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Royal SpringBoard

Royal National Children's Springboard Foundation

The Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation (Royal SpringBoard) is The Leys’ partner organisation in our ambitious goal to provide fourteen fully funded 110% bursary places by 2025.

Royal SpringBoard transforms the lives of children and young people facing disadvantage or vulnerability by providing them with access to an outstanding education. As a social mobility charity, they partner with independent schools to offer fully funded bursary places, allowing children the chance to thrive regardless of their background.

Royal SpringBoard works closely with community partners, schools, and Local Authorities to identify children who will benefit from the unique opportunities that a boarding school education offers. With a 96% retention rate we are confident in their ability to match us with the most suitable pupils for The Leys.

I think my academic progress has improved because I am around people that have very good grades and expectations for themselves. The teachers are also very helpful in telling me how I can improve… and there is a routine for the extra work (prep) in the evenings which helps a lot as well.

Royal SpringBoard helps children and young people who are vulnerable and referred by family or social services; who come from challenging socio-economic circumstances and are identified by a local Community Partner organisation; or are looked after in the care system. Eligibility criteria for bursary awards include an assessment of a family or child’s financial circumstances, the availability of appropriate parental care, and careful consideration of whether a child has the independence and resilience to thrive in a boarding environment. Long-term development of the young person is the priority in this ‘Whole Child’ approach, with no ‘cherry-picking’ of particularly bright or sporty children for example. In the 2020/21 academic year, 423 Royal SpringBoard pupils were studying across the UK; over 350 young adults have now moved on from school placements into universities, apprenticeships, and the workplace.

The Leys began their partnership with Royal SpringBoard as all partner schools must, by being accredited by the charity. Every school in the network – there are now 124, and the number grows each year – is chosen for its commitment to widening access and its outstanding level of pastoral care. A careful matching process then begins, including interviews and school visits, so a young person who will thrive at The Leys is offered the opportunity to study here.

Academically, in 2021 Royal SpringBoard pupils exceeded all benchmarks when compared to the results of disadvantaged pupils nationwide in previous years. 99% of them achieved 2 or more A levels, against 35% of disadvantaged pupils nationally. Feedback from schools consistently mentions how SpringBoarders are role models for other pupils and take up leadership roles in the school community.

The charity are also acutely aware that their responsibility towards their pupils does not end with their school placement. Royal SpringBoard are actively developing a vibrant alumni network. Not only will this enable them to keep supporting young people on their next step in the world, it will also allow SpringBoard alumni to act as mentors and friends to the new generation of pupils at boarding school.

Statistics drawn from the Royal SpringBoard Annual Report & Financial Statements 2021, and the RSB Impact Report 2019.

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What impact has Covid-19 had?

Royal SpringBoard’s immediate priority when the Covid crisis began was ensuring pupils’ wellbeing away from the safe haven of boarding. They launched an Emergency Fund Appeal, and put in place a comprehensive support package including food vouchers, grants for IT equipment, and psychological support as needed.

What is a 'Community Partner'?

Community Partners are local organisations working in targeted areas of socio-economic deprivation. They include state-funded 11-16 years schools seeking good opportunities for their most disadvantaged school leavers; charitable organisations such as Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy (East London); and national charity IntoUniversity. Community Partners are all committed to raising social mobility in deprived communities. With their help, Royal SpringBoard can find the right children to thrive at their partner schools, while the Community Partners will also provide ongoing support for the children during their time boarding.

What is next for Royal SpringBoard Pupils when they leave boarding school?

Almost 300 young adults have now completed Royal SpringBoard placements and gone on to university, apprenticeships, or the workplace. In 2019/20, for example, two pupils went on to competitive apprenticeships, several took vocational degrees, and 20 are studying at Russell group universities.

Royal SpringBoard launched an alumni network in 2020, to nurture the community, build leavers’ confidence in developing their careers, and to encourage them to be positive role models for the next generation.

What does it mean to be a Royal SpringBoard accredited school?

The Leys is proud to be a RoyalSpringBoard accredited school. Royal SpringBoard have a rigorous process of accreditation, to ensure schools which join the network provide exemplary levels of pastoral care and have a real dedication to widening access. Most schools fund a large proportion, if not the full cost, of each placement. As of the start of 2021, there were 105 accredited schools and several more going through the accreditation process.

What is the history of Royal SpringBoard?x

Royal SpringBoard was created from the 2017 merger of two charities: Royal National Children’s Foundation (RNCF) and The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation (SpringBoard). NCF started out as the Royal Wanstead Children’s Foundation, in 1827, and later had Queen Victoria as their Royal Patron. Its work later developed to support vulnerable children at a range of boarding and day schools across the UK.

The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation began in 2012, with the aim of helping children from some of the UK’s most deprived communities to attend boarding schools on full bursaries. At the time of the merger, HRH The Princess Royal, who was previously patron of RNCF, became patron of Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation (Royal SpringBoard).

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