The Brilliant Club or Scholars’ Programme is a charity which provides students from a variety of backgrounds a taster of what university life and studies are all about. We have been running this programme at Northgate for several years and our pupils have always found it hugely beneficial.

This year’s cohort of 14 Year 9 students were no exception; they really embraced the programme and made the most of the time we got to spend at Cambridge University for the launch and graduation trips. Mrs Kaufmann-Ward said, ‘I have been particularly impressed by how confident, engaged and respectful; all of our students were when visiting these historical Cambridge colleges.’

After our launch trip, students met weekly with their PhD tutor and worked through a personalised series of tutorials on History and Historical Re-enactments before they wrote their final assignment. This assignment was graded using university grades and I am incredibly proud of their results. All 14 students passed with either a 2:2, 2:1 and we even got a 1st from Harry W!’

Mrs Kaufmann-Ward is looking forward to taking another group of students through this programme next year and continuing to work with this year’s cohort to make sure they continue on their path of academic excellence.

Here’s what some of the participants had to say about the experience:


The Brilliant Club experience was challenging yet fulfilling. It happened from around April to July and consisted of an initial trip (to get an understanding of the Brilliant Club, and to learn about universities), and many meetings with our Brilliant Club tutor about “is all history the history of thought?” We also did a graduation trip to Cambridge which was very enjoyable and inspiring.

At the end, we wrote our 2000 word essay based around the main topic and got graded based on university terms and grade boundaries. I felt really proud when I was awarded a 2:1 for my essay. This programme was a great opportunity to get a university experience and challenge myself in a topic that I’m not as familiar with.


For the Brilliant Club we went to two universities in Cambridge. At the first university we had our introduction to the Brilliant Club Programme. Then when we returned to school we had our first tutorials. Kate, our tutor, taught us about History and the History of Thought. We did a few assignments and then a final assignment. Our final assignment had to be 2000 words and had to include evidence about Colingwood’s theories. We were then graded like real university essays and on our second trip to Cambridge University we had a graduation.


I really enjoyed being a part of the Brilliant Club as it was such an interesting experience for me. Getting a chance to be involved in a Cambridge University programme gave me a great view at the subjects and level of work that they have to offer.


It was certainly a different experience and was a fun, interesting and a challenge at times and it really made me want to go to a university in Cambridge. The opening ceremony was at Saint Catherine’s where the entire ‘project’ was explained. Finally the graduation ceremony was at Emmanuel University and was a fun opportunity to go to.