Believing in Bursaries



Anton Maree is passionate about education having grown up in South Africa and attending one of South Africa’s great boarding schools, Queen’s College. He tells us…

“Leading by example is an important part of my philosophy. Consideration, care, equality and reflection is at the heart of all that I aspire to do at the school.”

Believing in bursaries at Ackworth School

Ackworth School has always been a place where helping hands have been within reach. A place where children can have a step into life surrounded by people who care and believe in them. So, why should this change now? Maintaining the school’s ethos whilst recognising a proactive solution to remove barriers of ethnicity, class or gender is at the forefront of our Building Futures campaigns. A gift towards our building futures programme would ensure that students with limited means can have the experience of an Ackworth education and ensure they reach their greatest potential. Simplicity, trust, equality, peace and sustainability are at the heart of the Quaker way of life. These principles make possible an education based on mutual respect and trust, and a belief that every member of the community is important, a trait which is so often lacking in modern society. 

Head of Drama, Alistair Boucher

“Ideally, no student would have to pay for an Ackworth education. I have seen the impact and value an Ackworth education can have on a student who never thought they could have such an opportunity: academic achievement, yes, but emotional development, a groundedness, an understanding of themselves as a valued and valuable member of a community.  There are many stories to be told and celebrated from those who have achieved so much, and we owe so much in turn to the amazing donors who support these children along their journeys.” 

Committee member, Chris Allen

Chris believes in the bursary fund because it allows Ackworth to share all it has to offer with a much wider pool of children, irrespective of their background or their family means.  It has always been a core part of the Ackworth mission, in keeping with our Quaker principles, to ensure education extends to those not in affluence, appreciating that everyone benefits from a broader, more inclusive school community. 

Making a difference

Ayham Alhalabi (OS 16 – 18)

Ayham's story tells us of when he was just 18 years old Ayham, his mother, and two younger brothers fled Syria leaving behind their life due to the conflicts of war. Having already lost his father and with  Ayham’s youngest  brother unwell,  Ayham vowed to give his family the best chance to rebuild their future. Read Ayham's story ...

Having managed to safely escape Syria, it was not long before Ayham and his family received the news from United Nations that they had successfully been accepted into the UK. Ayham was in “disbelief” and shared how it was “like a dream”. On 28th April 2014, Ayham, his mother, and two younger brothers arrived in the UK, but Ayham still had the heavy worry of his unwell brother on his shoulders. Ayham’s devotion to his family and brother had previously taken priority over his education and his own future.  

Unfortunately, due to having no record of  Ayham’s  Syrian qualifications and his English very poor, Bradford College could only offer Ayham a course at GCSE level. Realising it would most likely be another four years before he could achieve his dream of studying medicine, Ayham began to question himself. Was he doing the right thing? Was this the end of his journey? Was it time to give up on his dream? In 2015, Ayham started his GCSE courses offered to him by Bradford College, but did not pass all his subjects and therefore was not offered a position of A-Level. Ayham’s resilience was being tested – he re-sat his GCSE’s. This time around he took his exam at a school located outside of Leeds Bradford – that school was Ackworth School.  

During his English exam, Ayham gave a presentation of his experiences in Syria and shared the story of his family’s journey. Taken back by this, Ackworth School offered Ayham a 100% bursary for him to continue his studies, along with additional support for him to be successful. A bright future began to emerge for Ayham.  While he was torn on whether or not to leave his family, he had the full support of his family who recognised that this was an opportunity too good to turn down. Having been a little older than the regular students, Ayham found that football was a perfect way to engage and integrate. His fears of loneliness and not being accepted were wiped away as the teachers and students of Ackworth embraced him.  

Ayham is currently in his third year of studying Pharmacy at Bradford University. Given the help he received, he is paying it forward by providing private tutoring for members of his local community and refugees who have faced similar obstacles. He also hopes his younger brother, now doing very well, will follow in his footsteps and study medicine.   

“Motivation is very important, without it there is no life. Keep believing in yourself and remember,

if you CAN you WILL!” 

Ayham’s story is just one of so many similar refugee stories, though most do not have such a happy ending. It highlights the effects that the gift of giving can have on one individual and in turn their family and community. There were many opportunities for Ayham to give up on himself, and to stop believing – but he didn’t. Here at Ackworth, we recognise the human spirit that Ayham demonstrates, and have done so since John Fothergill opened the school for poor Quaker children. When considering whether to contribute I would ask you to think of our school values and utter the words – Non Sibi Sed Omnibus, “not for oneself, but for all”.  

Your first step in supporting us

You can contact our Development Department on 01977 233 623, or Rebecca.Edgington@ackworthschool.comif you have any questions about helping build futures at Ackworth School. 

What we do

The Opportunities Fund provides aspirational activities for children in our partner primary schools as well as Coram House. Many of these activities involve our pupils by providing opportunities for leadership and social responsibility. Without the generosity of friends, businesses and philanthropists these activities would not be possible.


The Opportunities Fund also provides scholarships and bursaries for deserving children, making it possible for them to attend Ackworth School and helping to address the matter of social mobility in our community.


Most of our facilities are used by the wider community. Our sports fields are used by our local football club and our swimming pool is used extensively to teach primary school pupils how to swim. Our forest school and the Went River is used for educational purposes. We frequently host evets for the elderly in our village and raise money for local, national and international charitable causes.


We offer facilities and coach sports that are not available at our partner schools, engage with businesses to help with sponsoring evets that hep with integration and allow more children to discover the Quaker ethos.


Pease help us to make a positive and lasting difference by making a donation to our Opportunities Fund.


You could help by:

  • Making a donation towards the cost of an enrichment project.
  • Funding an enrichment project. (£2,000).
  • Fund the cost of a scholarship or bursary or series of enrichment projects aimed at local primary school for one year (£6,000).