Scholars Programme Impact

“The Scholars Programme helped me to know where to look for the right universities for me. This has enabled me to choose the right course, place to study and future career.  The five-day residential really pushed me to work hard, do my own research and explore new ideas. This enabled me to reach my full potential. The local workshops have provided me with the tools needed to get the career I wanted, such as the personal statement/interview workshop. The Learning Mentor sessions have provided me with a lot of support and helped push me to step out of my comfort zone.”

Bethany, Year 13, Hastings & Bexhill

We believe that the lack of social mobility can be overcome through education.  Our Scholars Programme is a comprehensive support system to help able students from less advantaged backgrounds reach their full academic potential and gain access to leading universities or other centres of excellence and thrive once there.  Our evidence shows that the Programme works.

Feedback and Results

Value Added Data

79% of Year 11 Scholars made more progress since primary school than expected for all students nationally†. Scholar 1 ended up with an extra 20 grades‡ – she has A* and A grades rather than Bs and Cs. Scholar 2, who qualifies for Free School Meals, ended up with an extra 12 grades‡. Compared to Pupil Premium students nationally, our Scholars made even more progress – an average of an additional seven grades each†.

† Projected from 2015 data

‡ Based on each Scholar taking 10 GCSEs or equivalent and compared to all students nationally

Value Added Data 2016 Impact

Independent evaluation of the Scholars Programme

Research conducted by the University of Sussex (October 2011) found the programme had:

  • Improved Scholars’ knowledge of higher education
  • Increased Scholars’ motivation, aspirations, self-esteem and confidence
  • Provided opportunities and experiences that would not otherwise have been experienced
  • Contributed to changes in academic and study skills that would improve attainment
  • Transferred successful everyday classroom practice to benefit the wider school

 Additional Impact

  • Scholars are giving back to the programme – becoming Ambassadors at events and volunteering as E-Mentors whilst at university
  • Scholars are being elected by their peers to positions of responsibility and leadership, for example, Head Girl or Boy
  • Schools are using the programme as evidence of their commitment to stretching their more able students during Ofsted inspections

SP - Image - 2014 - UCL Masterclass - Nick Gillingham with 2 students and medals

“I was really impressed to read the results that Villiers Park were achieving with children who were very able but often from disadvantaged backgrounds. You see how their aspirations have been raised and they are all now thinking about university and some of them about apprenticeships. I think a model like Villiers Park is clearly successful and they’re clearly working across the country so I think they’ve definitely got lessons we can learn from and likewise share that expertise.”


The Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, whilst Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Equality [Cambridge News, 10 February 2016]

“Thank you for giving my son this great opportunity and for giving him the confidence and ability to believe in himself and the fact that he can go to university.”


Please help us to expand the Scholars Programme so we can improve the lives of more students from less advantaged backgrounds from across the UK – by supporting our work