The Group’s national Scholars Club gets underway following pilot run
Last week, students across United Learning begun a year-long programme of fascinating talks from experts in fields such as law, neuroscience and public policy.
The lecture series is part of Scholars’ Club, a national initiative run by the Group, which is already open to over 16 schools and students in all year groups. The Club serves to raise aspirations and grow cultural capital in students interested in higher education.
Last year, United Learning piloted the initiative with nine of its schools; this culminated in a residential at the University of Birmingham with a small selection of participants in July. Feedback from the pilot cohort was overwhelmingly positive, with 100% of the students agreeing that university ‘is for them’ – up from 59% before they started the scheme. Furthermore, the vast majority of participants reported now being confident that they have what it takes to go to a Russell Group university and have the right knowledge to choose the best pathway for themselves.
This week saw the first Scholars’ Club talk of the year given at The Hurlingham Academy in London by Rebecca Brewer, a psychology lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. Rebecca spoke to students from the school as well as connecting live to over 210 students across the country via Skype.
The talk, which was entitled ‘Do people with autism understand emotions?’, built on Rebecca’s research into social and emotional abilities across a range of clinical and typical populations. In particular, Rebecca has specialised in work on the recognition of emotion and identity from faces and is interested in conditions like alexithymia, where people have difficulty identifying and describing their own emotions.
The lecture series continues next week with a novel writing seminar hosted at Walthamstow Academy by author Harriet Paige. Harriet’s 2017 novel ‘Man with a seagull on his head’ was shortlisted by Guardian readers for the publication’s own literary award.
The talks are all being recorded and stored on the Group’s online Hub so that other schools are able to access the materials.
Martina Montecchiarini, who leads on United Learning’s university access work, said:
“It was lovely to see so many students take part in the first Scholars’ Club talk last week. We are very grateful to be working with experts, such as Dr Brewer, on this project and we are very excited for our students to learn more from the amazing speakers we have lined up this year.”
Peter Lam, the Scholars’ Club coordinator, added:
“We are thrilled to be launching Scholars’ Club, which is now open to all United Learning schools after a very successful pilot last year. We hope that the talks continue to motivate and inspire our learners, opening their eyes to the potential of Higher Education.”
United Learning has been working in partnership with King’s College, London and the University of Birmingham to secure speakers. The latter will also host a residential for a select number of participating students this summer, who will have the opportunity to experience first-hand what university life is like.
If anyone is interested in giving a talk – or knows someone who might be – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.