Ely Bursaries Scheme
Through our contacts with Andrew Read (Director of Education for the Diocese of Ely) we are developing a bursary programme to enable some of the most disadvantaged local children to attend The Leys. We are developing a formal collaboration between The Leys and Andrew in his capacity as Chair of the "Virtual School for Looked After Children", to enable the life chances of a number of extremely vulnerable ("looked after") children in the Cambridgeshire area to be transformed through education at The Leys. It is hoped that the first recipient would arrive at The Leys in September 2019.
The life chances of 'looked after' children are recognised as amongst the lowest in society. This scheme would therefore benefit those in greatest need. The immediate beneficiaries would be the pupils themselves, but by improving life chances and removing children from the 'at risk' register, we would have a measurable impact on wider society and public funding.
This collaboration is enabled through the extremely generous benefaction of an alumnus of The Leys and will enable the school to fully fund a number of pupils over an indefinite number of years. The school has committed to matching funds raised from the wider Leysian community.
Such a scheme is backed by research recently unveiled by the Government, Norfolk County Council and UCL's Institute of Education in London. The study showed that boarding placements can be very effective in ensuring that young people who are vulnerable are supported successfully, such that they can be removed from the risk register completely when given the opportunity to board at independent and state boarding schools. English Schools Minister, Lord Agnew, comments that "this research underscores the importance of boarding school partnerships as a catalyst for change. It shows the potential reward for so many young children". Lord Agnew has praised the "life-changing" impact of boarding for vulnerable children where they could benefit from a "stable, caring and supportive environment where they better fulfil their potential".
The scheme will need to make the widest use of all the school's facilities, its teaching/non-teaching staff, and would involve full funding places for the duration of each recipient's time at The Leys.
Such a scheme has several benefits. "Access": it allows a population of pupils and parents who would not otherwise be able to afford the fees for The Leys to attend the school. This benefits the individuals, the school community, and the state in providing care for "looked after" children during term-time. "Impact": by targeting "looked after" children, such a scheme will identify candidates where the greatest positive impact can be made. These "looked after" children are those whose life chances are usually most limited. The aim is for the provision of such places to have a dramatically positive impact on the life chances of disadvantaged children through an education available at The Leys.
This is an on-going project; the aim is to build the number of pupils on the Ely Bursaries scheme over time, so that there are multiple recipients in each year group.