The Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, and South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen, visited Year 13 students who have been involved with the Villiers Park Educational Trust for the last four years to find out how the Scholars Programme is impacting their lives.
The visit on Wednesday 4 February took place during the Swindon Scholars’ final residential course in Cambridgeshire as they come to the end of what has been comprehensive programme of support that began in Year 10.
During the visit the Scholars were given the opportunity to speak informally with Nicky Morgan and Heidi Allen. One Scholar has said: “Nicky Morgan was interested to know how the Scholars Programme has helped me. We spoke about what I’ve got out of the programme, how it’s helped me with the process of applying to university and what the wider effect of the programme is on my school”.
The students from Lydiard Park Academy, New College, St Joseph’s Catholic College, The Commonweal School and Cirencester College left a lasting impression on the Education Secretary who tweeted: “Thank you for hosting – very inspirational & lovely to meet all the students”.
Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambridgeshire, reaffirmed her support for Villiers Park and the Swindon Scholars Programme with a tweet: “I am so proud of the work you do, delighted to show you off!!”
Nicky Morgan’s visit was an opportunity to demonstrate the success of the Scholars Programme and the ways in which it is improving social mobility in Swindon and other areas.
The programme, which is currently in its sixth year in Swindon and working in partnership with six local schools, helps high-ability students from less advantaged backgrounds to overcome the obstacles preventing them from fulfilling their potential. Alongside residential courses the programme delivers mentoring sessions, workshops and masterclasses which, combined, create a comprehensive programme to raise the aspirations and attainment of the Scholars and help them to gain places at leading universities or other centres of excellence.
• Villiers Park Educational Trust is a registered charity with over 45 years of experience – inspiring young people to fulfil their potential by helping them develop a passion for learning and raising their aspirations. The charity is committed to fair access – enabling students from less advantaged backgrounds to gain places at leading universities and to thrive once there.