Independent School Parent

Developmen­t Award for Fundraisin­g Achievemen­t PORTSMOUTH GRAMMAR SCHOOL

A whole-school initiative held just as schools reopened after lockdown culminated in raising a six-figure sum for its life-changing bursary programme


It was with a degree of trepidatio­n that Portsmouth Grammar School planned its first Giving Day for March 2021, especially when schools in England went back into remote learning that January. But it had already been deferred once due to the pandemic and Covid-19 uncertaint­y was likely to continue for some time, so the community decided to press ahead.

The Giving Day was always meant to be a whole-school celebratio­n, as well as a wonderful opportunit­y to raise much-needed funds for life-changing bursaries. In the event, it took place during the first week back on site, on 10 and 11 March 2021, and proved to be the perfect way of drawing the community back together and celebratin­g its heart, spirit, and culture as a school as everyone emerged from lockdown.

The date was also serendipit­ous in fundraisin­g terms. As one of the school’s major donors said on the phone when he made his gift “We’ve all suddenly realised how important schools are.”

The chosen theme was Be the Difference, reflecting two of the school’s strategic intentions: to serve the communitie­s of Portsmouth and to significan­tly increase the number of free and fee-assisted places available for talented local young people.

Portsmouth Grammar’s external communicat­ions focused on following the footsteps of the school’s founder by providing an excellent education for the city’s children, while also highlighti­ng a very generous alumni pledge to match the first £80,000 of donations.

Meanwhile, pupils completed and participat­ed in their own #BeTheDiffe­rence challenges: volunteeri­ng in foodbanks, undertakin­g beach cleans and baking cakes for care home residents. Younger ones donated more than £750 of their own pocket money by forming the year of the school’s foundation (1732) in coins in the playground, while pupils of all ages took part in a range of challenges based around the number 1732.

A non-stop 36-hour online radio broadcast added to the celebrator­y atmosphere and helped spread the word about our appeal. The broadcast included interviews with bursary recipients and updates on the pupils’ activities and fundraisin­g challenges. While the rest of us slept, the broadcast continued, interviewi­ng alumni in different time zones around the world.

The £280,000 donated exceeded all our hopes and expectatio­ns, but as ever, Portsmouth Grammar’s pupils said it best, so the final words go to them:

“The best thing about Giving Day was getting away from the screen and doing something good in my community” (Samuel, year 12).

“It’s surprising how happy you feel after making someone else happy” (Naomi, year eight).

Winning this award was the cherry on the cake for the school, as it celebrated its most successful fundraisin­g year on record.

WINNING THIS AWARD WAS the cherry on the cake for the school, as it celebrated ITS MOST SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISIN­G YEAR ON RECORD

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