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Posted: 8th January 2024
It seems just yesterday that Christmas was around the corner and were are all busy ordering trees, turkeys, Christmas crackers and planning our present lists. But Joanna Tinworth, an Eaton House parent, had many other tasks to do before Christmas Eve, and they involved her role as one of the trustees for the newly-founded Eaton House Foundation. This provides one fully assisted place at Eaton House The Manor Boys’ School, one at Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School and one at Eaton House Belgravia, for boys and girls aged 7+.
As a parent at Eaton House The Manor for over 10 years, with both of her children having joined at Nursery age and her oldest son now having left and studying at Eton, she believes that a good education can be ‘life-changing.’ Her Master’s Degree at Oxford was made possible by a scholarship and a ‘mum who couldn’t afford to remain in school beyond 16 years old, and who was determined I would have more educational opportunities than she did.’ As a result of this experience, Joanna is now determined to give back by helping the Foundation. This involves putting up posters where possible candidates may see them, igniting WhatsApp groups of parents and generally getting the word out.
The Foundation was born out of the COVID-19 lockdown in Easter 2020. A group of Eaton House Schools’ parents realised that the impressive provision of online schooling at such short notice for all the pupils contrasted starkly with the news of lockdown teaching across the country.
‘I was so grateful for the uninterrupted education that my son and daughter received from Eaton House, ‘says Joanna. ‘The children were engaged, supported, and continued to learn in incredibly difficult times. It really brought home the value of an Eaton House Education and how fortunate my children were.’
The Foundation began as a ‘Positive Outcomes’ WhatsApp Group between three parents who wondered what they could do to widen access to Eaton House to talented children in the local communities of Clapham and Belgravia, who couldn’t otherwise access a private education and therefore weren’t enjoying the same positive learning experience in the Pandemic.
Eaton House Schools warmly embraced the idea. Together the schools and parents have, in the last three years, set up the Foundation with three places each year underwritten by the schools. A fundraising endowment hopes to supply further places. In its first year of operations, the Foundation raised £127,000.
This encouraging first year fundraising result was accompanied by many personal messages from donors, who had themselves benefited from bursaries. This idea of a ‘virtuous circle’ of giving is at the very heart of the Foundation, with some parents pledging to give the Foundation a regular sum of money.
Quincy Kresler is a mother to two Eaton House students in year 1 and year 5 and has ‘always been impressed with the quality and ethos of the Eaton House education. ‘As an American ex-pat she wants her children ‘to benefit from the quality and diversity that a vibrant, London school can provide.’
‘I am inspired by the teachers and administrators of the school and I am invested in the future of Eaton House School and its students,’ she says. ‘As a trustee of the Foundation, our goal is to support broadening the reach of an Eaton House education to all potential students in our community regardless of circumstance.’
Quincy has worked hard with the other trustees to foster a tradition of bursary giving within parents and alumnae groups, strongly supported by Dukes Education, of which Eaton House Schools is a part. It is something she is ‘really passionate’ about and is confident that, over time, the group ‘will continue to grow in our scope or offerings and depth of our outreach.’
Fundraising events are now taking place throughout the year. ‘We have built up amazing momentum,’ she says. ‘I am constantly impressed and inspired by how much our school (parents, teachers, and management) support the Foundation and its growth. A school thrives on its ability to provide the best possible education to a student body that reflects the potential of its entire community.’
Ross Montague, the new Headmaster of Eaton House Belgravia, who joined from Hampstead Hill, has joined the team of trustees. ‘It is a privilege to be part of an institution with such a rich legacy,’ he says. ‘I look forward to contributing to the school’s broader mission and supporting the Foundation’s leadership in its impactful initiatives. Upholding the Foundation’s commitment to shared values and our mission is paramount, and I am dedicated to widening access, ensuring that talented children from diverse backgrounds can join our vibrant community.’
Parents are very welcome to apply for an Eaton House Foundation bursary, with a closing date of Friday 9th February. Your child would be eligible if:
State applicants are welcomed. For full detail on how to apply see https://www.eatonhouseschools.com/clapham/about-us/foundation/