St Swithun’s School to provide two places a year for girls in care or on the brink of care

10 May 2020

St Swithun’s School in Winchester is aiming to provide two full bursaries every year to girls through its recently re-launched Bramston Bursary Foundation. Working with its partner charities and the local authority, St Swithun’s will identify girls who are living in care or at home on the brink of going into care, but who would thrive emotionally and academically in the stability of the boarding school environment at St Swithun’s.

The Bramston Bursary Foundation has an annual fund-raising target of £250,000, which, fund-matched by the school itself, will provide bursaries for two girls joining at 11+, covering the costs of school fees plus 10% for the additional cost of school uniform, trips, social outings and transportation.

Headmistress Jane Gandee said ‘The Bramston Bursary Foundation was established in the name of Anna Bramston who founded St Swithun’s in 1884 with the vision to provide talented and hard-working girls, irrespective of background, with the opportunity to reach their full potential through education. We have relaunched the Foundation to focus on raising funds only for full life-changing transformational bursaries which will allow girls who would not otherwise be able to afford any part of the school fees the opportunity to benefit from a St Swithun’s education.’

To identify girls who would flourish at St Swithun’s, the school is working with the Royal National SpringBoard Foundation, the UK’s largest boarding school bursary charity, and Buttle UK whose mission is the maintenance, education and advancement in life of children and young people in poverty or difficult family circumstances. St Swithun’s is part of the Boarding School Partnerships, a government-backed service providing expertise and information about boarding school placements for vulnerable young people. It is also working directly with Hampshire County Council’s social care teams.

There are around 95,000 children in the UK who are looked after away from home; 3% up on last year. 1,100 are in Hampshire. According to figures from the department of education, 18% of children in care achieve a minimum of five GCSEs at grades A* to C, compared with 60% of children not in care. In addition to the potential to save biological family, fostering or adoptive relationships that are under pressure, a boarding school place has a demonstrable impact on educational outcomes. 100% of the children in care who have gained a boarding school place through the Royal National SpringBoard Foundation have gone on to study at university.

‘Through the work of the Bramston Bursary Foundation, St Swithun’s aims to provide stability to children who might otherwise move schools a number of times during their educational career through changes in foster arrangements. We are doing what we can to break the cycle of underachievement and improve the life prospects of our Bramston Bursary Foundation students,’ said Jane Gandee.

The Bramston Bursary Foundation was re-launched at two events attended by members of the St Swithun’s school community, which includes current and former parents, alumni, governors and friends of the school. In September, Jane Gandee will run the 33-mile long St Swithun’s Way from Farnham to Winchester and will be joined by members of the community, current students and local businesses running or walking all or part of the route to raise funds for the Bramston Bursary Foundation.