Bursaries make life better for all of us, says David Goodhew, headmaster of Latymer Upper School. It’s as simple as that.

 David Goodhew among his students 

A good education can and should change your life. That’s certainly true for me. I was born in west London where I went to my local state school. I was the first member of my family to do A-levels and go to university, graduating from Oxford with a First in Classics. From there, I went on to teach in some of the UK’s most prestigious learning institutions. All of that was possible because I had had the benefit of wonderful teachers who inspired me with a love of their subjects. 

I am a passionate advocate for education as a force for good through social mobility. I have firm views on the role independent schools can play in improving the chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. At Latymer Prep and Upper Schools, we are committed to breaking down barriers to opportunities that so many young people face. We want to ensure it is ability, not background, that determine whether a child enjoys the education we offer. 

When I joined Latymer a decade ago, one in ten of our pupils were on a bursary. In 2017, I launched the Inspiring Minds campaign with the aim of raising £40m by 2024, coinciding with Latymer Foundation’s 400th anniversary. This will enable us to offer one in four pupils a bursary – that’s 300 children – making us one of the most socially inclusive independent schools in the UK.

We want to make sure that Latymerians never miss out on opportunities for financial reasons. We aim to make applying as straightforward as possible and our Admissions team is on hand to offer support and advice throughout the process

It is an ambitious fundraising programme and the brilliant news is that, with two years to go, we’ve already raised over £39m. As we welcome our new cohort, it is exhilarating to know one in five of our pupils are here on a bursary, the majority of which are free places, and that we’re in a very good position to hit our target by 2024. This is all possible thanks to our generous community which shares our passion for social inclusion.

As a result, our bursaries reflect a personal connection, with donations of all sizes and bursaries named to honour favourite teachers, like the extraordinary Mr Robert Orme, or set up by our many alumni networks abroad, like the US Latymerian bursary. We even have fans of one of our famous alumni, late actor Alan Rickman, donating in his name. School fees are one of the biggest financial commitments a family will undertake and we know every situation is unique.

This is why we take an holistic and bespoke approach so our bursary programme is not just one of the most extensive, it is also one of the UK’s most generous. As well as covering fees, our ‘open door’ approach ensures that bursary families can access support with additional costs including uniform, sports kit, trips and activities as well as dongles for home study and travel to university interviews and events. We want to ensure that Latymerians never miss out for financial reasons. We try to make applying as straightforward as possible and our Admissions team are there to support and give advice throughout. 

David Goodhew

At Latymer, we prepare our students to make a positive impact on society and to excel in the wider world. As this year’s cohort of Latymer graduates begin the next stage of their lives, I am reminded of the life-changing impact of our bursaries. Since 2004, more than 70 per cent of our bursary holders have gone on to Russell Group universities with increasing numbers now also accepting places at international universities, including Ivy League.

One such student, who joined us as a quiet and rather shy young girl in Year 7, received offers not only from Cambridge to read Natural Sciences, but also Princeton and MIT, where she is one of only 140 international students in the world to be admitted. She, like a third of our bursary holders, will be the first in her family to go to university and it is thanks to the incredible generosity of our community that young students like her, can come to Latymer and realise their dreams. With 89 per cent of our former bursary holders telling us Latymer increased their aspirations for life after school, I cannot wait to see what they will achieve.

David Goodhew is headmaster of Latymer Upper School

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