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The Brilliant Club

Tapton wows with its amazing intellectual prowess

Tapton wows with its amazing intellectual prowess. Noor Aldbrez, Kady Harris and Farida Shehu report on this great achievement.

The start of our journey happened when we were told to go to the conference room. At the time I’m sure we were all confused, excited and a bit nervous too! But we met the lovely Miss Thorpe who delivered the great news and told us of the exclusivity of the course and that only 12 lucky Y7 and Y8 got picked to study with a world class scholar on something outside of standard Y7/Y8 curriculum. It was very exciting to us all. We were told there was going to be a school trip, where we would learn more about the courses. We couldn’t wait.

  

We set off on 28 February 2016 to The University of Sheffield. There were lots of schools that came as well and they were Y10/Y11 so our school’s ages were pretty young. Each school got split into 2 groups; group A (Yellow) and group B (Blue). It was done this way so that we could fully experience the university-style teaching when we had our tutorials. Also, we had a tutor that would teach us our course so that we could complete our Final Assignment and graduate The Brilliant Club. There were 2 courses; Science and Philosophy. Our school got philosophy it was very interesting but required deep thinking.

As well as trips we had to face the hard work. I am sure the whole group agrees with me when I say it was tough! But luckily we had our amazing tutor Tom Ruisbridge and our fantastic Miss Thorpe to guide and support us. As part of the aim of this course was to introduce us to higher level thinking and university-style learning, we had seminars/tutorials in groups of up to 6 people. We were encouraged to discuss things more widely, share opinions, agree and disagree (politely!). As we later on found out, a lot of other schools also participated in ‘The Scholars Programme’ but studied different topics to do with the humanities (Psychology, Geography and Religious Studies). Tapton School studied a famous philosophical question answered by the greatest minds, ‘Do the Ends Justify the Means?’

  

In each tutorial, we worked from a booklet given to us and read case studies which would usually link to our next assignments. At beginning we would usually share our findings from previous assignments, sometimes the assignments were writing and other times it was wider reading and independent research. For writing assignments we were given an essay topic, a word limit, booklets and a helpline in case we had any questions, to write with. As you can probably guess this proved to be an extremely challenging task!

The course taught us a lot of vital skills that will help us in life whether or not we decided to go to university. For example, we had to learn to manage our time so we could write enough and have time to edit and make it the best it could be. During the course we studied many different philosophers that had come up with different theories to help us answer the question in our essay. Slowly but surely the deadline for the essays came and we all breathed huge sigh of relief. We had done it!

 We all received our marks with words of praise to acknowledge all our hard work and effort. Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for Manchester.

It was an early start for all of us getting to school and onto the minibus. We were all buzzing wondering what it would be like and the atmosphere was great. After a while though, we couldn’t wait to get up and stretch our legs! Eventually we arrived at Manchester we couldn’t wait for our tour guides so we had our own little wander around.

When all the other schools finished arriving we were gathered in a great big lecture hall that sat up to 100 people! We were welcomed to the University of Manchester and were given a recap of the aim of the course by our Brilliant Club co-ordinator Leanne Adamson. There was a carousel of activities and we were split into two groups; 1 and 2.  As part of group 1 our first activity was a talk on how to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Limited) targets that would help us achieve more in our academics. Next we had a private tour with a student ambassador from Manchester University who showed us the different parts of the campus and gave us an insight on student life.       

Next we went to buy our lunch and were provided £5 vouchers from the school and the food portions were big. By the time we had eaten what we could we felt ready to burst! After lunch we went for a seminar were we talked about the timetable of students studying different subject and they worked hard. We then went on to look at what jobs you could go on to do after getting a degree at a university and were quite surprised at how far thing branched out. It was almost time for the all-important award ceremony.

We went back into the lecture hall hearts pumping and all neatened up waiting for our names to be called. One by one our turn crept closer until finally it was time and as we walked down to the stage we were still somewhat in shock. But as soon as we got there it was just a moment of pure joy and exhilaration; a moment worth capturing. When we all saw the glisten in Miss Thorpe’s eyes and that is when we knew we had pleased her. It was time for pictures! Finally, we got back onto the minibus still living the wonderful experience.

  

We learnt a great deal during our time with a Brilliant club and are so happy we got a chance to do it. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.