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UCAS evaluation once again demonstrates impact of The Brilliant Club on progression to highly-selective universities

  • Independent research shows that pupils on “The Scholars Programme” are “significantly more likely to secure a place at a highly-selective university”.
  • Positive findings published as part of charity’s Annual Impact Report for the second year running.

The award-winning education and social mobility charity, The Brilliant Club, has released the positive findings of an independent control group evaluation by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) in its Annual Impact Report, released this week.

UCAS analysed the destination data from 685 school leavers who completed The Scholars Programme in 2015 and 2016. Of the entire group, 79% of pupils applied to a highly-selective university, 74% received an offer, and over half (55%) progressed. The progression rate was also high for pupils eligible for Free School Meals (Ever6FSM) with 54% progressing to a highly-selective university, compared to a national average of 12%.

For the second year running, to ensure that this impact was not the result of bias in school or pupil selection, UCAS compared the group of The Scholars Programme graduates with 500 control groups made up of pupils with similar characteristics (such as gender, ethnicity and prior attainment). UCAS reported that pupils who completed the programme were “significantly more likely” to apply, receive an offer from, and progress to a highly-selective university. For every 30 pupils in the control group who progressed to a highly-selective university some 54 Scholars Programme graduates progressed.

The findings are published in the charity’s Annual Impact Report, released this week, which shows that The Brilliant Club worked with over 11,000 pupils in 605 non-selective state schools around the UK last year. Included in this were 1958 pupils from rural schools. In 2016-17, The Brilliant Club worked with 90 schools in social mobility cold spots (as defined by the Social Mobility Index 2017), an increase of 45% from the previous year.

A key priority of the charity is to make its programmes available to all schools that want to take part, including those in harder to reach rural and coastal regions.

The Brilliant Club, founded in 2012 by two classroom teachers, exists to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds that progress to highly-selective universities. The charity’s innovative model mobilises the PhD community to share its academic expertise with non-selective state schools, working either as part-time tutors or full-time teachers. Pupils who take part study academically-rigorous courses on research topics as diverse as “Music, Meaning and the Monks of Majuli”, and “Are some infinities bigger than others?”.

The Brilliant Club’s CEO, Dr Chris Wilson comments:

“The Brilliant Club is working with more schools, PhD tutors and universities than ever before, which is why it’s so important for us to know our programmes are making a measurable difference to the life chances of young people.

“I am delighted that the UCAS independent evaluation has revealed such positive results for the second year in a row. Everything that The Brilliant Club does, we do in pursuit of consistent and reliable outcomes for pupils. These findings confirm the impact that The Scholars Programme has for the pupils we work with.”