Your news: Award night for town’s Scholars Programme

Aron Lethbridge and Khalayi Wangamati (Mike Baker Scholars of the Year) receive their awards from Chrissy Baker
Aron Lethbridge and Khalayi Wangamati (Mike Baker Scholars of the Year) receive their awards from Chrissy Baker

Students from Ifield Community College, Oriel High School, St Wilfrid’s Catholic School, The Holy Trinity CE Secondary School, and Thomas Bennett Community College celebrated a year of personal and academic success on the Villiers Park Educational Trust Scholars Programme.

The night saw a host of support from the Scholars’ schools, friends and families, as well as from the programme’s partner The University of Sussex and a number of other supporters.

The Scholars Programme is a comprehensive four-year programme designed to empower bright students from less advantaged backgrounds to overcome the obstacles to success, develop the personal and academic skills to fulfil their potential, access leading universities or other centres of excellence, to thrive once there and to become tomorrow’s leaders.

A recent report from the Higher Education Policy Institute shows how important it is to prepare young people for university life and study, it highlighted their unreal expectations about the amount of time spent in lectures, that they lacked the confidence to deal with finances and that they were unprepared for living with other people.

Since launching in Crawley last year, working in partnership with The University of Sussex, the Scholars Programme has worked with over 100 students in the participating schools and colleges, striving to continue this trend of success.

The End of Year Celebration marked the awarding of the Gold Standard Awards and the prestigious Mike Baker Scholar of the Year Awards. An impressive total of 36 Scholars in Year 10 and Year 12 achieved the Gold Standard Award, whilst the Mike Baker Awards went to Khalayi Wangamati of Ifield Community College and Aron Lethbridge of Holy Trinity CE Secondary School.

The winners were surprised and delighted to have won, Khalayi said: “To win this award means so much. I think that it shows that the hard work I put in has paid off and that I have support from my mentors.

“I’m very grateful to win this award. I feel privileged as there were so many other people that worked hard and deserved this award. The Villiers Park programme has definitely helped me in so many aspects.

“It’s helped me gain so many opportunities that I wouldn’t gain from school. They’ve given me so much support in the academic aspect as well as personally and socially.”

Khalayi’s school, Ifield Community College, are grateful for the impact the programme is having on their students and proud of Khalayi’s achievements.

David Curran, Options and Pathways Coordinator, said: “Villiers Park has been invaluable to our Scholars on this programme here at Ifield Community College.

“We are extremely proud of Khalayi and her award. Khalayi continues to achieve academically and along with her ever improving self-confidence and social skills, we are sure she will achieve whatever goals she sets her mind to. Many thanks to all those at Villiers Park and the University of Sussex for making this all possible.

“We are already looking forward to following the continued progress of all of those already on the programme and our new Villiers Park Scholars who will be starting in September.”

Zoe Dawson, Programme Manager, University of Sussex, said: “Our first year as the Crawley Scholars Programme has been an amazing year for us and the Scholars. We have seen our Year 10 and Year 12 Scholars take on new challenges, develop key skills and believe in their amazing abilities. Myself, Dan and Maddie are extremely excited for the programme to restart in September and we look forward to continuing helping young people to fulfil their potential.”

If you would like to support the work of Villiers Park as they continue working to improve social mobility and help next year’s group of Scholars also go on to success, please visit their website at, or contact them by telephone on 01223 872601, or email


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