Former pupils of one of the country’s leading independent schools are dipping into their pockets so less affluent Midlands children can benefit from the same prized education.
Half a dozen people who themselves benefited from a free schooling at the fee-paying King Edward’s School in Edgbaston, Birmingham, are now putting something back in the form of scholarships.
One old boy, has invested several millions of pounds into the future of seven pupils currently being funded at the secondary school. And another old Edwardian, now based in America, is funding two boys at King Edward’s School where annual fees cost around £9,000.
The scholarships are a welcome addition to the school’s Assisted Places scheme, which was funded last year by a £1million donation from the King Edward’s Foundation.
Nearly a hundred pupils currently receive financial assistance with their fees, ranging from 100 per cent if their family’s income is below £19,000 a year right up to £70,000 plus.
Chief Master John Claughton said: “This has always been a school of national excellence – one of the top five or six in the country both for A-level and GCSE – but we are also trying to pursue this accessibility so anyone with a bright child can still send them here. There is no doubt that the economic situation will impact on people’s ability to pay fees, but assisted places remains our number one priority and we are doing all we can to lessen that impact.”
Twenty King Edward’s pupils have just been offered places at Oxford or Cambridge University, with 14 of them having received some help with their fees either through a scholarship or the Assisted Places scheme. They include head boy Ismail Akram, who will be reading engineering at Cambridge. Four of the Oxbridge offers went to boys on free places.
Mr Claughton added: “More than ten per cent of our boys are here for free and another 30 per cent get some kind of financial support.
“We have half a dozen old boys who were all here for free under the government’s direct grant scheme, one of whom is funding seven boys here at the moment.
“They are giving these pupils the sort of chance that they enjoyed. Our priority is to keep that accessibility going.”