GDST Bursary Fund | Girls' Day School Trust

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GDST Bursary Fund

Her future. Your Gift.

Put simply, GDST bursaries change lives.

They enable us to offer an outstanding education to girls who would otherwise be denied it. It means those girls can fulfil and even exceed their own expectations – and it means they can leave school ready to take on the world’s challenges and win.

As a UK registered charity (charity no. 306983), the GDST ensures that all funds are designated to the schools in full where a school is specified by the donor. All other income to the GDST bursary fund is used to support the GDST bursary programme where the need is greatest.

"I was incredibly fortunate to secure an assisted place to Croydon High School. I was challenged every day to be the very best I could be which left me with lasting ambition and a desire to learn".

Natalie Orringe, Croydon High School alumna (1998)


Currently, we support 1,100 pupils at our senior schools with a means-tested bursary and since 1997, we have helped over 4,500 girls with a bursary; 4,500 lives transformed.

Our goal is to make GDST education available to the best and brightest girls, whatever their background. We can do this because of the wide range charitable gifts from our supporters, from alumnae to charitable trusts and companies. However, we have ambitious targets to increase the number of full bursaries we can offer to help transform even more lives. 

Your gift to this campaign will make a difference. All donations, no matter how modest, added together can make a real impact to the school and its pupils – whether it is £10 a month or £1,000 a year.


Dr Bethan James, Howell's School

Being awarded a Howell's bursary enabled me to achieve my academic goals in a stimulating and active environment, where we were always encouraged to follow our dreams.  I attended a top University, obtained a PhD in astrophysics and was able to fulfil my ambition of becoming an astrophysicist. I am truly grateful for the opportunities that Howell’s gave me, along with the friendships that I acquired there”

Dr Bethan James, Howell's alumna (2002)

Astronomer, Space Telescope Science Institute (USA)


Opening Doors: Dr Bethan James' Story

Discover how a GDST bursary helped propel Dr Bethan James on to a career in astronomy.

Charlotte Brown, Sheffield High School for Girls

"I definitely didn't come from a similar background as a lot of my classmates at Sheffield Girls'. My mother being a teaching assistant and my father being a warehouse worker, neither decided to pursue education past college-level, but as a naturally academic person I'd always aspired to one day go to university. On top of that, I went to a secondary school where a lot of pupils struggled academically and with bad behaviour, so I felt like the odd one out and experienced a lot of bullying and problems with mental health as a result.

One of my teachers noticed how hard I was working and pulled me to one side to offer me a prospectus for Sheffield Girls' Sixth form, and I was later overjoyed to receive a full bursary that would allow me to attend despite my family not being able to afford the fees.

I loved it from the very first day: finally being around people like myself, who were academically driven and always striving to be kind, I was the happiest I had been in years. My self-esteem blossomed with the support of teachers and peers to the point that I'm a completely different and more confident person, taking part in everything I can instead of shying away.

Academically too, the school was unparalleled. I am confident that the reason I achieved my A*AA grades and will be the first in my family to attend university, is in large part due to the opportunities, excellent teaching and supportive environment I had during Sixth Form. Sheffield Girls' will stick with me and empower me to fulfil my potential way past leaving the school, and I never would have had any of the wonderful experiences of the past two years without the help of a bursary".

Charlotte BrownSheffield High School for Girls

Isoken Alli-Usman, Putney High School

Isoken (Soké) Alli-Usman (née Idemudia) is a qualified solicitor working in thefield of project finance and international energy as Senior Legal Counsel atGlobeleq. She trained at one of the best law firms in the UK and then at one ofthe most respected international US law firms.Soké grew up in Vauxhall, South London. When she first applied to Putney HighSchool GDST, no one in her neighbourhood had even heard of the school, letalone been entered for the entrance exam. Soké did not let that stop her andPutney awarded her a place, having been impressed with her both in the examand at interview. Unable to afford the full fees, Soké was awarded a bursary andjoined Year 7 in 1996.She quickly fitted in and made friends throughout the school, excelling in herstudies and developing a particular love of poetry and music, as well as regularlycompeting in tennis and athletics. Her natural leadership qualities made her an obvious choice for Head Girl, a role which she performed with gusto in her finalyear.

The years that Soké spent at Putney High gave her access to a first classeducation and the broadest of opportunities; but more than that, they taught herthat there need be no limit to her aspirations.

"All of this was only possible becasue a bursary allowed me to go to Putney where I was given the belief I could achieve my goals. I was taught to develop resilience and to be pro-active. My school gave me the tools to achieve. Putney shaped my life. It has a special place in my heart".

Isoken Alli-Usman, Putney High School