The United Westminster and Grey Coat Foundation

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The United Westminster and Grey Coat Foundation is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

CEO/Clerk Dr Gordon Carver
Emanuel School, one of the
five schools within the United
Westminster & Grey Coat family
The United Westminster & Grey Coat Foundation is an
education charity with its roots in the late-1500s, when
influential individuals and families decided to establish
Christian schools to support the poor of the parish. CEO,DrGordon
Carver tells
The Parliamentary Review
how the Foundation is
mobilising to enhance provision for disadvantaged students, and
of the strong partnerships between the Foundation schools, all of
which strive to provide the very best education for its pupils.
There have been many different configurations of the schools over the last 450
years, but currently the group brings together five schools:
»Emanuel School – an independent day school in Wandsworth for boys and girls
aged 10 to 19
»Queen Anne’s School – an independent boarding and day school near Reading in
Berkshire, for girls aged 11 to 19
»Sutton Valence School – an independent boarding and day school near
Maidstone in Kent, for boys and girls aged 3 to 19
»The Grey Coat Hospital – a Church of England comprehensive academy for girls
aged 11 to 19, and
»Westminster City School – a comprehensive academy for boys aged 11 to 19.
We have 4,569 students attending our schools (2,661 students in our three independent
schools and 1,908 students in our two academies), and the mixture of maintained
sector schools side by side with fee-charging independent schools is an unusual
characteristic of our group. This mixed sectoral grouping is not unique (the Harpur Trust
and the Woodard Corporation are groups broadly comparable to us), but it is a critical
»CEO: DrGordon Carver
»Founded in 1576 (Sutton
Valence School); merger of
two longstanding foundations
into one in 2019
»Location:London, Reading
and Maidstone
»The Foundation has five
schools - two academies, and
three independent schools
»No. of students: 4,569
The United Westminster &
Grey Coat Foundation
Highlighting best practice
distinctive feature of what is in essence a
de facto state-independent partnership.
Our charitable objects are to support all
five schools, and one of the questions
we continually ask ourselves is how best
to maximise the benefits of the group to
bring out the advantages for each school.
Championing social mobility
As a core focus of our charity’s public
benefit, the Foundation and our schools
engage in several initiatives designed to
enhance social mobility. Each year the
Foundation disburses £1m across our five
schools to provide bursaries for widening
student access at our three independent
schools, to support our two academies,
and to promote cultural activities across
our school network, in order for
students, particularly disadvantaged
students, tobenefit.
One of our flagship public benefit
partnerships, which we hope will
become a model for other schools to
emulate, is Emanuel School’s Primary
Ambitions initiative. Emanuel runs this
outreach programme with 23 local
primary comprehensive partner schools,
in order to provide weekly learning
sessions and additional resources to
disadvantaged primary school children.
The mentoring scheme involves
Emanuel’s sixth form students acting as
learning coaches for the primary school
students across core subjects, and gives
the primary students access to Emanuel’s
robotics lab, science labs, and other
high-quality learning infrastructure. This
outreach model is now being considered
for roll-out by Westminster City School,
to assist several primary schools across
the Westminster Borough. Through
increasing the outreach to primary
school children, we believe we can
extend the scheme to a further range of
establishments in the coming years. We
are proud of this model that Emanuel
have pioneered, and the burgeoning
collaboration with Westminster City
School, and we will seek to enhance
this kind of collaboration across our
schools goingforwards.
Collaboration during the
Covid-19 crisis
The last year has been challenging for
all schools nationwide, but in our case
the strength of the group has come to
the fore. Our group is run on a devolved
basis, which means that the three
independent schools each have their
own governing body, as do the two
academies. The Foundation has helped
coordinate the continually changing
regulatory guidelines to all five school
governing bodies, as well as sharing best
practice between schools where helpful.
One aspect of the pandemic that has
hit particularly hard is the growing
gap for disadvantaged students, who
suffer from disproportionate learning
losses and a “digital divide” in their
access to online learning devices and
internet availability at home. Our
Foundation has considered how best
to mobilise our resources to tackle
this gap, and we have launched the
“Covid Catapult Fund”1, which went
1 for those who
want to learn more.
Young scientist at
work in the lab of
Westminster City School
Student musicians at
Queen Anne’s, Caversham
in the recording studio
As a core focus
of our charity’s
public benefit,
the Foundation
and our
schools engage
in several
designed to
enhance social
live in September2020 across all five
of our schools and was open for any
staff member to propose a project
that specifically helped disadvantaged
students catch up on any lost learning.
Prioritising impact and
medium-term results
The Covid Catapult Fund is an attempt
to move the Foundation to a more
dynamic and impact-driven form
of donor relationship with our five
schools. It is a condition of all proposed
school projects that they must run
for at least two successive academic
years, which is probably the minimum
duration that educational initiatives
can be seen to have a meaningful
change on student learning outcomes.
It is also a condition that successful
applications need to establish a set of
monitoring and evaluation indicators
before projects begin implementation.
In this way a mixture of qualitative and
quantitative indicators is collected at
the start of the project and is measured
at regular intervals throughout the two
years of the project duration, to test
whether the project activities are having
the intended effects or not. As a result,
the Foundation intends to understand
how many disadvantaged students are
actively benefitting from the funded
initiatives and which projects have the
most impact. We will be able to build
up a portfolio of different school Covid
Catapult projects over the next few
years. Where evaluation data indicates
that a particular project approach is
working well, the Foundation will be
able to share that approach more
widely within our own group, and
further afield with other schools too.
So far our schools have demonstrated
ingenuity and resourcefulness, and the
first four Covid Catapult projects now
being funded include a Saturday tuition
programme for disadvantaged primary
students, additional mental health
counselling to tackle the alarming uptick
in pandemic-related student anxiety,
bursary support for students to attend a
Saturday Music Academy, and an online
and face-to-face alumni mentoring
scheme to help enhance university
transition for certain students. These
projects are only just starting, but they
appear promising, and as we continue
to collect project impact data we will
learn more about what works effectively
and adapt where we need to.
Ultimately, the Covid Catapult Fund
is one part of our Foundation’s wider
public benefit work, and we hope it will
foster continued collaboration between
our schools and focus our collective
efforts on promoting social mobility
for more disadvantaged students.
We are proud of this new initiative
for our charity, and we welcome the
opportunity to share more widely across
the education sector any learnings
gained about the impact of our Covid
Catapult projects. The lost learning
which the pandemic has brought about
may take up to a decade to reverse, and
our group of schools is eager to work
with others at this critical time, both to
enhance social mobility and particularly
to help disadvantaged students excel.
The Covid
Catapult Fund
is an attempt
to move the
Foundation to
a more
dynamic and
form of donor
with our five
Students gather at
GreyCoat Hospital
Sports at Sutton Valence

This article was sponsored by The United Westminster and Grey Coat Foundation. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy