A Beacon Of Social Change

Issue 98

DCSF is positively impacting the lives of thousands of young people through partnership work and bursaries, review finds.

A school’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity and diversity is exemplified by its ‘transformational’ bursary programme and collaborative partnerships, according to a new report.

A Social Impact Review, commissioned by Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation (DCSF), highlights the many positive ways that the Foundation has contributed to the lives of thousands of young people, not only in the historic city of Durham but across the wider North East and beyond.

DCSF was established in 2021 when Chorister School and Durham School merged to form a seamless 3-18 education for girls and boys. Bursaries have formed part of its DNA since the first King’s Scholarships in 1541 and today, one in seven pupils at DCSF attend on means-tested support. The Foundation has transformed the lives of 420 families through bursaries, breaking down socio-economic barriers and providing a diverse mix of students the opportunity to flourish academically and personally.

Andrew Beales, DCSF Development Director, said bursaries are ‘truly transformational’. He added: “Our bursary programmes are diversifying our pupil body, enriching the school community and creating a more inclusive and equitable educational landscape.”

DCSF bursaries are linked to scholarships that encompass a wide range of talents and skills, from academic scholars to gifted artists, musicians, athletes and performers. While primarily offered to young people in the North East, the boarding facilities at Durham School allow the Foundation to extend its reach beyond regional boundaries.

Each year, DCSF awards Burkitt Scholarships – with support of up to 100% fee remission – to around 12 pupils entering the Sixth Form. The Burkitt award is designed for teenagers with high aspirations but whose abilities to achieve these has been adversely affected.

Beyond financial support, the Social Impact Review highlights the effective academic, sporting and creative partnerships that have been developed and nurtured by DCSF.

The Foundation is proven to foster academic excellence through its collaborative efforts with partner schools in the state system. In the last academic year, 15 partnership projects have taken place in areas including STEM, and foreign modern languages, and more than 250 pupils between the ages of 9 and 17 outside the Foundation accessed workshops led by DCSF staff.

Outside the classroom, the report finds that the Foundation is levelling the playing field in sport by sharing its facilities with the wider community. More than 500 young people attend Learn to Swim sessions in the school swimming pool each week and the Foundation hosts a wide range of community sport throughout the year, including hockey, rugby, cricket and netball.

DCSF also works with outreach partners to foster creativity in music and performing arts. Each week, the Foundation hosts more than 100 local musicians and singers for rehearsals and concerts, while over 40 young people attend drama and performance classes using the school’s facilities.

Kieran McLaughlin, Principal at DCSF, said the ripple effects of partnership work and bursary support extend far beyond the school gates. “The Foundation has emerged as a beacon of social change,” he said. “By breaking down barriers and fostering a diverse and inclusive environment where every child, regardless of background, has the chance to thrive, the Foundation is helping to build a more vibrant and equitable society.”

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