Inspire2INVOLVE is a pair of initiatives delivered in partnership between Villiers Park Educational Trust and two Cambridge Colleges.

Working with Downing College, we are engaged with schools and students across the city of Plymouth

South Essex
In partnership with Emmanuel College, we are working with schools and students in areas such as Thurrock and Basildon

We work closely with schools to raise aspirations and encourage academic success within A-level students. The initiatives are targeted at high-ability Year 12 students that live in the geographical areas, and fit eligibility criteria such as being on free school meals, coming from a low income background or being the first in their family to attend university.

The initiatives are funded by our College partners, so there are no costs to schools that work with us, or students who participate.

What happens on the Inspire2INVOLVE Programme?

The Programme features two main elements:

  • Inspire – attendance at a week-long subject specific Inspiring Excellence course at Villiers Park’s centre in Foxton, near Cambridge.
    Students are introduced to the latest ideas and research on their chosen topic on these courses delivered by inspirational tutors and in a ‘university’ style. Teamwork, research, presentations and creativity are important features of all courses, helping students to develop these key skills, used both in study and sought by employers. View the Inspiring Excellence courses.
  • INVOLVE – Students imagine, develop and deliver a student-led educational project that benefits their school community, such as a club or special assembly.
    Students both enrich their learning environment and develop skills such as leadership, confidence and project management.

Don’t just take our word for it…

Aggie Zmudzinska, 17, from Plymouth, is a pupil at Marine Academy and took part in the programme last year. She attended a week-long neuroscience Inspiring Excellence residential course at Villiers Park in early 2018, studying topics such as schizophrenia and artificial intelligence and taking a tour of the Medical Research Council labs in Cambridge. Since then, Aggie has been running a science club in her school with her friend Kyle Leppard, who is also on the Inspire2INVOLVE programme.

I caught the 5am train to start my course in Cambridge, but the long journey was totally worth it. Throughout the week, I got to make friends from all over the UK, who I still keep in contact with. Our lectures were intense but that’s what kept them interesting, especially when the subject is something you’re passionate about. By the end of the week, I didn’t want to leave.

I’ve had an amazing experience from the project. Being able to overcome challenges and adapt to each situation effectively has helped me a lot and I’ve loved everyone part of becoming a leader as well as a team member. Inspire2INVOLVE is honestly a once in a life time opportunity for pupils, it’ll help them massively as it’s something they can put down on their university application or talk about in an interview – you gain so much experience from it.

Diane Henderson is Assistant Vice Principle and Head of Sixth Form at Marine Academy in Plymouth. She said her students had benefited immeasurably from the Programme.

Young people can only benefit from this programme. It fosters independence, raises aspirations and greatly enhances self-esteem. It enables young people to glimpse the possibilities which await them and widens their horizons. It is an invaluable programme to get involved in and the Villiers Park team make it extremely easy for facilitating teachers. There is really very little to do other than signpost students, encourage them to take part and enjoy seeing them blossom!

How can our school get involved?

Please contact Matt Diston, Assistant Programme Director for further information, at