Press release

Bursary provides life-changing opportunities for young people

16 March 2010

As independent schools around the country assess this year’s applications for scholarships and bursaries, new research by the NFER has shown that Rugby School’s Arnold Foundation is providing life-changing opportunities for the young people it supports.

So far 42 boys and girls from some of the UK’s most deprived communities have benefitted from the scheme, founded in 2003 to offer fully funded boarding places, subject to means testing, to young people who are at risk of social exclusion and under-achievement. Rugby aims to have 10% of its pupils supported by bursaries within the next ten years.

Rugby’s historic commitment to widening access, its partnerships with educational charities and comprehensive pastoral support for both pupils and their families have contributed to the Arnold Foundation’s success.  Of the 16 Arnold Foundation pupils who have completed their studies at Rugby, 15 have won places to study at university, and one is a professional rugby player.

Patrick Derham, Rugby School’s Head Master, said: ‘The Arnold Foundation is a bursary scheme that is achieving so much more than simply helping out with school fees.  We work closely with educational charities in deprived communities so that we can support young people who will really benefit from a boarding school education – we’re not interested in using bursaries simply to target bright children from state schools.  Transforming lives is at the heart of the Foundation, and this research shows our aspiration has become a reality.’

NFER’s Emily Lamont said: ‘Those involved in the Arnold Foundation, both as recipients and from the school and partner organisations, expressed overwhelming support for it. Our findings strongly endorse the continuation of the Foundation and the broadening of its reach to provide opportunities for more young people.’

Benefits to pupils

During the research, current and past Arnold Foundation pupils spoke of how life at Rugby School has raised their aspirations, enhanced their social and leadership skills and helped them achieve academic success. A current pupil told researchers: ‘I have more opportunities here than I would have got otherwise, I can do more things in life. ’

For some pupils, boarding at Rugby has been an opportunity to break free from negative cycles such as gang culture, financial pressure, and a culture of low educational attainment and low aspirations.

Benefits to wider groups

The research found that by working with partner charities carefully to select pupils with leadership skills, the benefits of the Arnold Foundation extend beyond the immediate bursary recipients.  Arnold Foundation pupils are encouraged to act as informal role-models and mentors for other young people in their communities, sharing their experiences and helping to inspire their peers.




A summary of the report is available from the NFER website and the Arnold Foundation website. For more information contact Gail Goodwin 01753 637159, or Allie Chownsmith 01753 637155,

Notes to editors

The research was carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on behalf of Rugby School.

The research explored the impacts of the Arnold Foundation on pupils, families, the school and partner organisations, to examine how its aims are being realised, and to suggest how the scheme might be further enhanced.

The research methods were a combination of interviews, focus groups and proformas designed to gather the views of school staff, parents of current and past Arnold Foundation pupils, donors and partner organisations, as well as former and current pupil beneficiaries.

The Arnold Foundation works with charitable organisations such as IntoUniversity and Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy (EYLA) to recruit potential pupils, and is broadening its partnerships with other school/organisations.

Fore more information on the Arnold Foundation, please visit