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Information for practitioners and schools

The Urban Scholars Programme at Brunel University is a research-based intervention providing enriched learning experiences for students aged 12 to 18 from London schools. The students are selected on the basis of their academic talent or the potential to achieve highly. Many of the students come from socially deprived areas where their talents may not lead to successful examination results and high aspirations. The scholars are selected by schools from over nine local authorities in London. They attend a series of Saturday sessions at Brunel University once a month. A number of students have attended the programme since 2000.

The Urban Scholars Programme is carefully tailored and based on current theory, research and our experience in working with students from inner city areas. This multi-faceted approach to tackling submerged gifts and talents includes sessions on maths, English, science, critical thinking and drama. Sessions have an interactive problem solving approach, and guest speakers and role models from many walks of life and organisations are also a regular feature of the programme. They are essential in raising the aspiration of the scholars through testimony of real life struggles and hurdles that have to be tackled in order to achieve success and fulfil dreams.

The Urban Scholars Programme is offered based on the belief that education is at the core of an enlightened and fulfilling life. The programme is delivered on the university campus which provides an environment for promoting learning and carrying out cognitively challenging educational enquiries. Our tutors and teachers, with varied experiences, work with the students to help them to build up a range of skills in mathematics, speaking, writing, critical thinking and making presentations, as well as providing them with the motivation and aspiration to aim for high achievement.

The Urban Scholars Programme, also aims to develop student's social skills and self-esteem, and to develop their willingness to set and achieve personal goals. Our scholars respond positively to the programme, not only by demonstrating higher academic success and orientation towards university education, but also by acquiring a greater level of self-confidence, resilience and a capacity for rational thinking. Case studies of past scholars indicate that the programme has had a great impact on their lives and aspirations. Quotes from the scholars themselves also illustrate the impact the programme has had on them.

If you would like to find out more about the Brunel Urban Scholars Programme, please contact Valsa Koshy at valsa.koshy@brunel.ac.uk or Carole Portman Smith, the Programme Director at carole.smith@brunel.ac.uk.

Quotes from current Urban Scholars

"It makes you think, too. About careers in life and our choices. It changes are life choices and gives us ideas for development and other skills to make sure we can choose and be confident."

"I think it is such a great opportunity because it gives us an extra push to help us achieve our goals."

"It helps us with critical skills, group skills, literacy, numeracy and science. It's good because we meet students from other schools."

"We have really good lectures that we wouldn't get in school, like gun and knife crime. They get people who know about youth stuff to talk on a more grown-up level."

"It is very enjoyable and a lot different to school. It gives us more to think about, and challenges us with different tasks. It also gives us a chance to meet new people and to socialise. All in all, it is very beneficial and I think it will definitely help me to fulfil my potential and succeed in the future."