This year, The Brilliant Club hosted two Seren conferences to provide information, advice and guidance to support learners in Wales to progress to competitive universities.
Two conferences were hosted in March for Year 8 and 9 learners and Year 10 and 11 learners to virtually engage with universities and take part in academic masterclasses.
Seren is a Welsh Government initiative which aims to support Welsh learners to achieve their full academic potential and support their education pathway into competitive universities in Wales, the UK, and overseas.
Seren is available to Welsh learners in Years 8 to 13 from state schools and further education colleges.
The Seren conferences are part of the Seren Academy programme for Year 12 and the Seren Foundation programme for Years 8 to 11, which are designed to support learners to build confidence and make informed decisions about their A-levels and university options.
At the virtual conferences, several universities took part in live Q&A sessions where learners could meet alumni and university staff to ask questions and learn about life in higher education.
Cardiff University, the University of Bath, Durham University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and Aberystwyth University, as well as Ysgol Plasmawr, took part in the Q&As.
Learners at the Seren conferences also had the opportunity to attend masterclasses run by The Brilliant Club and other university partners to experience university-style learning.
The University of Wales Trinity St David, Aberystwyth University, the University of Bath and Swansea University delivered these masterclasses for Welsh learners at the Seren conferences covering topics such as psychology, geography and English.
The masterclasses went beyond the typical school curriculum and gave learners a chance to engage in topics they might cover at university, including ‘Glaciers: how ice ages are formed, how we remember them and does if matter if we do?’ and ‘Using genealogy to explore how memories of the past impact the present day and how these change according to current trends’.
The Seren Award is an online tutoring programme delivered to the most-able learners across Wales. It is designed to help the transition into Key Stage 5 study and for participants to develop both university and subject-specific knowledge, as well as academic skills, that will support their university applications and prepare them for future university-level study.
Placements consist of a pre-recorded masterclass video and pre-reading tasks, followed by three ‘live’ online tutorials over a single week. Learners then write up and submit a university-style assignment, receiving full written feedback from their PhD tutor. The Universities of Bath and Reading, and Aberystwyth University, provide alternative, reduced entry offers to Seren learners that achieve a 1st or 2.1.
In autumn 2021, The Brilliant Club placed 67 of its PhD tutors with 1,534 learners from sixth forms and colleges across Wales on courses such as ‘Antibiotic Resistance: How can we all solve this problem?’ and ‘Criminology – What is the relationship between crime and harm?’. In March and April 2022, a further 76 secondary schools across Wales took part in the Key Stage 3 and 4 version of the Seren Award, with over 1,200 learners participating!
You can find out more about Seren here.
If you’re interested in running The Brilliant Club’s Scholars Programme in your school, please get in touch.