Influencing school communities
Through our programmes we have helped to bring greater cultural and ethnic diversity to the pupil bodies at many of the UK’s leading schools – with more than 400 pupils from Black and minority ethnic communities supported to attend those schools on RNCSF bursaries since 2013. The schools in our network tell us that the presence of RNCSF pupils helps strengthen their efforts to build young people’s understanding of the vibrancy and disparities of UK society, and an appreciation for the opportunities that their schools have to offer.
‘The bursary programme provides not only a fantastic opportunity for the bursary award holders, but gives all students in the community a chance to get some perspective on their own situations. It is clear how quickly (our pupils) become accustomed to living in the ‘Bradfield bubble’, a beautiful, rural microcosm, which is removed from the experience of many families in the country. RNCSF pupils bring welcome different experiences and personalities to prompt the staff and pupil bodies to challenge the status-quo and broaden minds.’
Luke Field, Head of Maths, Bradfield College
The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) found that ‘SpringBoarders’ have ‘definitely broken down barriers, prejudice or ignorance’ in their schools and that participation in the RNSCF accredited school network has supported the work of staff in ‘strengthening an accepting tolerant ethos’ and ‘challenging disparaging and unhealthy beliefs in a direct, though tactful way… [ensuring] peers become more aware of their privileged situation and develop a greater sensitivity towards others.’
Our anti-racism commitments
We recognise that racism is endemic, and we are committed to the ongoing and long-term change that is needed to combat racism and all other forms of discrimination. We are ready and open to have the difficult conversations we know are required to make this happen. In our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organisation, we set out how we intend to combat racism and address any gaps in racial equity and injustice in our work.
In 2020 we formed an Alumni Leadership Council to establish an Anti-Racism Charter for Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation schools. The recommendations therein, which those with lived experience believe would make a tangible difference to the experience of future Black and ethnic minority SpringBoarders, provide a framework for high standards and collective progress across the RNCSF network of schools – seeking to raise the bar to improve the experience of all pupils.
We support all the schools in our network to foster a culture and environment in which disclosures of incidents of racism and discrimination can be safely made. We also have an anonymised reporting tool which pupils can use to report incidents directly to us. We encourage our pupils to provide details so that we can follow up with their schools and make sure that appropriate support is in place.
Influencing the education sector
We work with the Department for Education, Independent Schools Council (ISC), Headmaster’s & Headmistress’s Conference (HMC) and the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) to promote the benefits of broadening access to more bursary places for children facing challenging circumstances. We consistently highlight the disparity between approaches to means-tested fee remissions (currently only 1.3% of all means-tested bursaries and scholarships are 100%+ bursaries) and specifically the case for care-experienced young people to gain priority access to the best educational pathway available and appropriate for them, whether state or independent.
For families for whom a RNCSF bursary is not available or appropriate, we operate a Grants Advice line (on behalf of the Independent Schools Council) through which we provide advice and support to around 500-600 families per year, signposting them to a range of other options for financial assistance to support the payment of school fees for those facing challenging circumstances.