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Rugby School Arnold Foundation marks 18th birthday by aiming to increase number of fully funded places


Rugby School’s revolutionary Arnold Foundation bursary programme celebrates its 18th birthday today with the launch of an ambitious campaign to secure funding for future generations. 

‘Fast Forward 50’ is a pledge to have raised £50million by 2030 for an endowment that will enable the Foundation to support students in perpetuity while also increasing the number of places offered. There are currently 27 Foundation students at Rugby; Fast Forward 50 aims to increase that number to 40. 

Since its inception in 2003, the Foundation -  the first of its kind to offer fully funded boarding places at an independent school -  has provided a Rugby education for 145 young people. The model has been so successful it was adopted by the Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation.  

Peter Green, Executive Head Master of Rugby School Group, said the effects of Covid-19 had shone an unforgiving light on the unfairness and lack of equal opportunity for the UK’s children. 

“Rugby is an independent school but it is not a school of entitlement. It is a privilege to come here, and we want many more clever, talented children to do so,” he said. 

“Children with determination and potential, from circumstances that would normally prohibit entry to an independent school. To give them the chance, and the support, to enjoy working hard, to try all the activities a boarding school offers, to extend their horizons and discover the direction they want to take in their lives. Everyone here makes a contribution to the school community. It’s about sharing. We are a down to earth, big-hearted school.  

“The Arnold Foundation is generously funded by donors across the world who support the programme’s philosophy that ‘where you come from is not the point; where you are going is’.  I am grateful to those donors, and also to Patrick Derham, my predecessor, for establishing the programme. It was a revolutionary step to take and is now an integral part of the ethos of the school.” 

The best ambassadors for the Arnold Foundation are the students themselves. We asked some of them to take part in a short film about their time at Rugby which we hoped would capture the spirit and sense of purpose of the Arnold Foundation. They are all impressive, frank, engaging and modest, and have gone on, or will go on, to do great things.

Please watch here