South Yorkshire Pupils Celebrate Graduating the Scholars Programme

Tuesday 26th June 2018

Students from across South Yorkshire are celebrating top grades after university style assessments!

On Wednesday 23rd May seventy-five students from twelve schools across South Yorkshire attended a graduation event at the University of Sheffield to celebrate their achievements on the Brilliant Club Scholars programme.

The packed programme, which was open to both students and their parents, included a tour of the University’s state-of-the-art Diamond building, a reflective study skills session, before culminating in a certification ceremony led by Professor of Economics and Vice-President for Education Wyn Morgan.

The Brilliant Club was co-founded by two teachers who recognised the barriers students from under-represented groups faced when trying to access higher education. The Scholars Programme places PhD and post-doctoral researchers into non-selective state school to work with pupils with the potential to progress to highly-selective universities, prioritising work with pupils from under-represented backgrounds.

Over a period of two school terms, students on the Scholars programme experience a flavour of university education and complete a final assessment relating to their PhD tutor’s specialism. PhD tutors come into school weekly to deliver tutorials and support progress. At the end of the programme the tutors mark the students’ work using a university-style honours grading system, 1st, 2:1, 2:2 and so on – which indicates how well pupils are performing at the key stage above where they’re currently at.

HeppSY+ supported and funded the twelve schools who took part in the Scholars Programme in the Spring term, which included: Yewlands Academy, De Warenne Academy, The Dearne Advanced Learning Centre, Campsmount School, Trinity Academy, Rawmarsh Community School, Outwood Academy Adwick, Hinde House School, Outwood Academy Portland, Outwood Academy Danum, Firth Park Academy and Outwood Academy Shafton.

Both Campsmount School and Trinity Academy also have HeppSY+ appointed Higher Education Engagement Assistants who supported the nineteen students from the two schools throughout the Scholars programme.

Students at Campsmount worked with a PhD student from the University of Sheffield and explored the use of Atomic Force Microscopy, or AFM, in investigating cells and bacteria. Students explored its basic principles all the way through to its use in researching the skin of bacteria. They used both the supplied material, academic papers and their own research to write a report using scientific and academic writing styles.

Discussing the programme and the success of the students at Campsmount, Mr Bentley, Assistant Principal, said: “Proud is an understatement! The ‘character’ and ambition displayed by our 11 Year 9 students throughout the entirety of the Scholars Programme has been first class, matching many of their final university graded outcomes.  With high expectations, through the level of academic challenge presented to them by their PhD tutor, the pressures they had to deal with cannot be underestimated. They have grown in stature from their involvement in this programme which will hopefully have a positive influence on their future academic pathways.

Continuing, he added: “The expert advice and academic mentoring offered to our Brilliant Club Scholars by Edward, our HeppSY+ Higher Education Engagement Assistant, helped to secure high levels of engagement and retention which surpassed our expectations! We’re delighted that 70% of our students received First-class certification for their final assignment.”