Who we are

We work across the UK, supporting less advantaged students to access the most competitive universities, and to succeed when they get there.

The Problem

Right now, just 1 in 50 of the least advantaged students enter the most competitive universities, compared to 1 in 4 of the most advantaged. Disadvantaged students are therefore 18x more likely to miss out on life-changing higher education. This disadvantage doesn’t disappear when they enter university. Disadvantaged students are 3x more likely to miss out on a 1st or 2:1 grade at university. This affects an individual beyond their time at university and impacts society as a whole.

Our Mission

We mobilise the PhD community to support students who are less advantaged to access the most competitive universities and succeed when they get there.


We are celebrating our 10th birthday in 2021. To find out more about our decade of impact across the UK, watch our video:

Join the Club

Our 2021-26 strategy, Join the Club, is focused on two goals:

  • Access
  • Success

We will work with 100,000 pupils over the next five years through our flagship Scholars Programme. For the first time, we will also support students on their university journey. We will work with 11,000 undergraduates to transition and succeed at university.

The Programmes

In pursuit of our mission, The Brilliant Club runs two core programmes; The Scholars Programme and the Brilliant Tutoring Programme.

The Scholars Programme

The Scholars Programme recruits, trains and places PhD tutors in schools to deliver programmes of university-style tutorials, which are supplemented by two university trips. 

Brilliant Tutoring Programme

We are taking part in the national catch-up effort so pupils can access a future they deserve. The Programme aims to re-engage and rebuild pupils’ confidence in core subjects by working with a subject expert.

Get involved

Our new strategy, Join the Club, is about participation. Together, from primary school to graduation, we can meet the challenge.

If you’d like to get involved in our work, as a school, researcher, supporter, university, ambassador or Friend of the charity, please follow the link below. 

Where it began

The Brilliant Club was co-founded in 2011 by Jonathan Sobczyk and Simon Coyle, two teachers who became involved in university access through their work in inner-city schools. As classroom teachers, they recognised the barriers that pupils from less advantaged backgrounds face in accessing the most competitive universities.  

They started a project aiming at  supporting these pupils to progress, by utilising the expertise and passion of PhD researchers, to deliver university-style tutorials to small groups of pupils. From an initial placement of 12 pupils in London, The Brilliant Club now works with 15,000 pupils a year in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  

You should offer The Brilliant Club to as many people as you can – it can really change someone’s outlook on life.

Meet the team

Find out more about The Brilliant Club’s team

Board of Trustees

Meet the Board of Trustees for the charity

Want to join the team?

Our latest vacancies are listed here