Leading private schools reject £1m scholarships for poor 'white boys'

30 December 2019, 12:22

Dulwich College is in south London
Dulwich College is in south London. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Two leading public schools have reportedly turned down gifts worth more than £1.2 million intended for scholarships for poor white boys.

The Times newspaper reported both Dulwich College and Winchester College turned down the gift from philanthropist Sir Bryan Thwaites, who attended both schools and intended to leave the money in his will.

Professor Thwaites said he intended to help disadvantaged white boys who perform worse at school compared to their counterparts from other ethnic groups.

Sir Bryan told The Times: "If Cambridge University can accept a much larger donation in support of black students, why cannot I do the same for under-privileged white British?

"Winchester said it would harm its reputation by accepting my bequest, but in my opinion it would gain enormously by being seen to address what is the severe national problem of the underperforming white cohort in schools."

Cambridge University accepted two scholarships from grime artist Stormzy which will go to black UK students who are admitted to the University of Cambridge.

However, Dr Joe Spence, Master of Dulwich College, said he is "resistant" to donations "made with any ethnic or religious criteria".

He added: "Bursaries are an engine of social mobility and they should be available to all who pass our entrance examinations, irrespective of their background."

The academic wanted to donate £800,000 to Winchester College
The academic wanted to donate £800,000 to Winchester College. Picture: PA

Sir Bryan wanted to donate £400,000 to Dulwich College, which is in south London, and £800,000 to Winchester College in Hampshire.

A spokeswoman for Winchester College said that "acceptance of a bequest of this nature would neither be in the interests of the school as a charity nor the specific interests of those it aims to support through its work".

She added: "Notwithstanding legal exceptions to the relevant legislation, the school does not see how discrimination on grounds of a boy's colour could ever be compatible with its values."

Scholarships reportedly paid for Sir Bryan to attend Dulwich College until the outbreak of the Second World War, when he was sent to Winchester College.