- Carly Mitchell: Deputy Principal, London Academy
- Lee Mason-Ellis: Head Teacher, Stewart Fleming Primary School
- Anita Puri: Head Teacher, Blair Peach Primary School
- Nicola Buckley: Head of Public Engagement, Cambridge University
- Dr Andrew Murray: Admissions Tutor, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University
- Dr Annalisa Alexander: Mentoring and Tutoring Programme Manager, Imperial College
- Mark Smith: Director, Future Leaders and Founder of HEAPS
- Mark Goodchild: Programme Manager, Challenge Partners
- Pauline Hinchcliffe: Senior G&T Consultant, Southwark
- Sam McCormick: G&T Coordinator, Harris Academy, Purley
- Simon Pedley: G&T Coordinator, Bethnal Green Technology College
- Harry Fletcher-Wood: UCAS Director, Kingsmead School
- Paolo Falco: PhD student, University of Oxford
- Babak Somekh: PhD student, University of Oxford
- Irene Aspalter: PhD student, University College, London
- Kinga Bercsenyi: PhD student, University College, London
- Ed Bracey: PhD student, University College, London
- Liz Durkin: PhD student, University College, London
- Silvia Ferabolli: PhD student, School of Oriental and African Studies
- Joanna Firth: PhD student, University of Oxford
- Alex Papple: PhD student, University of Sussex
- Igor Rogelja: PhD student, School of Oriental and African Studies