Local MP Jonathan Edwards visited Year 9 and 10 pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn this week to hear about their progress as part of The Scholars Programme – a prestigious national scheme which gives school pupils an opportunity to experience university – style learning.

The programme recruits, trains and places PhD researchers in non-selective state schools to deliver university-style tutorials based on their own research to small groups of pupils.  The pupils Jonathan Edwards met with today are studying a course entitled The Rise of Precision Medicine with their tutor Alice Luther from Swansea University.

As part of the programme, the pupils will also visit two highly-selective universities, where they receive information, advice and guidance about university life and making a successful university application.

The Scholars Programme is run by The Brilliant Club, an award-winning charity whose aim is increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities.  An independent evaluation by the Universities and Colleges Application Services (UCAS) showed that nearly sixty percent of pupils who complete the programme go on to attend a highly-selective university.  For pupils on the programme who were eligible for free school meals, 54% progressed to a

highly-selective university, compared to a national rate of 12% (see more detail in note 2, below)

Jonathan Edwards said:  “It was great to visit Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn today, and meet pupils taking part in The Scholars Programme.  I was very impressed at how they engaged with such a complex and challenging academic topic.  It just goes to show what young people from Carmarthenshire can achieve if we give them the opportunity.  I wish the pupils the very best for the future, and I encourage more schools to give their pupils the chance to benefit from this programme”.

Headteacher, Hugh Thomas said:  “I was delighted to meet with Jonathan Edwards and show them the work pupils are doing in The Scholars Programme.  I’m proud of the achievements of our pupils who are participating and am excited to see how their participation inspires their study and university choices.”

Dr Chris Wilson, CEO of The Brilliant Club said:  “In Britain today, there’s an entrenched link between a young person’s background and their chance of education success.  The Scholars Programme helps pupils develop the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfil their potential and secure places at highly-selective universities.  We’re really grateful to Jonathan Edwards for taking time to come and see the great work that our PhD tutors and partner schools are doing, and the amazing things pupils are achieving.”