Total fundraising by UK Independent Schools has more than doubled in the last decade

Posted on: 11 Jul 2013

By Jo Beckett, Managing Director - IDPE.

Independent schools are set to raise an estimated £115 million this year, up from £50 million in 2003, according to the latest Independent Schools Financial Benchmarking Survey released in May.

Developing funds and encouraging alumnae to donate has become increasingly important to schools as they seek to limit fee increases and to provide more bursaries. And it’s working: recent figures released by the ISC reveal that school fees have shown the lowest rise in almost 20 years (3.9%) and the value of fee assistance has grown, with a third of pupils receiving help (33.7%).

The Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE) is the UK’s leading schools’ Fundraising and Alumni Relations (Development) membership organisation and a registered charity. Through its work, the IDPE is helping to maximise funds raised in UK schools to help young people benefit from the very best secondary education. As John Claughton, Chief Master at King Edward’s School in Birmingham says, “Development has become one of the most significant areas in the strategic purpose of schools in recent times. IDPE is doing vital work in providing guidance for everyone to learn.”

Increasing accessibility for all children is a key aim at his school. In the last three years the school has raised over £5 million for bursaries from over 800 donors. So far bursaries have been granted to 50 bright boys whose financial circumstances would otherwise have meant that they were unable to benefit from the excellent education offered by the school. The money raised includes a donation of almost £1.5 million from one former pupil who is personally funding ten pupils. 15 other donors are sponsoring boys in this innovative scheme which has attracted national press coverage.

Another of IDPE’s 300 member schools, Lord Wandsworth College, a small Hampshire boarding school, has raised £3.3million in 5 years as part of a programme to raise funds for its own Foundation, which offers places at the school to children who have lost one or both parents. “Our Foundation is one of Hampshire’s leading children charities and we have supported more than 2500 children since we were established 100 years ago. Fundraising is essential to our ability to continue offering this level of support,” commented Headmaster, Fergus Livingstone.

The Independent Schools Financial Benchmarking Survey is the official annual survey of UK Independent Schools and is supported by the ISC, HMC, GSA, IAPS, AGBIS, the ISBA and the other schools associations. It is now in its 17th year and is supported by schools representing over two thirds of all pupils in ISC schools

The IDPE worked with Tim Baines and Rhiannon Cutler (then of Crowe Clark Whitehill now of Baines Cutler Solutions) in researching and publishing the National Fundraising and Development Survey (‘’Building for the Future’’). This showed that 40% of the total of £100m raised by participating schools is earmarked for bursaries and 35% of money raised is invested in capital projects.

The survey looks at the importance of the Head to the on-going success of a school’s Development Office and that schools whose Heads were proactive in Fundraising and Development raised nearly three times more than those schools where Heads played a more passive role.

Jo Beckett, Managing Director, IDPE

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