Social Mobility Takes Precedence At Kingston Grammar School


Kingston Grammar School has today unveiled further plans to keep social mobility at the top of the independent education agenda by announcing that it has raised bursary funds of over £3.5 million in the last 12 months, taking its endowed funds to over £4 million with the aim of reaching the £5 million mark before 2020.

The KGS Bursary Fund Campaign will generate a vital source of annual income to provide financial assistance to those who most need and can benefit from it. In the last five years alone, the School has awarded over £2 million in bursaries to 164 students, averaging 33 children each year.

With the number of bursary applications increasing year on year, KGS aims to raise further funds so that even more children can receive an education that will shape their future lives and enable them to achieve their full potential.

Head Master Stephen Lehec says: “Part of the School’s founding ideals is to support those with the greatest potential to make a positive difference in the world but who need our support to achieve this. We are deeply committed to making childhood aspirations a reality. As a leading HMC co-educational independent day school, we are doing our utmost to facilitate genuine social mobility where it’s needed most by reaching out to our local communities. We are committed to not only fulfilling but exceeding our role to promote this. Our bursary programme plays an important role but, of course, is not unique. We have also developed a new partnership with Kingston Academy, a local state school, where our teaching staff are working alongside the Academy’s team and this year will also see the introduction of our own, fully accredited teacher training courses at Kingston Grammar School, which have been trialled as part of the HMC teacher training programme over the last three years.

He adds: “An education at Kingston Grammar School is a truly life-changing experience. We give our young people the valuable skills and knowledge they need to prepare for a successful adult life and embark on their journey to achieving great things in the future including the will and ability to give back to others and make our world a better place in the future. This is one of the reasons that our alumni have been so supportive of this current campaign – they are giving back to help others achieve. They understand that our motto of Work Well and Be Happy is something that can be imparted, shared and realised beyond their time at the School.

We are committed to ensuring that as many highly able children as possible receive the chance of an outstanding education, regardless of their family’s financial situation. Our aim is to identify and admit those students who show the greatest potential to benefit from not only the excellent academic education that Kingston Grammar School delivers, but also the ethos and wider opportunities offered. In 2017/18 alone, KGS, together with contributions from the KGS Foundation, is supporting 33 students totalling £486,011 for the year. The KGS Bursary Fund provides assistance to those who need it most, but we always have far more applications than we can support but we want to support more.

In raising these funds, we can also play our part, along with the rest of the independent education sector, in trying to keep fee increases to a sensible level that is more in line with, if not below, inflation, and make an education at a great independent school an affordable reality for more families. It is well known that school fees have been spiralling well above what most families can afford and this campaign is part of a wider body of work across the sector to address this issue.”

Chris Carnegy (OK 1980) works in media and broadcasting and is a Foundation Ambassador and supporter of the KGS Bursary Fund. “There aren’t many experiences that can change the course of your life in quite the way that your school days can. Kingston Grammar School gave me so many opportunities, including outside the classroom, which broadened my horizons and helped me find my way ahead. For me it seemed natural to want to help someone else have the same life chances. Part of the beauty of the KGS Bursary Fund is that you’ll only ever be able to imagine the potential it might unleash.”

KGS alumnus Derek Finlay (OK 1950) created the RD Finlay Bursary Fund as part of the KGS Endowment, with the aim of enabling numerous young men and women to enjoy the full benefits of a seven-year education at KGS, regardless of their parents’ income.

Being the recipient of KGS bursary support himself had a profound impact on Alexander McLean (OK 2003), founder of the African Prisons Project: “The fruit of planting a seed which allows a child to gain a good education will be borne in your lifetime and for generations to come. This gift will never leave the recipient and will affect untold others through them.”