In July 2022 NEC launched the first annual Russell Kane Scholarship Programme. 

Russell Kane, now a multi-award winning comedian, TV and radio presenter, actor, author and scriptwriter, is a former learner at NEC. Now an advocate for widening participation in education and combating the socio-economic attainment gap, Kane has been outspoken about the need to improve options for working class students.

In July, Russell Kane teamed up with NEC to create The Russell Kane Scholarship. The scholarship will provide learners the opportunity to study up to five GCSEs or three A levels, plus exam costs with The National Extension College.

‘It was the moment that changed everything. If I had not been able to do that A level then nothing else would have followed.’ – Russell Kane

We received a huge influx of applications, the decision process took many factors into account when selecting the first recipients of the award. 

We are now delighted to announce the recipients and wish them all the best in their educational journey. 

In their own words:

Chloé: I became sick in my early teens and had to leave school due to being in hospital. I am now disabled with complex needs. At the time the focus was on stabilising my health, and we never received funding for home tutoring. I don’t have a big family, it’s just my mum. She had to give up work to care for me, so we never had funds to support my education. I’m now 23 and have no GCSE’s, despite being predicted A’s/A*’s when I was in high school. I’m not well enough to attend a college/university full time, but I can study via distance learning.

Vikki: I would like to become a Maths teacher and be able to teach those who come from difficult backgrounds. I, myself, came from a difficult background as when I was younger, my parents and I were made homeless, and have always struggled with money. For various reasons, I went to 3 different primary schools and 2 secondary schools, which affected my learning. I have recently discovered a love for maths, so I did a module with the Open University in 2020 called Discovering Mathematics and got 90% and a Distinction grade. I would like to continue on with a degree in maths in the future.

Isa: I have exceptional GCSEs (achieved as a mature student). I am a third generation Yorkshireman who would be the first in the three generations to go to university (most of my family never completed school). 

I have wanted to go to Cambridge for Medicine since I could remember- lack of opportunity: social and economic circumstances have prevented this (have been a carer since the age of 12- so missed a lot of school).

In conversation: Russell Kane and Kit de Waal

In an exclusive video to launch the Scholarship Russell and award winning author Kit de Waal (My name is Leon) discuss the current state of education and what changes need to be made in order for people of all different backgrounds and circumstances to access education.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this story