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Scheme offers places at top boarding schools

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

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The former headmaster of a Westcountry public school is spearheading a new scheme in which hundreds of children from poor backgrounds will be offered places at top boarding schools such as Eton and Harrow.

Ian Davenport, former headmaster of Blundell's, a private boarding school in Devon, is now the chief executive of new charity SpringBoard Bursary Foundation, which aims to send 2,000 of the UK's disadvantaged youngsters to leading state and private boarding schools by 2023.

The first 30 pupils are due to start next September, with Eton College, Harrow School, Benenden School, Marlborough College, Roedean, Rugby School, Wellington Academy and Wellington College among those providing bursary places.

Mr Davenport said: "Boarding schools have helped transform thousands of children's lives but have too often been perceived to be the preserve of a social elite; so today marks an important moment for social mobility in this country.

"Alongside business and the third sector, the schools party to the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation will offer major opportunities to young people from communities that suffer from a poverty of educational ambition."

Eventually, more than 60 boarding schools from the private and state sectors are expected to be involved, the foundation said.

To be eligible for a bursary, candidates must come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have the potential to gain from a boarding school education, a spokesman said.

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