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Stephen Perse, Costello Medical and NCA working together to tackle inequalities in Cambridge

Published on 08/04/22

The Stephen Perse Foundation, Costello Medical and the North Cambridge Academy (NCA) are working together to tackle inequalities in Cambridge. The partnership gives young people the opportunities and skills to succeed through curriculum expansion, bursaries and work experience.

The Stephen Perse Vision and Mission

The vision and mission of the Stephen Perse Foundation is to educate and inspire the contributors to tomorrow’s world. To nurture young people with the creativity, confidence, conviction and compassion to question, evaluate and improve society.

Our Founder, Dr Stephen Perse believed that education should be a right rather than a privilege and we are proud that his values run like a golden thread through our history and remain at the heart of everything we stand for today.

The Foundation is underpinned by the recognition that every child, every young person has potential to develop their talents, but that there is an unevenness across society in the availability of opportunities, guidance and access to assistive networks.

This is where we believe we can and must help: to support those young people who would not otherwise be able to access such support, to help them to realise and maximise their own individual potential.

Building the Partnership and Sixth Form Bursaries

The global pandemic and other recent national and global events have served to highlight to us all the sharp contrast in the inequity that exists in our society. The inequity exists here in Cambridge and we have all witnessed how this has directly affected young people in our own community, particularly over the last two years.

The pandemic also gave us reasons as organisations, as institutions, to reflect and to think about how we can most powerfully make a meaningful difference in addressing such inequity. The key to this is working together.

At Stephen Perse, we have been working together with NCA to provide full bursaries for students joining our sixth form from NCA. We have worked closely with Alison Taylor, Sam Fox and the team at NCA, and we have been determined to try to help support those young people who we realised had been significantly impacted by the social, educational and economic effects of the pandemic. We felt we could and should do more, and we all felt the most significant thing we could do immediately would be to double the number of 100% bursaries for young people to come and join our sixth form. And so we agreed to do that and those students started with us in September 2021.

Power of Partnerships

We are delighted to announce the inception of a partnership with Costello Medical and how this has enabled us to strengthen and to build further our commitment and the support we are able to provide, to offer bursaries for North Cambridge Academy students into our sixth form.

This partnership was celebrated on March 21st at Costello Medical offices and this event was covered in the Cambridge Independent. You can read more about this here.

Our aim in developing the partnership is not only to secure funding for bursary places but also to continue developing and to uphold our responsibility as an independent school to broaden and widen access to those within our community. In addition to education, we need to help to create assistive networks for young people as they move through education and into employment.

Our partnership with Costello Medical is exciting and ground-breaking because it provides an opportunity to go further than financial support for bursary places. It opens up the possibility of developing work experience opportunities and internships for those young people, coaching, mentoring and guidance from professional people in interesting careers. This provides doorways and pathways to develop further students’ aspirations, provide insight into the world of work and begin to create the kinds of networks that our young people need, in addition to their education, to realise their full potential.

We hope that this partnership serves as a powerful example to demonstrate how, in coming together as schools and as businesses in Cambridge, in support of a common purpose, that we together can help young people in Cambridge to access, and to benefit from, truly transformational opportunities, as they move through education and ultimately into the world of work.

If anyone would like to learn more about how businesses or individuals can get involved in supporting our bursary programme or could help us build the work around our partnerships please do get in touch with Heidi Hall.