All Saints pupils aiming high after Brilliant Club inspiration
Wednesday 30th May 2018 17:04 Dukinfield News Tameside Posted by Tom Greggan

Pupils at All Saints Catholic College in Dukinfield have their sights set on Oxford and Cambridge after an award-winning charity gave them a taste of university-life.

‘The Brilliant Club’ works to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities, by mobilising the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools.

The Brilliant Club’s David Jones explained: “For schools like All Saints, we hope to add value and supplement what is already going on to give university students an experience of what university life is like.”

Over the past term, several of the brightest Year 10 students at All Saints Catholic College looked at a project to do with diabetes and the impact on the nervous system- a topic which isn’t covered on any school curriculum. They were led by Sarah, a PhD researcher who is studying the topic, who led university-style tutorials before the students undertook their own independent research, leading to a 2,000-word essay.

Local MP Andrew Gwynne quizzed students on their experience of the Brilliant Club and shared stories from his university days.

The aim of the visit was to raise pupil’s aspirations and ambition. Head Teacher Linda Emmet said: “Here at All Saints, we have some really able children here who may not necessarily aspire to go to the very best universities in the country.

“However, as a school, it is our responsibility to make sure they can go to whichever university they choose to go to, whether that’s Oxford or Cambridge, and they can walk into that university, hold their heads high and really succeed in their lives. As a school, we’re about changing lives for the children of Dukinfield and the Brilliant Club has been a key thing in helping us to do that.”

Local MP Andrew Gwynne visited the school last week to meet students who had taken part in The Brilliant Club. He was full of praise for the charity and says local pupils have the talent to dream big. “The great thing about this initiative is its lifting young people’s aspirations,” he said. “There are some brilliant academic kids here and why shouldn’t they have the best chances in education going forward? Why shouldn’t they aspire to be academics of the future at the top universities of the future?

“Anything that raises those aspirations is absolutely brilliant. As the motto of the school says, ‘Be Inspired, Be Excellent and Succeed’, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.”

Further praise for All Saints pupils came from Jacqui Dennen, the Lead Teacher for Maths who led the Brilliant Club project. “At first they definitely thought it was challenging,” she said. “It was a big piece of work and something that they’d never done before. But they were really resilient and they worked so hard. They have gained a lot from it and are very proud of their final pieces.”

For more information on The Brilliant Club, you can visit www.thebrilliantclub.org.