Neale-Wade Academy is celebrating the success of ten Year 9 students completing the national university access Scholars Programme, run by award-winning charity, The Brilliant Club.

The Brilliant Club is a charity that recruits, trains and places doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in non-selective state schools to deliver university-style courses and tutorials based on their own area of expertise.

The Scholars Programme supports students from ages eight to 18, with the aim of increasing the number of state school students progressing to a Russell Group university. The programme encourages students to develop the skills, knowledge, and ambition to secure a place at a highly selective university and provides them with the confidence to excel in the next phase of their education.

During the programme, students at Neale-Wade Academy were encouraged to think and work independently across seven tutorials delivered by Jake Cross, a subject expert PhD researcher. Following the programme’s launch event and tutorials, students wrote a mini version of a dissertation on the topic of ‘Lysosomes and autophagy: Why do our cells digest themselves?’.

After submitting the written essay, the students’ work was marked and they were awarded a university-style grade, with an impressive 50% of students achieving a first overall.

The Scholar Programme graduates from Neale-Wade Academy, which is part of The Active Learning Trust, thoroughly enjoyed the experience and access to wider opportunities that the programme has provided them with.

Ellie in Year 9, said: “I think it was an amazing opportunity that showcased the school and the ability of students. I was proud to be a part of it and feel like I can achieve more than I thought.”

This is the first time Neale Wade Academy has partnered with The Scholars Programme and are planning to increase their cohort size next year.

Graham Horn, Principal at Neale Wade Academy, said: “Having worked with The Brilliant Club for the first time this year, I cannot think of a better way for our students to get a real university-style learning experience to help grow their confidence when moving onto the next stage of their education.

“All our students who have graduated from The Scholars Programme have benefitted hugely from the experience and it has certainly helped them stand out in their university applications.”

The final part of the programme concluded with students receiving a certificate upon completion and attending a graduation ceremony at the University of Cambridge. After the ceremony, students had the opportunity to visit the Babraham Institute which undertakes world-leading research into understanding how the human body works. Students also observed some of the research taking place in the laboratories and participated in a cell escape room.

Susie Whigham, Interim CEO at The Brilliant Club, congratulated the pupils on their achievements. She said: “Congratulations to these outstanding students as they graduate from The Scholars Programme. They join a community of over 90,000 young people who have taken part in The Brilliant Club since 2011. Completing their final assignments was no doubt challenging, but it has shown that these students have a passion for learning and the knowledge to produce university-style work already. I hope they use these new skills throughout their education and continue their fantastic work.”