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001: Bursary fundraising then and now, with John Claughton

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

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Bursary fundraising is becoming a central plank of independent school fundraising in the UK, with many schools moving from capital campaigns to seeking support for transformational bursaries. However, just as more independent schools seek to widen access to excellent education, the COVID-19 crisis threatens to reduce philanthropic income for bursaries.

In this episode I share thoughts on the past and future of bursary fundraising with John Claughton, former Chief Master of King Edward's School, Birmingham, UK and author of 'Transforming young lives: Fundraising for bursaries'.

Episode highlights

  • The importance of having the school’s Head on board (4:35)

  • The biggest hurdles in setting up and growing a bursary programme (7:15)

  • Bursaries are a generational commitment, beyond the timescale of this pandemic (10:05)

  • How bursaries address a number of the challenges faced by independent schools (11:15)

  • Why it can be beneficial to focus just on fundraising for bursaries (15:15)

  • The importance of authenticity (16:40)

  • How to determine whether bursary fundraising will work at your school (19:20)

  • State school partnerships as an alternative to bursaries (23:15)

  • If not now, when? (24:20)

Resources and links

  • Digital version of 'Transforming young lives: Fundraising for bursaries' by John Claughton, published by the Independent Schools’ Council in partnership with IDPE, Graham-Pelton and ISBA.

  • To order a hard copy of the book email (£4.95 p&p per book)

  • Sign up to Juliet’s newsletter at

  • Find out more about Juliet Corbett’s work with independent schools at


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