King Edward’s School, Birmingham has celebrated the completion of a £10m fundraising campaign with a special event hosted by Lee Child, a former pupil, one of the world’s bestselling authors and the creator of Jack Reacher.
The event, which took place at the school on 11 June, celebrated the completion of the school’s Assisted Places 100 (AP100) Campaign, for which Lee Child is one of 12 alumni Ambassadors. The AP100 Campaign has raised over £10m in the last six years and will fund 100 Assisted Places in the school, doubling the number of Assisted Places available and making King Edward’s one of the most accessible independent schools in the country.
John Claughton, Chief Master of King Edward’s School, 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.
“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. There are over 1,500 donors and over 30 alumni are funding individual boys through the school, a remarkable commitment.
“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.”
From 1944 until 1980 the Government funded places at the school through the Direct Grant System, and around 80% of pupils paid no fees at all. Since the end of the Direct Grant System and the subsequent Government Assisted Places Scheme which ended in 1997, the King Edward VI Foundation has provided substantial funds for Assisted Places and now contributes over £1.25m per year for that purpose. The funds from the AP100 Campaign, combined with funds from the Foundation, ensure that there are over 100 boys in the school for free and a further 100 who pay substantially reduced fees.
Lee Child, bestselling author and AP100 Campaign Ambassador, 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.
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.