The government has announced that it is to offer backing to a longstanding scheme helping looked-after children to take up places at independent schools.
Around £200,000 is being given to the Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation, enabling its programme helping children in care to expand beyond boarding schools.
“Recognising that boarding will not be the right option for many care-experienced children/young people, we are expanding this programme to also explore opportunities at independent day schools for those children for whom this is more appropriate,” said Royal SpringBoard.
The money will be used to encourage more schools to join the scheme and reach out to young people. Over 100 schools across the UK currently participate in the programme, with 828 children placed since it began in 2013.
One of those involved since the early days is Bede’s, an independent day and boarding school in East Sussex (pictured above).
“I am really proud that we have been able to fund 15 looked-after children to attend Bede’s on fully funded bursaries, and to invite other care-experienced children to benefit from our co-curricular programmes,” said Bede’s’ headmaster, Peter Goodyer, in a recent blog.
Such work would not have been possible without the Royal SpringBoard, he added.
Goodyer continued: “It is hugely significant that the Department for Education are recognising, in this contract, the important role that the sector can play in the educational landscape for looked-after children.
“It has been incredible to watch those care-experienced children who attend Bede’s as boarders or on our outreach programmes embracing the opportunities we have on offer. It is palpable how our bursary pupils respond to the environment of high expectations, the strong ethos of personal and social development, and the pastoral support systems that provide role models and attachments that help to build pupils’ self-esteem and trust.
“At its heart, our holistic education, broad academic curriculum and unstinting focus on pastoral care are attributes that I know are available in many schools across the independent sector and can, quite literally, help to transform lives.
“I am confident that together we can make a genuine change to the individual lives of these young people, and I strongly believe that we are able to make our schools the greenhouses in which they receive the care and encouragement that will enable them to flourish.”