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About us

We are a social mobility charity focusing on harnessing the power of educational opportunities at some of the UK’s leading schools to benefit young people who need them the most.


We know that some of the UK’s leading schools – boarding and independent - offer their pupils opportunities, experiences and relationships that are literally life-changing. We believe that these advantages should not be the exclusive preserve of those born into privilege. And the schools in our growing network agree.

What we do

We work across the UK’s boarding and independent schools sector to expand the number of 110% bursary places (those that cover all fees and extras) and ensure that these opportunities are targeted towards young people who most need them: those that have faced challenging circumstances – children and teenagers in or on the edge of care, or growing up in households and communities where opportunities to flourish are limited.

We identify, prepare and support pupils to ensure that they will thrive, and our 97% retention rate is testament to the scaffolding that we put in place. But our focus is not simply on lifting individual life chances. Through our work to date, we have demonstrated that our school placements have a profound and far-reaching impact and we are encouraging more and more school leaders to recognise the role the boarding and independent sector can play in addressing social mobility.

  • Bursary placements propel young people from challenging backgrounds into careers and roles where they can advocate and influence for further advances in social mobility

  • SpringBoarders challenge stereotypes and inspire others through the positive contributions they make in their school communities

  • SpringBoarders go on to become role models as trustees and mentors, influencing those around them to raise their aspirations and see new possibilities, and impacting the communities and families in which they started.

We are now looking to scale our impact: building our network of accredited schools; growing the number of SpringBoarders we support, and amplifying the potential of educational opportunities to help address social mobility.

How we work

  • Working in partnerships at community level and with Local Authorities, we identify young people for whom a bursary placement at boarding/independent school offers a life-transforming opportunity

  • We match those young people to available 110%-funded bursary places at schools best-suited to their needs and interests. These bursaries ensure that, in addition to covering school fees, our SpringBoarders have the means to fully embrace the opportunities they encounter, including access to uniform and sports equipment, learning materials and participation in extra-curricular activities.

  • We provide support to ensure SpringBoarders thrive throughout their placements, including during the school holidays

  • Beyond the bursary, we support SpringBoarder alumni to continue to aim high and realise their ambitions, navigate fulfilling careers and make positive contributions in their communities

  • We are building a powerful movement of role models who raise aspirations and serve as an engine for social mobility

  • We are encouraging greater investment in bursary and outreach opportunities for children and young people who face disadvantages and vulnerabilities

See the evidence of our impact

Our values

  • We always start with the child
    In everything we do, we ask: “What is in the best interests of the or young person?” Our ‘Whole Child’-centred approach means continually asking ourselves if we are doing all we can to ensure children are healthy, safe, supported, engaged, and thriving academically.

  • We are optimistic  
    We believe passionately that a boarding or independent school education can transform the life chances of any child, regardless of their background.

  • We act with integrity
    Our pupils, families, schools and community partners trust us to make good decisions. They have confidence in our values and how we work.

  • We are focused on impact and learning
    We hold ourselves accountable, and we are committed to continuously reflecting on our pupils’ experiences and adapting our model to respond to what we learn.

  • We work together in a network
    We believe that it is only by working collaboratively in long-term, committed school and community partnerships that we will make a lasting difference to social mobility.

Our  history

Royal National Children's SpringBoard Foundation is the UK’s largest bursary charity, helping disadvantaged and vulnerable children from across the UK to access fully funded bursaries at leading schools. We are the result of the 2017 merger of two charities: Royal National Children’s Foundation (RNCF) and The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation (SpringBoard).

RNCF started out as the Royal Wanstead Children’s Foundation, an organisation founded by Dr Andrew Reed in 1827. Initially an orphanage the charity benefitted from donations from the young Princess Victoria who later became Royal Patron. The charity evolved to support vulnerable children at a range of boarding and day schools across the UK.

The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation was launched in 2012, inspired by the Arnold Foundation of Rugby School to help children from some of the UK’s most deprived communities to attend leading boarding schools on full bursaries.

On the merger of RNCF and SpringBoard, HRH The Princess Royal, who was previously patron of RNCF, became patron of Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation.


Who we are

Men, women, mobile phone, book, studying, Royal National Children's SpringBoard Foundation, social mobility, schools, bursary, inclusion, social mobility, broadening access

Meet our team of education and social mobility professionals,
trustees and advisory board members.


Our news


CEO Spring Update 


In her latest update CEO, Ali Henderson, reflects on the successes of the academic year and thanks all of our supporters for being part of the journey.

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Nick Owen CBE Appointed Chairman


The Trustees of RNCSF are delighted to announce that Nick Owen CBE will join RNCSF as a Trustee and will succeed Robert Swannell as Chair at the end of June 2022.

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Happy international Volunteer Day


Reuben, one of our alumni who attended Giggleswick and is now at university in Leeds, shares his experiences of volunteering and why it’s so important to help others.

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RNCSF & Buttle UK partnership announcement


We are pleased to announce a new collaborative partnership between RNCSF and Buttle UK. 


RNCSF meet with Cranbrook School 


Ali Henderson visited Cranbrook School to meet our amazing SpringBoarders and discuss the broader benefits of State Boarding.

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CEO Winter Update 2021


In her latest update CEO, Ali Henderson, reflects on the successes of 2021 and thanks all of our supporters for being part of the journey.

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Our research with the University of Nottingham


Learn more about how we are using data to evaluate the impact of a fully-funded bursary for Looked After and Vulnerable Children with our research partners, the University of Nottingham.

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CEO Summer


In her latest update CEO, Ali Henderson, reflects on the challenges and successes of the past year as SpringBoarders start their summer holidays.

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RNCSF featured in Independent School Management Plus 


Ali Henderson spoke to Zoe MacDougall at Independent School Management Plus about bridging the educational divide through bursaries.

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New Schools Director Appointments


We are delighted to announce the appointment of two new members of our senior team – Sarah Butterworth and Richard Baldwin - to lead RNCSF’s schools portfolio from April 2022.

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CEO Autumn Update 2021


In her latest update CEO, Ali Henderson, celebrates our SpringBoarders' achievements and looks forward to another successful year ahead.