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Blundell's head to lead new education charity

Published Thursday 12th of July 2012 02:43:11 PM

Ian Davenport, the Head Master at Blundell's School, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer to a new charity, the National Foundation of Boarding Bursaries. The foundation will offer life-changing opportunities to disadvantaged children by providing 100% funded bursaries at independent and state boarding schools.

Mr Davenport will take up his post in September 2012. He has been Head Master at Blundell's since 2004 and, before entering the teaching profession, spent five years as a city trader. Speaking about his new role he said: 'Having been involved in boarding schools for over twenty years I have seen first-hand the transformational effect the environment has on pupils from diverse backgrounds. To be asked to run such a significant charity with this transformational aspiration at its heart, thus benefiting those pupils who have a disadvantaged background, was just too exciting an offer to refuse.'

Education Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Adonis are among senior figures from across the political spectrum to have endorsed plans for this schools-led national bursary foundation, which was drawn up following a pro-bono study by McKinsey & Company. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds who will benefit from a boarding education will be selected through an objective process via established partner organisations, including charities and schools in the maintained sector. Member schools will be party to an accreditation scheme the Quality Mark which ensures the quality of care these pupils need. This Mark will become a standard for funders, partners and the schools involved.

A wide range of donors has agreed to support the foundation. Funding is in place for the start-up phase. The NFBB will also raise money from donors and organisations which would not be available to individual schools.

The foundation will draw on the best practice in boarding schools on pastoral care today. Tim Bunting, a general partner of Balderton Capital with considerable experience in education, will serve as its Chairman, and an advisory panel, including the former Labour education minister Lord Adonis and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds Michael Arthur, will support the NFBB in its mission.

NFBB Chairman Tim Bunting said: 'This marks an important moment for social mobility in this country. Together with business and the third sector, the NFBB will offer significant opportunities for young people trapped in a cycle of poverty and lack of ambition.'

Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove said: 'Disadvantaged children benefit from boarding. I strongly welcome the creation of the National Foundation for Boarding Bursaries, and believe it will play a vital role in making opportunity more equal.'

Lord Adonis, the former Labour education minister, added: 'As someone who was able to attend a boarding school thanks to a foundation dedicated to the welfare of disadvantaged children, I know how independent, grassroots schemes like this can transform a young person's life for the better. I am delighted to endorse the National Foundation for Boarding Bursaries and very much look forward to serving as a member of its advisory panel'.

Michael Arthur, Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds and Chair of the Russell Group, said: 'I am extremely proud to be a part of the National Foundation for Boarding Bursaries, which has the potential to bring some of the brightest students from underprivileged backgrounds to our top universities. Grassroots schemes such as the NFBB will be at the vanguard of efforts to broaden the intake of our top educational institutions.'
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