It was only after I had been at Trinity for three months that I realised there was no limit on the amount of money I could spend on bursaries – a remarkable fact. Over the next four years I negotiated with Whitgift School, Dulwich College and other schools in the Alleyn’s Foundation to cut the sums spent on scholarships and transfer that money to bursaries. This enabled me to recruit far more boys from state primary schools in Croydon than most independent schools have ever been able to do.
So Trinity was, and is, unusual in offering a brilliant education to pupils from a very wide range of backgrounds.
But the money available for bursaries has shrunk. The assisted places scheme was scrapped by Tony Blair in 1997, the Westfield shopping centre is being rebuilt and Covid-19 has reduced the foundation's income from retail. When I was Headmaster, the proportion of pupils on bursaries was over 40%; today it is nearly 17%.
We need to reverse this trend. South London is not an especially wealthy area and over the years many hundreds of bright boys from lower income backgrounds have benefited hugely from a Trinity education. The school is what it is because of that diversity.
So it seems to me that now is the right time to contribute to the bursary fund if you possibly can. A great school needs your help.
One of the most attractive hallmarks of Trinity has always been its inclusiveness; but an ethos that values everyone equally can only be sustained if pupils are encouraged to apply regardless of financial circumstances. Occasionally, it was a former pupil who recommended the school to a disadvantaged family because he spotted a talented youngster held back by insufficient opportunities to excel. A few did not find the adjustment easy, but the friendly approach of their peers and senior boys made all the difference.
What you, as alumni, achieved during your time at Trinity can now be matched by contributions to the bursary fund, thereby enabling the next generation to experience all that makes us proud of our school. Thank you.
A Trinity alumnus has undertaken to match all gifts made by Mr Tarrant and Mr Lenon's group of former students up to an initial amount of £1000. Will you help us unlock this funding by making a donation?