September 6th, 2017

The Brilliant Club joins SBT Design programme to plan for scale

Getting more young people from under-represented backgrounds into highly-selective universities: that’s the mission of The Brilliant Club, which has just won support from Social Business Trust (SBT).

The Brilliant Club mobilises the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools, raising aspirations and attainment. Its model is simple but powerful, delivering impressive results.

Working with more than 12,000 pupils a year, The Brilliant Club is now the largest university access organisation for secondary schools in the UK. A recent evaluation by UCAS found 58% of Brilliant Club pupils eligible for free school meals secured a place at a top university compared to a national average of 11%.

Now SBT is helping The Brilliant Club through its SBT Design Programme, in which ambitious, established social enterprises get hands-on support to jointly create a robust business plan for sustainable growth. It is backed by SBT’s world-class corporate partners: Bain & Company, British Gas, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, EY, IBM, Permira and Thomson Reuters.

Adele Blakebrough MBE, CEO of SBT said: “Access to university ought to be available to young people whatever their background. We’re delighted to be working with The Brilliant Club to shape a strategy to scale-up their reach and impact so that thousands more disadvantaged school pupils can get a top university education with all the potential life benefits that brings.”

SBT’s work with The Brilliant Club is being led by Hayley Hand, Senior Consultant at EY who is on a secondment to SBT as an Investment Manager. Further support is planned from Bain on strategy and EY and Thomson Reuters, working together on customer feedback.

Dr Chris Wilson, Co-CEO of The Brilliant Club said: “The Brilliant Club is proud to have been selected for support by Social Business Trust and we are excited about the potential for growth that the relationship represents.”

“We plan to support 6,500 pupils from under-represented backgrounds to progress to highly-selective universities by 2021. It is an ambitious goal and we welcome SBT’s expertise in achieving this aim.”

Fair access to university remains a challenge: one in three privately-educated pupils progress to a Russell Group university compared to one in 40 pupils from low-income backgrounds.