The Brilliant Club has appointed Susie Whigham as interim CEO from February 2022. Susie will act as CEO until June 2022 as maternity cover for Brilliant Club CEO Anne-Marie Canning MBE.
Susie has been at The Brilliant Club since 2016, most recently as the charity’s Chief Programmes and Communities Officer. She will continue to drive the delivery of The Brilliant Club’s five-year strategy, Join the Club, which was launched in September 2021.
Join the Club focuses on two barriers to educational equality in the UK: access and success. It sets out plans for the charity to support 100,000 students by 2026 through its university access programme, The Scholars Programme, and for the first time, work with 11,000 students to enhance their success at these institutions.
To address the challenge of university access, The Brilliant Club will continue to expand its network of Parent Power chapters across the UK. Parent Power uses community organising techniques to create communities of parents who are empowered to support their children’s future and ensure they have a fair chance in education. The Brilliant Club is also launching its Join the Dots pilot programme, which has been developed in partnership with the Reach Foundation and the London Academy of Excellence, to address the impact of disadvantage which can persist at undergraduate level. Join the Dots will connect schools and universities to support students as they transition from school to higher education by building communities of learners and using coaching to support them to succeed.
Commenting on her appointment and plans for the coming months, interim CEO Susie Whigham said:
“I am delighted to be stepping into the interim CEO role whilst Anne-Marie is on maternity leave. The impact of COVID means it is vital to keep a sense of urgency in ensuring that young people not only catch up on the core curriculum but also have the opportunities to expand their learning beyond the curriculum.
“Developing skills such as independent learning, critical thinking and self-efficacy are essential in helping young people from the least advantaged backgrounds progress to university and succeed when they are there. I’m looking forward to continuing to collaborate with our school and university partners to bring the richness of academic research into schools and inspire a new generation of young people from all backgrounds to benefit from higher education.”