In one of the most successful fundraising campaigns ever run by an independent day school, King Edward’s School, Birmingham has achieved its goal of raising £10m for Assisted Places.
The Assisted Places 100 (AP100) Campaign has raised this sum in the last six years to fund Assisted Places for 100 boys. This doubles the number of Assisted Places in the school so that, in a school of 850 boys, over 100 will attend for free and another 100 will pay substantially reduced fees. With the £1.4m in funding provided by the King Edward’s Foundation, the school will spend £2.2m on Assisted Places in the next academic year.
The AP100 Campaign has depended almost entirely on the giving of alumni. Over 1,500 donors have given and the two most recent telephone campaigns have achieved over 70% giving rates, a record for independent schools in this country. In addition, over 30 alumni are funding individual boys through the school or endowing a place in perpetuity and there have also been two donors who have given over £1m each.
John Claughton, Chief Master, said: “This campaign is one of the most successful fundraising campaigns ever undertaken by an independent day school. However, it isn’t about numbers. It is about boys and their lives. Now we have achieved our goal, 100 boys from a wide range of backgrounds and communities in Birmingham and beyond will receive a life-changing education. I had such an education here forty years ago and it did that for me – and so many of my contemporaries.
“There is a great deal of talk about the need for social mobility and the role of independent schools in this country. This campaign shows that schools like King Edward’s are doing all they can to serve their ancient moral purpose and to ensure that this wonderful education is not just the preserve of those who can afford it.
“None of this would be possible without the remarkable support we have received from our alumni and other supporters. Those donors give in gratitude for the education which they received and to offer other boys the chance they had. King Edward’s School is now the most socially and ethnically diverse independent school in this country and this campaign has been the best and most important thing to happen to this school in the last fifty years.
“As I leave after a decade as Chief Master, I am immensely proud of what we have all done together and boys from this school will go on to do great things for their communities, this city and this country. This really is a wonderful achievement, but it is only a start and the drive for accessibility will remain central to King Edward’s School in the future.”
King Edward’s School was founded in 1552 and its purpose has always been to provide an outstanding education for boys from all backgrounds. From 1944 until 1979 the Government funded places at the school through the Direct Grant System, and around 80% of pupils paid no fees at all.
The school will be celebrating the completion of the campaign in early June with an event which will feature Lee Child, the creator of Jack Reacher and one of the bestselling authors in the world. Lee attended King Edward’s School from 1965 to 1973 and was, like his two brothers, the recipient of a free place. He was also awarded a Foundation scholarship. Following a law degree and 18 years at Granada Television, in 1997 he wrote the first in a series of now 21 Jack Reacher books.
On the success of King Edward’s School’s AP100 Campaign, Lee said: “As always Birmingham is buzzing with talent and energy, and right now King Edward’s is better than it has ever been in its long history, so it’s a no-brainer to bring the city and the school together in every way we can.
“I was educated there for free, and was delighted to follow the lead of 1,500 generous donors in making sure as many boys as possible have the same chance in the future – for their benefit, obviously, but also for the city, the country and hopefully the world. It’s an amazing achievement to have reached such an ambitious target, and immense credit is due to John Claughton for an inspirational decade in charge, and to all the individual donors who agreed with him that all children deserve an equal opportunity.”
Other alumni Ambassadors for the AP100 Campaign include Sir Paul Ruddock, the Rt Hon. Lord Willetts, Bill Oddie, Jonathan Coe and Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis.