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

The Problem

Students from the least advantaged backgrounds have a 2 in 100 chance of going to the most competitive universities, compared with 28 in 100 for the most advantaged (UCAS Multiple Equality Measure).
This disadvantage doesn’t disappear when they enter university. Disadvantaged students are 20% 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.


In 2021/22, we worked with over 22,000 young people in over 1,000 schools. You can see our Year of Impact here.

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 five years of the strategy through our access programmes, including our flagship Scholars Programme. For the first time in the charity’s history, we are also supporting students on their university journey. We will work with 10,000 undergraduates during 2021-26, supporting them to transition successfully into higher education.

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

The Programmes

In pursuit of our mission, The Brilliant Club runs four core programmes; The Scholars Programme, Make your Mark, Join the Dots and Parent Power.

The Scholars Programme

Our PhD tutors deliver The Scholars Programme in schools across the UK; sharing their subject knowledge and passion for learning with students aged 8-18.

Make your Mark

Make your Mark increases attainment with Year 10 students through curriculum-focused tutoring.

Join the Dots

Join the Dots brings together schools and colleges together with universities to support students who are most likely to face barriers during the transition to higher education.

Parent Power

Parent Power is driven by parents and carers tackling barriers to education and leading change in their communities, each chapter supported by an anchor institution and connected by a national network.

Get involved

Our 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 won a Guardian Charity Award in 2015 and now works with 20,000 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