As we dare to look forward with optimism to a life post-pandemic (I write this during the chill of January as we look set, tantalisingly, to move beyond the Government’s ‘Plan B’ measures), it is a pleasure to be reporting on some exciting progress.
Our mission in the Development Office is defined very strongly, of course, by Change 100 and its pioneering goal to raise a transformative endowment; one that will provide the platform for so many children who could never otherwise dream of a Stowe education to benefit from precisely that. I hope very much that you will, by now, have received a copy of our inaugural Change 100 Annual Report. We record therein the gratitude we feel for the quite extraordinary generosity that so many Old Stoics, parents and other friends of the School have shown to us, at every conceivable level, from just a few pounds and upwards.
Those donations and pledges already accumulate, incredibly, to over £10 million and have not only enabled us to start the creation of an endowment fund that will build and sustain our ability to provide life-changing bursaries, but have also allowed the first ten Change 100 recipients to arrive at Stowe this year. Below, you can read short pen-portraits of five of those children who, having been here only a few months, are already thriving and having a positive impact on all those around them.
Five of our Change 100 recipients:
A boy from London with an astoundingly inquisitive and creative mind and a keen interest in history, politics and world affairs; a prize-winner already for essay writing during his first two months at Stowe.
An exceptionally bright girl, joining us in the Sixth Form: she has huge potential as a mathematician, a scientist and as an artist too. She is studying Maths, Further Maths and Physics at A-level. She enjoys multiple sports, as well as dance.
A girl from Romania who has joined our Sixth Form, through the support of one particular donor. She is bright, eager to learn and develop her outlook on the world and is sure to find her time at Stowe a transformative experience.
A boy with a lot of potential from a disadvantaged area of East London and introduced to us by one of our charity partners – the Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy. Alongside his studies, he is keen to take up activities he has never been able to try before, including basketball and drama.
A girl who joins us from a state school in the Midlands. Brought up in a single parent household, she dropped out of school amidst very challenging family circumstances. She is a talented linguist and loves literature, especially books in Spanish and French.
We are embarking with gusto now on our mission to raise the second £10 million, towards the ultimate target of £100 million, and would be so thrilled and grateful to hear from you if you would like to join the ever-growing network of supporters – at whatever level that might be. Please do get in touch by emailing or taking a moment to call me using the details below.
There are two other important matters that I must report on. First, we are indebted also to those Old Stoics and others who have continued to support our mission to restore the House to its 18th century glory. We are within sight now of the finishing line! Our goal is to celebrate the completion of the work in our Centenary year and as you will read elsewhere in this magazine, there are just a final few elements of the work to undertake, including the walls and floor of the State Dining Room. Again, if you feel that you might be in a position to help, I would be so pleased to hear from you.
And last, but by no means of any insignificance, is the great news that we finally have the planning permission needed to begin construction of the new Design Technology and Engineering Centre, to lie just beyond the Music School, close to Lyttelton. This new facility, which will replace the old workshops and huts, will transform the educational experience in this crucial area of the academic curriculum – and ensure that Stowe can inspire engineers, designers and technologists of the future. We are profoundly grateful to the many donors who, individually and collectively, will have made this new building possible.
With our best wishes from all of us in the Development team and looking forward to being in further touch with more news during the year ahead.
We are fortunate to have some wonderful ambassadors for Change 100, including Marilyn Okoro (Lyttelton 02 and an Olympic bronze medallist). Marilyn writes:
The world is full of children with natural talent, but they do not always get the nurturing support or resources that they deserve. Stowe is well placed to provide this for those whose circumstances might otherwise conspire to work against their innate ability. Change 100 not only hopes to raise the funds needed to give a Stowe education to many deserving children in the future, but is also committed to seeking them out, whether with bus stop adverts in Wembley, where I grew up, or partnerships with schools, youth clubs, charities and outreach groups across the country.
No one can say that supporting talent that might otherwise be overlooked by society is not a worthwhile goal in itself. But Change 100 is also an ambition that unites us as a community, gives us confidence in the future of education and fosters an immense pride in us all that we are Stoics and that Stowe is different and special – a cultivator for independent thinkers, mould breakers and Change Makers whatever their background and wherever they come from.
I am so proud to be an ambassador for Change 100 and excited that The Stowe Group has embarked on this amazing mission.
Marilyn Okoro (Lyttelton 02), Olympic Bronze Medallist
The Jeremy Nichols Bursary Fund
As a particular and notable part of the Change 100 programme, we are seeking to remember Jeremy Nichols (Former Headmaster 1989-2003), who very sadly passed away in August 2020. Working with his children, Rupert, Emma, Tory and Lucy, we are looking to raise an endowment fund of £1 million, which will enable the School to support a talented and deserving child with a Stowe education, in perpetuity – forever celebrating ‘JGLN’’s time at Stowe. We believe that this is a wonderful way to remember a man who dedicated his life to education and to doing “the best by every child”. His family are delighted that their father will be remembered in this way, by offering financial support to children who could thrive from the opportunity of coming to Stowe, and they are certain that he would be thrilled too. If you would like to contribute to The Jeremy Nichols Bursary, we would be extremely grateful: please do contact Charlie Clare in the Development Office (firstname.lastname@example.org / 01280 818326). Thank you.