Villiers Park Educational Trust celebrates another successful year of its national Scholars Programme

Published: 22 Jul 2016

[Year 13 Swindon Scholars, credit Jon Craig Photography]

Over the last month, as Villiers Park Educational Trust comes to the end of another remarkable year of its Scholars Programme, five celebration events held across the UK have celebrated the success of talented local students participating in this national programme. Guests in attendance included Scholars, their families, school staff, dignitaries, supporters and Villiers Park Educational Trust staff.

The Scholars Programmes in Swindon and Hastings & Bexhill celebrated the end of seven years of the programme. The celebration evenings in Norfolk, East Lancashire and Tyneside were celebrating the first year running the programme in these regions with an inspiring first cohort of Scholars.

One of the highlights during the celebrations was the recognition of exemplary Scholars with the awarding of the Scholar of the Year awards and Gold Standard awards. The Scholar of the Year winners had demonstrated exceptional attainment, attitude, manners, contribution, attendance and progress during the academic year.

Russell Reid, Year 13, who won the Scholar of the Year award in Hastings & Bexhill, said, “It’s a real privilege to win the award after four great years on the Scholars Programme and I’m very grateful to Villiers Park. I can’t wait to start university now.”

Lakshya Gopal, Year 10, said on receiving the Scholar of the Year award in Swindon, “I feel really, really happy. I’m naturally shy but I feel much more confident thanks to Villiers Park.”

[Lakshya Gopal, Year 10 Swindon Scholar of the Year and Joshua Drinkwater, Year 12 Swindon Scholar of the Year, credit Jon Craig Photography]

[Lakshya Gopal, Year 10 Swindon Scholar of the Year and Joshua Drinkwater, Year 12 Swindon Scholar of the Year, credit Jon Craig Photography]

Richard Gould, Chief Executive of Villiers Park, spoke during the celebration evenings, “We are delighted that the Scholars Programme is having such a positive impact on the aspirations and attainment of young people.  These events are wonderful opportunities to showcase the progress that our Scholars have made. The success of the programme is down to the Scholars putting in the hard work and commitment required to succeed and through the collaboration of students, their families, their schools, our partners and of course Villiers Park Educational Trust.”

The Scholars Programme, part of Villiers Park Educational Trust’s commitment to improve social mobility in the UK, provides ongoing, comprehensive support for Scholars during a free four-year programme that runs from Year 10 to Year 13.  It aims to raise the attainment and aspirations of the students and empower them with the skills (both academic and personal) to enable them to gain places at leading universities or other centres of excellence and to thrive once there.

The impact of the Scholars Programme was praised by parents and school staff. A parent whose daughter is on the Tyneside Scholars Programme, said, “Her self-confidence in communicating with new people has grown.  It is an excellent opportunity for my daughter who has no doubt now that she will study to a high level at university.” While Nicky Mongan of Haslingden High School, an East Lancashire Scholars Programme school, said “Students have increased their aspirations since the start of the programme. They now all want to go to university! They have all made new friends and are very positive about the project.”


Notes to Editors:

  • Scholar of the Year Award Winners:

East Lancashire:

  • Year 10 – Daniel, Haslingden High School
  • Year 12 – Courtney-Rose, Blackburn College

Hastings & Bexhill:

  • Year 10 – Noah Palombo, ARK William Parker Academy
  • Year 11 – Hannah Routledge, St Leonards Academy
  • Year 12 – Matthew Browning, ARK Sixth Form
  • Year 13 – Russell Reid, ARK Sixth Form


  • Year 10 – Chloe Dorling, The Hewett Academy Norwich
  • Year 12 – Janie Carter, Open Academy Norwich


  • Year 10 – Lakshya Gopal, The Commonweal School
  • Year 11 – Chloe Newbury, Churchfields Academy
  • Year 12 – Joshua Drinkwater, Lydiard Park Academy
  • Year 13 – Charlotte Osborne, New College


  • Year 10 – Lauren Archer, Longbenton Community College
  • Year 12 – Tom Barton, Seaton Burn College


  • Villiers Park Educational Trust is a registered charity with over 50 years of experience – inspiring young people to fulfil their potential by helping them develop a passion for learning and raising their aspirations.  The charity is committed to fair access.


  • The Scholars Programme is a comprehensive four-year pathway to help able students from lower income backgrounds reach their full academic potential, gain access to leading universities or other centre of excellence, and thrive once there. From September 2016 there will be seven Scholars Programmes across the UK.


  • The Scholars Programmes are supported by:
  • East Lancashire Scholars Programme: The University of Lancaster and The Wolfson Foundation
  • Hastings & Bexhill Scholars Programme: The University of Cambridge
  • Norfolk Scholars Programme: The University of East Anglia
  • Tyneside STEM Scholars Programme: The Reece Foundation and Lloyd’s Register Foundation