Meet the funder: Wolfson Foundation

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Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of The Wolfson Foundation explains how The Secondary Education Programme supports new builds, refurbishments or equipment projects related to science, information or communications technology.

The Wolfson Foundation’s Secondary Education Programme currently allocates approximately £1.75m each year to fund projects in science, information or communications technology directly related to libraries, languages, music, or the arts, with the aim of encouraging ‘excellence’. Grants do not usually exceed £40,000 (or £100,000 for large sixth form colleges). Grants are awarded in June and December each year.

When was The Wolfson Foundation established?

The Foundation was set up in 1955 by Sir Isaac Wolfson. Born to a refugee family who had fled persecution in Poland, he joined his father’s picture-framing business at 14, making his fortune with Great Universal Stores. Isaac established the Foundation with his wife Edith and son Leonard. His son succeeded him as Chair until 2010. Leonard Wolfson’s daughter is now Chair.

Why do you support schools?

Support of education is at the heart of the Foundation’s endeavour to engender excellence in British society. Formally constituting one of four areas supported by the Foundation (along with science, health, and the arts), education is a central theme that underpins much of our work.

What types of project do you particularly welcome?

We look for ambitious projects that will have a significant impact on teaching and learning at the school, and particularly those that enable pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to access high-quality education. We are particularly keen to encourage applications from geographical areas that are currently under-represented within the programme, such as Wales. Applicants should read the criteria on our website and contact our team. Projects that are well researched, and show attention to detail and careful costings have a greater chance of success.

Can you share an example project you have funded?

We made an award to The Priory Academy LSST in Lincoln towards equipment for their new Robotics and Innovation Department. This state-of-the-art centre provides cutting-edge facilities to promote excellence in technology education to all years, and to encourage more young people to study STEM subjects. This was an ambitious project to reinvigorate pupils’ study of technology and ultimately to inspire the next generation of engineers.

To check your school's eligibility and to find out hpw to apply for funding through the The Wolfson Foundation Secondary Education Programme, go to wolfson.org.uk.