Villiers Park supports gifted young people aged 14-19, their schools and colleges.
Student activities include:
- Five-day residential courses for gifted post-16 students (Years 12 and 13) costing £200 per student. These are subject-based and typically tutored by university lecturers or postgraduates. In 2009/10 625 students attended 26 courses, 56% first generation applicants to HE or in receipt of Education Maintenance Allowance. Courses are targeted at those with the potential to gain an A grade at A level. Some places are for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- One-day non-residential masterclasses for gifted 14-19 year-olds covering topics linked to an A level syllabus costing £35 per student.
- Online extension activities in 20 A-level subjects. Each half term open-ended questions are published at the start of the period and suggested responses at the end.
- Student Voice events, to allow young people to provide feedback to help schools, colleges (and Villiers Park itself) to improve their practice.
- Scholars Programme, a 4-year support programme helping disadvantaged gifted young people to meet entry requirements to selective universities. Participants follow a personal progression plan including a series of outreach activities and each has a learning mentor. Villiers Park works with the student’s school or college to improve the standard of classroom teaching and learning. The programme is being piloted with 10 schools in Hastings/Bexhill and Swindon. 120 students began in 2009/10 (60 Year 10 and 60 Year 12); a further 120 started in 2010/11. Costs attributable to the programme in 2009/10 are given as £241,000, implying a unit cost of around £2,000 per student per year. The programme is being evaluated by the University of Sussex.
Support for schools and colleges includes:
- An advisory service to help evaluate current practice for gifted students and pan improvements. In 2009/10 35 institutions took up this service including those piloting the Scholars Programme.
- Publications including a Handbook ‘Developing Very Able Students at Post-16’ and
- A contract to work with 30 schools and colleges in Hertfordshire