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The Programme

Can schools and colleges pick the subject area for the tutorials?

All courses, across every diverse and fascinating subject, are designed to engage students with university-style learning and develop students across our three academic achievement outcomes: critical thinking, written communication and subject knowledge.

Schools and colleges may submit a preference for the stream of the course to be delivered, but please note that preferences cannot be guaranteed as we match schools based on the PhD tutors available in the area to deliver placements for that term, and also consider additional factors such as timetabling.

How do the tutorials work?

For tutorials 1-5, tutors will teach students in two groups: A and B.

All tutorials last 60 minutes and are taught in groups of seven.

In tutorial 5, students will be asked to create a draft Final Assignment.

For tutorials 6 and 7, tutors will typically provide feedback in individual one-to-one sessions (lasting approximately ten minutes).

Can tutorials be held after school or college?

Schools can choose to hold tutorials after school, but this tends to have a detrimental effect on students’ attendance, energy levels and quality of work. The Brilliant Club strongly recommends that tutorials take place during the school day.

Does a teacher need to be present for the tutorials?

The Scholars Programme begins with an Online Launch which students attend online from school, and a Tutor Launch which PhD tutors deliver in-school, meeting students for the first time; the Lead Teacher or another member of school staff must be present for both of these sessions.

The Brilliant Club organises an Enhanced DBS Check for all PhD tutors delivering The Scholars Programme, so they do not need to be supervised for the remainder of tutorials. We do advise that a member of school staff greets PhD tutors when they arrive each week and shows them to the room to support smooth logistics, but also as an opportunity to discuss how the programme is going.

For virtual tutorials where students join as a group in-school and the tutor joins remotely, a teacher should supervise students.

Can we run the placement with more / fewer than 14 students?

The standard placement size for The Scholars Programme is 14 students, taught in two groups of seven students.

Schools may request to run the programme with more than 14 students on a placement. If approved, schools will be invoiced for additional student(s) at the same per student rate to account for additional running costs.

We recommend schools fill all 14 places, but placements can run with fewer students if required. In this case, schools will still be invoiced the standard rate of a placement for 14 students as the cost of organising the programme remains the same for the charity. Schools should avoid group sizes becoming too small, as this can hinder group discussion in tutorials.

How should we select students?

The Brilliant Club requires that at least 55% of pupils registered on the programme fulfil at least one of the following criteria:

  • Pupil Premium eligible
  • No parental history of higher education
  • Deprivation according to postcode: IDACI 1–4

There is no specific academic requirement for students to take part in The Scholars Programme. However, the final assignments are challenging pieces of work, pitched one key stage above the students’ current level in school, so we recommend that students selected demonstrate the following:

  • Academic record: consistently achieved higher than their peers in one or more subjects and/or are acknowledged by teachers as having the potential to do so.
  • Attitude to work: consistently apply themselves with maximum effort both in class and homework, and use feedback to further their learning.
  • Passion for learning: enjoy independent work and pursue new areas of learning and are actively involved in the wider life of the school.

How can we involve parents and carers in the programme?

Parents and carers play an important role in the success of their young person on The Scholars Programme. The Brilliant Club provides a key stage specific letter for schools to send to parents/carers detailing what the programme is and how they can support their child to get the most out of it. After sending the letter, we recommend that schools keep parents/carers informed with updates on the programme.

Schools can also involve parents in the following ways:

  • Parent Engagement Cycle: parent/carers can choose to receive a series of emails that share key updates throughout the programme. This will include information such as upcoming milestone events and assignment deadlines.
  • Parent and Carer Events: online events coincide with the Online Launch and Graduation Event that students attend. The Parent Launch at the beginning of the programme involves an information session on The Scholars Programme, how to support students on The Scholars Programme and a Q&A panel with some of our Brilliant Club Ambassadors. Next Steps events at the end of the programme involve a keynote and a Q&A with some of our university partners aimed at parents and carers.
  • Newsletter: parents and carers can sign up for this via the Parent/Carer Consent and Data Collection Form, or our website. In the newsletter, we share insights into the wider sector, further opportunities for young people thinking about Higher Education and upcoming milestones.
  • Celebrating with Parents: We will also provide a template for students to present what they have learnt and experienced on the programme, perhaps in a school or year group assembly, to which schools can choose to invite parents and recreate the certification ceremony.

How is the programme launched?

The Scholars Programme begins with two launch events; an Online Launch hosted by The Brilliant Club, and a Tutor Launch, delivered in-school by tutors.

The Online Launch is an exciting opportunity for students to be introduced to The Scholars Programme, hear an inspirational keynote and learn about student life at a competitive university in an Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) session co-hosted by Student Ambassadors. The Online Launches will be key stage specific and run during school hours.

The Tutor Launch is the first time that students will meet their PhD tutor. It will take place in-school and has been designed to ensure that tutor and students have time to get to know each other, understand the programme and the specific course that they will study together, and to look ahead and consider some of the differences between school style learning and university study.

Graduation Event

The Scholars Programme includes an experience at a competitive university, which we call a Graduation Event.

What is the Graduation Event?

All pupils that submit Final Assignments are invited to attend the Graduation Event. The purpose of this is to celebrate pupils’ achievements, whilst also providing them with an insight into a competitive university.

How do you plan the Events?

Your Programme Officer will send you an Event Information Pack in advance of the Graduation Event, with arrival arrangement details and a risk assessment. The Brilliant Club will coordinate the day and deliver sessions to students. We ask schools to organise the transport to and from the universities. We try, where possible, to provide trips based on travel times between your school and the university. In more rural areas, travel time can be significantly higher.

The expectation is that students are accompanied by at least one teacher, with the appropriate ratio of pupils to teachers to be determined by the school. Please note: we recommend that the Lead Teacher attends the event where possible.

Who pays for the Graduation Event?

The Graduation Event is included in the standard programme cost. Schools are responsible for booking and paying for their own transport for the Graduation Event.

Can parents and carers attend the Graduation Event?

Parents and carers are unfortunately not able to attend these events. However, we will be running a series of online ‘Next Steps’ events for parents and carers where they will hear directly from our university partners about what they can do to support their child to take the next steps towards university. To find out more about these events, please ask your Programme Officer.

Can we choose which university we visit?

We are not able to fulfil requests to visit specific universities and do not work exclusively with any particular group of universities. We partner with a wide range of universities across the country and all events take place at a competitive university. Events at all of our partner universities offer a high-quality, inspiring experience including information, advice and guidance, and a chance to meet and talk to current students, with the aim of encouraging pupils to make informed decisions when considering which universities might be a good fit for them in the future.

PhD Tutors

Who are your PhD tutors?

Our community of more than 1,000 PhD tutors opens up the world of academic research to young people, giving them the opportunity to study university-level work and explore inspiring, cutting-edge research in an accessible manner.

Our tutors have either completed or are currently studying for a PhD at a higher education institution. Pupils work closely with these PhD researchers on topics that very few people will have had the chance to learn about. “Lying with Statistics versus Capturing the Truth” or “Hip Hop as Political Resistance” are just two recent courses that pupils have taken part in, thanks to the passion and interests of our tutors.

Our tutors complete detailed pedagogical training, which is specific to the age group they will be working with. They also receive training on safeguarding and data protection. You can read more about our tutor training here.

We conduct full pre-employment safeguarding checks on all tutors. They are required to have an enhanced disclosure DBS check before they are placed into schools, as well as suitable references.

Which universities do your PhD tutors come from?

Tutors come from universities across the UK, but particularly from those with which we have formal partnerships.

How are PhD tutors recruited?

Our recruitment process consists of two stages:

  1. Application Form:

At this stage, we collect a full employment history as part of our safer recruitment checks.

We assess candidates’ commitment to our mission, understanding of the fair access agenda, and their understanding of what constitutes excellent teaching.

    2. Assessment Centre:

Successful applicants are invited to an assessment centre. We conduct an ID check at this stage as part of our safer recruitment checks.

Candidates have to plan and teach an 8-minute mini lesson, using their own research, and complete a short interview. They are then assessed against our key competencies for tutors, which focus on the skills and values we believe are essential for effective tutorial delivery.

The application process to become a tutor with us is competitive; we typically accept 50% of applicants.

Are PhD tutors paid?

Yes, our tutors are paid per placement. As such, we expect them to act as professionals at all times, both in terms of adhering to appropriate codes of conduct (those of schools and The Brilliant Club) and maintaining a sense of professional pride in the work that they do.

The Charity

Is The Brilliant Club a registered charity?

The Brilliant Club is a registered charity in England and Wales (charity number 1147771) and Scotland (SC048774).

How is The Brilliant Club funded?

The Brilliant Club is a non-profit organisation and has a range of funding streams. Schools and universities both contribute to the cost of delivering a programme, which is further subsidised by contributions from grant-making organisations.

Does The Brilliant Club have public liability insurance?

Yes. The Brilliant Club has public liability insurance (to the value of £10,000,000) for Brilliant Club employees and PhD tutors.

Does The Brilliant Club have a child safeguarding policy?

Yes. The Brilliant Club has child safeguarding and data protection policies.

Does The Brilliant Club have a GDPR statement and Data Protection Policy?

Yes. The Brilliant Club has a GDPR statement and data protection policy and has processes in place to comply with GDPR rules.

Throughout June we are celebrating teachers across the UK! Anyone enquiring about The Scholars Programme this month (1st-30th June) will be entered into a prize draw to win one of four £50 Amazon vouchers (terms and conditions apply)!

The Brilliant Club - School Enquiry

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