Top universities are within reach of brilliant teenagers from Harlow.
Year 9 and 10 students at Burnt Mill Academy were selected to take part in the Brilliant Club by Cambridge University.
The university access charity’s mission is to increase the number of young people from under-represented backgrounds attending highly selective universities.
Having completed an assignment, which was given a university style grading, students attended a graduation at King’s College in London.
Students were told about university life and were challenged to write a speech on their Brilliant Club experience and their advice to the next cohort, while their families found out about funding options for university.
Clio Eckersley, lead practitioner in English, said: “The CEO of the Brilliant Club told students about his university experience and spoke a lot about children having access to university who would not necessarily usually have access to it. He told them it does not matter what their background is and that that should not hold them back.
“The project has taught students so many skills relevant to university; with mentoring and one-to-one tutoring, as well as university-style feedback and grading. One of our students was just two marks off securing a First which is incredible. It has exposed them to university and we have seen their confidence grow. They now have that belief that they can achieve a university education if they want to and that it’s not just for certain people.
“The graduation was amazing; it was really special. It was very formal and official and so rewarding for our students’ parents and families; you could see they were so proud watching their children up there.”
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