A PRIVATE Winchester school for girls is reintroducing a bursary to fund two places for students.

St Swithun’s School is aiming to provide two full bursaries every year to girls through its Bramston Bursary Foundation.

Working with its partner charities and the council, St Swithun’s said it will identify girls who are living in care or at home on the brink of going into care, but who would thrive emotionally and academically in the stability of the boarding school environment at St Swithun’s.

The Bramston Bursary Foundation has an annual fund-raising target of £250,000, which, fund-matched by the school itself, will provide bursaries for two girls joining at 11+, covering the costs of school fees plus 10 per cent for the additional cost of school uniform, trips, social outings and transportation.

Headmistress Jane Gandee said: "The Bramston Bursary Foundation was established in the name of Anna Bramston who founded St Swithun’s in 1884 with the vision to provide talented and hard-working girls, irrespective of background, with the opportunity to reach their full potential through education.

"We have relaunched the foundation to focus on raising funds only for full life-changing transformational bursaries which will allow girls who would not otherwise be able to afford any part of the school fees the opportunity to benefit from a St Swithun’s education."

St Swithun’s is part of the Boarding School Partnerships, a government-backed service providing expertise and information about boarding school placements for vulnerable young people. It is also working directly with Hampshire County Council’s social care teams.

There are around 95,000 children in the UK who are looked after away from home; 1,100 of whom are in Hampshire. According to figures from the department of education, 18 per cent of children in care achieve a minimum of five GCSEs at grades A* to C, compared with 60 per cent of children not in care.

Ms Gandee added: "Through the work of the Bramston Bursary Foundation, St Swithun’s aims to provide stability to children who might otherwise move schools a number of times during their educational career through changes in foster arrangements.

"We are doing what we can to break the cycle of underachievement and improve the life prospects of our Bramston Bursary Foundation students."