Surfacing bubbles of submerged talent: report on a research-based intervention for urban scholars

Professor Valsa Koshy

Catrin Pinherio-Torres

Carole Portman-Smith

Charlotte Davies

This is a report on The Urban Scholars Programme, which was a unique 4-year intervention programme for urban students aged 12-16, initiated in 2000.

The programme was launched as a pilot in 2000 by the Brunel Able Children’s Education (BACE) Centre, starting initially with a small group of students. The programme has since expanded and now is set up as a research site. In this report we present the findings of the programmes based on 100 scholars who attended the programme from 2006-2010.

The Urban Scholars Programme is offered based on the belief that education is at the core of an enlightened and fulfilling life. The scholars attend the programme, held on the university campus, one Saturday a month. The scholars, who are selected by their schools, come from 30 schools across 9 London Local Authorities (LAs).Schools were issued with selection criteria to support teachers in their search for students who have the potential for high achievement, from disadvantaged backgrounds who may not necessarily be achieving their best. Students on free school meals and from families with no history of Higher Education form a significant part of the membership of the cohort. The programme adopts a multi-faceted approach, incorporating an interactive teaching style. Specific teaching is offered in Mathematics, English, Critical Thinking and Science. Motivational speakers speak to the scholars; the scholars’ parents are also supported and undergraduate ambassadors work with the students offering role models.