Page 6 - Independent Schools Magazine
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 Financial support to enable pupils from a wide range of backgrounds to attend independent schools comes from a variety of initiatives. In this ISM special feature - some examples from around the country...
£3,000 that changed a life
 In today’s world, £3,000 is rarely thought of as
a life-changing sum of money, but grants of this
amount or a similar size from the School Fees Charitable Trust can do exactly that. Changing schools at any time can be incredibly hard for children. Changing schools just before important exams, that have a huge bearing on the future, can be especially disruptive.
The School Fees Charitable Trust helps parents who are unable to pay their fees, due to a sudden and unforeseen change in circumstance that has occurred in
the last year. Grants are awarded by a board of trustees and made to cover the final year of GCSEs, A Levels or equivalent exams, such as the International Baccalaureate. Since it was founded in 1991,
the Trust has helped over 1,000 children and paid out more than £2 million in grants.
The prospect of changing schools in his final year of A Levels was one that faced Simon Caunt,
a talented student and keen sportsman at Wellingborough School in Northamptonshire. Simon’s parents’ business fell into difficulties very suddenly and they were unable to find the funds to cover his school fees.
Fortunately for Simon, his headmaster was aware of the School Fees Charitable Trust,
an organisation funded by SFS Group and their School Fees Insurance product, and passed
on the details to Simon’s parents. They were awarded a £3,000 grant by the Trust and Simon was able to complete his education at Wellingborough.
Simon said “It would have been a massive, life changing blow to leave my friends, teachers and sports teams behind. My world would have shrunk, and I could have lost my whole support network.”
A-level studies; it’s more likely that I would have changed school, but that would, of course, have meant moving away from friends at a time where stability and consistency are paramount.
Q3) This was all 10 years ago. What has happened to the other family members since those difficult days?
Fortunately, my parents’ business was turned around over the next couple of years, so they are now back on a solid footing. I will
Simon, now 29, met his closest friends at school, he also met
his girlfriend there too. He has enjoyed a successful career and is currently a senior manager at a large company in Sussex. He feels so strongly about the difference the School Fees Charitable Trust made to his life that he has just donated £3,000 to it, the same amount that he received back in 2006.
“I’m convinced I wouldn’t be enjoying the life I am today without the Trust’s intervention. I want someone else to be given the same amazing lifeline that I received.”
remain grateful for the support we received at that difficult time.
Q4) What have you done since leaving Wellingborough? What contribution to your subsequent life has completing your independent-school education made?
I read Economics at Nottingham University; graduated with a first class degree in 2010. From there
I have enjoyed a successful career and I now contribute to running a business in the insurance sector.
 Simon answers ISM’s questions:
Q1) When your parents’ business fell into difficulties very suddenly it must have been a real blow to them to realise they could not afford the fees for your final years at school. What do you remember of the family pressures at that time? Were any siblings similarly affected?
It’s difficult... parents tend to shield their children from the realities
in an effort to protect them. It
was probably only later on that
I became aware how serious the possibility of me leaving my school
and friends and everything that school had to offer really was. I remember that being a very scary thought... in hindsight I’m grateful of how little I actually knew!
Q2) If the School Fees Charitable Trust had not stepped in to fund your last year of A-levels what options for completing your schooling would have
been available to you, or would you have just given up A-level studies?
It’s unlikely I would have given up
Free places to study the IB Diploma
To mark the global 50th anniversary of the International Baccalaureate Diploma, St Edward’s School, Oxfordshire, has announced in conjunction with The Oxford Times, that it is offering two free places
on the IB programme to children at local state schools.
The free places are open to current Year 10 pupils who live close enough to St Edward’s to be a day pupil. The successful candidates will begin their studies in September 2019.
Established in 1968, the IB Organisation’s mission is ‘to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better, more peaceful world.’ To complete their IB, pupils must: study six subjects; consider the theory of knowledge; write a 4,000-word extended essay; and take part in creative, active and service/volunteering pursuits. ‘The IB represents an entire philosophy
of learning - not just a collection of individual subjects,’ said Stephen Jones, Warden of St Edward’s.
Recognising that there are very few opportunities for children at state schools in the local area to study the IB, Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said, ‘This is
a wonderful opportunity for two pupils to gain access to the benefits of the IB Diploma. I am thrilled that a school in our local Oxford community, where the IB was born
50 years ago, are giving this chance away for free.’
Dr Deborah Outhwaite, an experienced Teacher Educator at the University of Warwick whose research and publications specialise in the IB, said, ‘The IB is rarely available in the state sector, so these funded places at St Edward’s are
a fantastic opportunity for current Year 10 pupils in local state schools who are keen to broaden their horizons and keep all options open.’
 6 Independent Schools Magazine
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