Our Mission, Vision and Values at Stephen Perse
At the Stephen Perse Foundation, in keeping with our Founder’s original vision for the school he Founded, our mission is to educate and inspire the contributors to tomorrow’s world: intelligent young people with the creativity, compassion, confidence and conviction to question, evaluate and improve society.
With excellence and creativity in teaching and learning at the core of our work, we value the positive difference our students can make in the world through:
- Scholarship and the advancement of knowledge and understanding;
- Kindness, courtesy, inclusivity and collaboration;
- Diligence, independence and self-reliance;
- Humility, reflectiveness and the pursuit of self-improvement;
- Character, individuality, wellbeing and confidence; and
- Conserving the environment and living sustainably.
The role of philanthropy at Stephen Perse Schools
Our Founder, Dr Stephen Perse, was an academic and learned philanthropist who realised the essential role of education as an enabler of social mobility. He believed that an outstanding education should be a right, rather than a privilege, accessible to all.
Since Stephen Perse died in 1615, the ways in which education is delivered and funded in the UK have evolved and changed multiple times, often very significantly. Today, the Stephen Perse Foundation’s group of schools in Cambridge and Saffron Walden is selective and fee-paying, with some bursaries available on a means-tested basis, alongside ability-based academic, sporting, music and arts scholarships.
Our goal is to further improve access to a Stephen Perse education with the support of contemporary donors following in Dr Perse’s footsteps. With our donors’ support, we aim to ensure that the improved life chances and positive social mobility opportunities that an excellent education can provide are made available to able young people from all backgrounds, with a positive attitude to learning and living in Cambridge or the surrounding area.
Many of our bursaries, scholarships and outreach activities are funded by donors who make lifetime gifts, or leave legacies in their Will. Our donors include alumni, staff, family members of our students, alumni and staff and other individual, corporate and trust partners, all united by their desire to give the gift of education. Gifts of all sizes make a very real difference to the education and opportunities that we are able to offer to children and young people. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the Foundation’s lifetime and legacy donors.
Increasing access to a Stephen Perse Education
Wider access to a Stephen Perse education can be offered by bringing a greater range of children and young people into our schools and also by taking Stephen Perse teaching and resources out into other education and learning settings and activities.
Bursaries and Scholarships
During 2021/22, the Stephen Perse Foundation provided bursaries and scholarships for places in its schools valued at £1,088,940, benefitting 164 students. In 2022/23, we supported 156 students with total awards valued at £1,100,000. At the beginning of 2023/24, this rose to around £2,590,000 across 262 bursaries and scholarships. Based upon previous years, we expect to make further hardship awards and grants in response to families' changing circumstances as the year progresses.
All eligible pupils may apply for means-tested bursaries, whilst scholarship opportunities arise at various points, especially from Year 7, Year 9 and Year 12, and are based on academic, sporting, musical or artistic talents.
In addition to our general bursary scheme, we also offer some specialised bursary schemes, including our North Cambridge Academy (NCA) Sixth Form places and our Conflict Bursaries. The NCA scheme offers fully-funded Sixth Form places for students nominated by North Cambridge Academy, a state secondary school in Arbury Ward, Cambridge with which the Stephen Perse Foundation has close links, whilst the Conflict Bursaries scheme offers places to suitable candidates who have been displaced by international conflict - at present this is focussed on those escaping the war in Ukraine.
Stephen Perse teachers and students provide regular support sessions to North Cambridge Academy (NCA) through our outreach programme in Maths, Science, English, Modern Languages and Art. In order to develop our teaching partnership further, we are now fundraising for a new post dedicated to coordinating teaching support between the two schools to maximise benefit within NCA’s curriculum and timetable requirements.
The Stephen Perse Foundation has regularly donated iMacs, iPads, cases and chargers to the Cambs Youth Panel. Cambs Youth Panel works with local councils and members of parliament, giving advice and guidance on matters that affect young people to key decision makers in the region. They identify issues that need to be addressed and seek to resolve them, with one of their focusses being on access to computers for children and young people during and since Covid-19 lockdown measures. Together, we believe that digital inequality is a reflection of an unequal society. We are pleased to work together to improve digital access in our region and devices shared in this way have benefitted children and young people from schools in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Supporting other charities in our community
Across our school and nursery sites, our children, young people, staff and their families support a range of local and national causes. These include Accuro, St Paul’s Church and Great St Mary’s, the British Red Cross, students in Malawi, Nakuru Children’s project in Kenya and Wintercomfort in Cambridge.
Community use of facilities
We enjoy facilities partnerships with a range of organisations in our local communities. Anglia Ruskin University makes extensive use of the Sports facilities on the Union Road site and we also have links with: Ashdon Cricket Club, Brazilian Dancing; Cambridge City Junior Hockey Club; Cambridge South Hockey Club; Football Fun Factory; Football Training 5-a-side football; Mini Athletics; Porch Group, London (football); Sue Raven Pure Rhythm; Saffron Walden Judo Club; Wenden Cricket Club; Saffron Walden Badminton Club; Saffron Walden Netball Club; Tempos Performing Arts; Thaxted Cricket Club; The Leys School; and Bell English School.
We are pleased to celebrate our donors’ support with appropriate recognition within our Stephen Perse schools. Recognition is tailored to the nature of the gift and we keep our donors updated about the impact of their support with regular reports in a variety of formats and invitations to see the Foundation’s work in action.
We aim to build a long-term partnership between the Stephen Perse Foundation and its supporters. Together we can achieve our common mission to educate and inspire the contributors to tomorrow’s world, sharing a high-quality education, which provides each individual with enhanced life chances and the tools to best contribute to building a stronger, more equitable, thriving society.