A new campaign has been launched aimed at doubling the number of assisted places at one of the best independent schools in the North.
Bradford Grammar School (BGS) spends an average of £900,000 annually on assisted places, supporting ten students per year. But with the launch of the 1662 Campaign, it aims to double its assisted places provision over the coming years through proactively fundraising among its former students.
The fund, which is named for the year when the school received its Royal Charter from Charles II, has already raised more than £1m which means five additional students will be starting at Bradford Grammar School this September.
And it was boosted this week when dozens of sixth form students took part in the fund’s first telethon, calling Old Bradfordians who generously pledged more than £138,000 for the campaign.
One student who has already benefited from the assisted places programme is Charlie Kelly, who is awaiting her A-level results in August and has an offer to study engineering at Cambridge University.
Charlie, who wants to be an inventor, said “a whole world of learning” opened up to her when she gained her place at BGS. The teenager grew up in Allerton, Bradford with her two older sisters and mum, Sam, having lost her dad when she was only six years old.
Said Charlie: “The place at Bradford Grammar has completely changed my life. It’s opened up a whole world of learning to me and it’s made me enthusiastic about education again. It’s not just about the quality of education, it’s who you surround yourself with. If you’re in a school that cares about learning, you will succeed.”
Bradford is the fifth most deprived area in the UK, with almost 50 per cent of all children living in poverty. With disadvantage deepening, access to a BGS education represents a transformational opportunity for the young people on its doorstep to make the most of their potential.
Dr Simon Hinchliffe, headmaster at BGS, said that with the demise of the Direct Grant system and the subsequent abolition of the government funded Assisted Places Scheme, the 1662 Campaign was more important than ever.
“Young people, such as Charlie, highlight what a fantastic impact an assisted place can have on someone’s life. They’re transformative. Our first telethon was a huge success. Our student callers did a fantastic job and we’re grateful to all our Old Bradfordians who have donated to the fund so far to ensure others can enjoy the same education they did, irrespective of background.
“BGS has always been a catalyst for talented individuals to do great things. As we look to the future we want to ensure this remains so for the next generation.”