What Foundation pupils and parents say

Adam C

The following profile appeared in the Bridewell Report, Changing Lives, in 2019.

Adam lived in Hackney with his mother and older brothers. Adam was the youngest son of five boys, all born within ten years of each other. Their father died when Adam was six. The family first came to King Edward’s when Adam applied to join our 1st Form. A social worker doing a home visit reported; “this was one of the strongest cases that I have home visited so far – in my view it is imperative that the boys secure a place in boarding to offer respite and a chance to blossom in their own space.” The King Edward’s team reviewed the notes and application and were quick to recognise this was a family with a genuine need. After accepting Adam into the 1st Form, we also admitted his elder brother to the 3rd Form in October that same year, and another brother to our Sixth Form a year later. Adam’s mum suffered from a severe and enduring personality disorder, including anxiety, depression and agoraphobia and this significantly affected her ability to care for and support her sons. During their early childhood the boys had been on the Child in Need register quite a few times; there were several problems within the home environment that impeded their educational and emotional development. The youngest boys often stayed at the homes of friends and relatives when the situation at home got particularly difficult. Before attending King Edward’s, the primary schools they attended made sure that the boys had breakfast and provided them with coats and shoes in winter. Whilst at King Edward’s, the family was threatened with eviction more than once and on one occasion the boys were able to stay in School over the Exeat weekend while King Edward’s staff worked with social workers and housing officers until the situation was resolved. The mother’s health problems continued, but over the years her contact with the School and her trust in the staff increased, enabling her to attend more school events, most importantly meetings with staff at Parents’ Conferences, despite her agoraphobic tendencies. In spite of all the challenges they faced, King Edward’s staff found the boys to be friendly, engaging and keen to participate fully in School life. All three boys became Prefects in their final years in the School and have been successful in their studies at university.

Rudo D - Pupil 2009 - 2016

The following profile appeared in the Bridewell Report, Changing Lives, in 2016.

“I was introduced to King Edward’s through Surrey Young Carers – an organisation that provides support to families when a family member is ill. My dad has  struggled with mental illnesses. When things were really bad he would go to hospital – it was difficult because Mum would be sad and I missed him. In January 2009 we were delighted to hear I had passed the tests and been offered a place, and that most of my fees would be paid by the School and the Royal National Children’s Foundation (RNCF). We would never have considered boarding school without their encouragement, nor been able to accept the place without their help. When I came to King Edward’s I wasn’t homesick. There was always a relaxing and calm environment here. It was not that I didn’t want to be with my parents, and look after my Dad, but I knew when I was here they could focus on each other, knowing I was having fun and concentrating on school work. From the beginning I joined in lots of sports and activities that I hadn’t taken part in before – shooting, croquet and mastering the school climbing wall. Most of all I have enjoyed hockey which was new to me and have played hockey for the school since First Year – I am now Captain of the First Team. Being at King Edward’s has helped me engage with academic study more than I would have considered before. There are visiting lecturers and external speakers; visiting scientists come to our Café Scientifique to talk about their work and research. I particularly enjoy science and hope to take a degree in Neuroscience. This is a result of my Dad’s problems and the School’s encouragement to study science. I hope to study human behaviour, how things go wrong, how things can be solved. It is interesting to realise that if there is one small link missing in your brain, it can affect your life so greatly. There is much to understand and it will be exciting to become involved in discoveries. I want to thank the School, the RNCF and everyone else who has helped me over the last 7 years. Without you I would not be in the position I am now, with an exciting future.” Rudo is studying Biology & Psychology at university.

Ed K - Pupil 2011 - 2016

Ed with HRH The Princess Royal

The following profile appeared in the Bridewell Report, Changing Lives, in 2016.

“I always enjoyed challenges and looked forward to being away from home and getting used to a new environment. It seemed fun in a Boarding House with other boys my age. I was quiet in the first term, but soon came out of my shell, taking every opportunity to try new sports. I particularly enjoyed hockey (I now captain the First Team) and have played more cricket here than ever before. Previously I sung in choirs in Primary School and at Church and at King Edward’s I joined Chapel Choir straight away. The first Christmas I did the solo at the start of the Carol Service. Last year I took on my biggest role: the role of Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls. Every year I help with the Inter-House Drama and Music competition – a good way to get the boys in the House working together. It can be hard at first when people want to do their own thing instead of working for the House, but after a while more boys become involved, until eventually everybody is doing something. It’s a good feeling to see it all come together on stage with lights, costumes and the music. Encouraging people to work together in the House is part of my role as Head of House. I thought if I got to this position, I wouldn’t just ‘tell’ the boys what to do, but would encourage and advise them so they want to work together for the good of the House, in the same way I do. I hope I have earned the respect of my peers. In spring 2016 I challenged myself to cycle from King Edward’s to St Bride’s Church and back. My route took me from King Edward’s to Christ’s Hospital (our sister school in Horsham), onto the Imperial War Museum in Southwark (where the school was located for some time), then Fleet Street and St Bride’s Church, (where Bridewell Palace used to stand), before heading home to Witley. I took a slight detour in the first part of my ride, getting a bit lost on my way to Christ’s Hospital. The country lanes were a challenge, but I was at home cycling in London, when I got through the traffic quicker than my support car, and had to wait for them to catch up. It was a long ride back to King Edward’s and I arrived in the dark at 8pm. I had called a friend to let him know I was nearly home and he must have told others. As I came up to the front of the School I was surprised to see a crowd of people waiting for me – I was moved to see so many people cheering and waving. There were two reasons for doing the cycle challenge. I wanted to push myself physically, doing something unusual for someone in my position, my age, just before my exams. And I wanted to raise money for bursaries, so other pupils can have the same opportunities I’ve had at King Edward’s. Looking back at my time at King Edward’s I see how I have been changed. The School took the framework that I was and fixed it a little. It has strengthened everything in my personality and ambition. I am now able to look forward to my next challenge with confidence and enthusiasm.” Ed is at university studying Construction Management.

Samuel H - Pupil until 2020

The following profile appeared in the Bridewell Report, Changing Lives, in 2019.

Sam is an only child who lives with his single mother in London. Sam’s mother has progressive multiple sclerosis, and while she was managing to cope, she was not
able to work. Sam was taking on some degree of caring for himself and his mother, often doing the shopping, cooking and washing. He explained that he didn’t mind doing this as he “liked cooking”. Shortly after joining King Edward’s, Sam’s mother required regular daily visits from professional carers to look after her, much to Sam’s relief, enabling him to enjoy boarding activities, spending time being the boy he could be, meeting with friends after school, being able to concentrate on schooling undisturbed by challenging demands more suited to an adult. Sam’s attendance at junior school had not always been good, as his mother wasn’t able to get him there early enough every morning but once he was boarding at King Edward’s, this was no longer a problem. With 100% attendance, and somewhere quiet to do his homework in the evenings, Sam’s academic grades improved. One of the activities Sam took up at King Edward’s was drama- participating in School and House productions, taking drama lessons leading to LAMDA exams and qualifications. Last summer he achieved his Gold Medal in Solo Acting with Merit so has now completed his LAMDA studies. This is a considerable achievement from a boy who didn’t want to stand out before. Several years after joining King Edward’s, Sam’s mother’s health deteriorated further requiring a prolonged stay in hospital for neurosurgery. During this stay, she was diagnosed with another brain condition – on top of the multiple sclerosis – which resulted in dementia-type symptoms. Her cognitive problems increased to the point she required full-time carers to stay with her. Understandably, this has all caused additional worry for Sam, but the School and House staff have been able to put in place a number of interventions to encourage and support him as much as possible. He is currently preparing to take his A-levels this summer in English Literature, Business Management and Religious Studies. He is an inspiration to all who meet him.

Fay D - Pupil 2002 - 2009

The following profile appeared in the Bridewell Report, Changing Lives, in 2017.

“Being distracted at an early age by my parents’ difficult separation and home life being very much in turmoil, resulted in me falling far behind in my education and losing confidence in my ability. King Edward’s not only provided me with the educational support I desperately needed, but also pastoral care, routine and stability. I had a brilliant seven years at King Edward’s which I feel so honoured to have had. Looking back, 11 is very young to be living away from home and it was a very difficult decision for my mother to make, but she knew it was the best possible decision that could be made in the circumstances. I admire the sacrifices that my mother made to ensure that I was in the best environment for my needs.  Throughout my time at King Edward’s, I was supported by a number of charities, including The Royal National Children’s Foundation, The Artists’ General Benevolent Institution and the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT), as well as a school bursary. Without this support I would not have been able to go to King Edward’s. Knowing that there were people who believed in me and had invested in my education, gave me a confidence in my ability. This confidence led me to achieve 10 GCSEs, the International Baccalaureate, receive a Degree in Textile Design at Central Saint Martins and complete a scholarship at the Royal Drawing School. I am now 26 and work as a printmaker and drawing teacher and am in the process of setting up an art school that is focused on making art classes affordable and accessible for people in my local community.”

“I joined the School at age 11. I never looked back. I enjoyed the sport, House social activities and especially the fresh air. I even enjoyed learning. My teachers and house parents believed in me and encouraged me to achieve. King Edward’s gave me a place to call home and for me to practice my faith. It also gave me the better social skills and confidence to move on with my life.”

Boarding pupil on a bursary

“Words cannot express my gratitude for everything you have done and continue to do for my son.  From the first time we spoke until today, your kindness and efforts have been relentless. Not only have your efforts changed my faith in humanity, but you’ve also given my son a lifeline. A chance to have a life and future and for that I am eternally grateful.”

Mrs W, current parent 2019

“It’s “Amy’s” last day today.  What a rewarding journey! It would not have been possible without King Edward’s. Words will never be enough to appreciate how you have completely changed the course of her life, from hopeless to endless opportunities. Thank you very much. “

Mrs S, parent of 2018 leaver
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