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King's College London Widening Participation Programme

The Bowyers have supported education since 1629, when James Wood, in his bequest to the Company required, amongst other legacies, three scholarships to be provided to Oxford University and two to Cambridge for sons of Freemen. If no such candidates, then to five poor scholars from Christ Church School or such other school as the Master and Wardens think fit.

Today our support for university education is focused on King's College London, where every year we sponsor two students who are studying for postgraduate degrees, one in History and one in the War Studies. In addition to these two postgraduate students we also support King's K+ Widening Participation programme. This programme is aimed at students from low income backgrounds and vulnerable groups. Specifically, 16-year-old students from non-selective state schools in Greater London whose parents or carers have not themselves been to university. This represents an opportunity to those who otherwise might not get into a university and in many ways remains close to James Wood's original legacy to "the five poor scholars".

The K+ programme is a two-year programme of events, activities and academic workshops created to help encourage and support the students with university application and provide the skills they need to succeed as an undergraduate student. The programme is outstandingly successful. The most recent figures we have available, from a recent cohort on the programme, showed an overall progression rate to any university of 91.2% and even more impressively, of those who progressed to university, 56.6% enrolled at Russell Group universities. It is pleasing to think that after almost 400 years we are still helping students realise their potential.

David Laxton
Upper Warden

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