Anne-Marie Canning MBE

The Brilliant Club

Starting your job on the first day of lockdown is not ideal, but that’s the challenge Anne-Marie Canning MBE faced when she assumed the role of CEO in March 2020 at The Brilliant Club, a charity which mobilises the PhD community to support students who are less advantaged to access the most competitive universities and succeed when they get there.

The Brilliant Club has delivered its Scholars Programme since 2011. But Anne-Marie knew more could be done to support disadvantaged learners, so she launched The Brilliant Tutoring Programme in January 2021, an initiative designed to bring the benefits of tutoring to less advantaged students during the pandemic. She set out her vision for the next five years of the charity in Join the Club, published in September 2021. If you were to summarise the strategy in one word, Anne-Marie says, it would be ‘participation’. It is about building communities of pupils, parents and PhD tutors to combat educational inequality together. During Anne-Marie’s two-year tenure, The Brilliant Club has cemented its position as the UK’s largest university access movement and estimates that by 2030, 1 in 10 state school students entering competitive universities will have graduated from The Scholars Programme.