Private schools defend rejection of £1m donation for poor white pupils

The decision by Dulwich College and Winchester College has been criticised by Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission


TWO OF Britain’s most prestigious private schools have defended their decision to refuse a £1 million donation to establish a scholarship solely for poor white boys.

Dulwich College and Winchester College rejected the exclusive gift from philanthropist and former student Sir Bryan Thwaites over concerns the scholarship would contravene equality laws and their values.

Thwaites, 96, had hoped to donate £400,000 to Dulwich College in south London and £800,000 to Winchester College, based in Hampshire, The Times reported.

A spokesman for Winchester College said: “Acceptance of a bequest of this nature would neither be in the interests of the school as a charity nor the interests of those it aims to support through its work. Notwithstanding legal exceptions to the relevant legislation, the school does not see how discrimination on grounds of a boy’s colour could ever be compatible with its values.”

These sentiments were echoed in a statement on the matter from Dulwich College.

“The community at Dulwich is proudly diverse, both socio-economically and ethnically, reflecting our location. Bursaries are an engine of social mobility and they should be available to all who pass our entrance examinations, irrespective of their background,” The Times reported a spokesman for the school said.

While the schools have been clear in their reasoning for rejecting the substantial donations, their decision has attracted criticism.

Thwaites told The Times: “If Cambridge University can accept a much larger donation in support of black students, why cannot I do the same for underprivileged white British?”

In 2018 Stormzy established a scholarship specifically for black British students attending Cambridge University.

Following the introduction of the grime artist’s scholarship, Cambridge University reported a rise in its intake of black students, taking the number of black students to above 3 per cent for the first time. The record increase was partly credited to what senior pro-vice-chancellor (education), professor Graham Virgo called the “Stormzy effect”.

Thwaites added: “Winchester said it would harm its reputation by accepting my bequest, but in my opinion it would gain enormously by being seen to address what is the severe national problem of the underperforming white cohort in schools.”

Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, put the rejection down to a “lethal cocktail of inverted snobbery, racial victimhood and liberal guilt” and described white boys as “today’s educational left-behinds”.

Writing in Standpoint magazine, he said: “I doubt that I’ll ever work out why the British appear untroubled that so many of their children emerge from over a decade of expensive, compulsory education with scarcely more in the way of literacy and numeracy than the average Neanderthal.”

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