Lord Andrew Adonis today joins Brunel University's Able Children's Education (BACE) Centre Conference to celebrate the success of its Urban Scholars Programme.
At the event, Lord Adonis will unveil his vision for 'Gifted and Talented' children and talk about the government's commitment to raising the aspirations of inner city youngsters. In addition, three teenagers from Lambeth in South London will present their research on gun and knife crime in their local area, describing how the Urban Scholars programme has given them the strength to make a stand against gang culture.
The Urban Scholars Saturday school programme was launched by Brunel University in 2000 to enhance academic achievement and educational aspirations amongst socially disadvantaged teenagers. It provides supplementary teaching facilities to 12-16 year old students from the Greater London area that demonstrate unrealised potential. 200 students have completed the programme to date and a further 200 are currently participating.
Joseph, an 18 year old from St Thomas More School in Haringey who completed the programme in 2004, comments: “I felt special when I was chosen as I was only 12 and you have to be at least 18 to go to university. I felt good in a University environment. The programme focused on Maths, English and Critical Thinking. The English tutor taught me about satire - she was inspirational. English was best and Maths was challenging.“
Another student, Guli from Wandsworth, comments: “The programme has given me a kind of resilience and determination for life.“ Guli self-nominated herself to the programme as she realised that her talents were not being recognised at school. She completed the programme in 2004 and is now training to be a pilot in Australia.
Prof. Chris Jenks, Vice Chancellor of Brunel University, comments: “Through our Urban Scholars programme we are raising the aspirations and achievements of young scholars, steering them towards University education and enhanced life chances. We have risen to the challenge of how to tackle some of society's most difficult questions - how to engage socially disadvantaged children and make a real difference to their lives.“
Note to Editors
The Brunel Urban Scholars Programme set up by the Brunel Able Children's Centre (BACE), is a unique 4 year intervention programme aimed at supporting very bright young people aged 12-16 to enhance their academic achievement. Many Scholars are not achieving their full potential for various reasons. The programme aims to raise achievement and educational aspirations, encouraging an orientation towards higher education. The scholars are selected by schools from nine local authorities in London. They attend a series of Saturday sessions at Brunel University once a month and optional yearly Easter or summer schools.
The Urban Scholars programme is carefully tailored and based on current theory, research and BACE's experience in working with Gifted and Talented students from inner city areas. This multi faceted approach to identifying submerged gifts and talents includes sessions on Maths, English, Science, Critical Thinking and Drama. Sessions have an interactive problem solving approach, in addition guest Speakers from many walks of life 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.
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