At the Annual View in October, the occasion when the Trustees of the Dulwich Estate invite their beneficiaries to inspect the Estate and receive the details of the accounts for the preceding year, the three Dulwich Foundation schools received good news. The total income raised by the Estate for its beneficiaries in 2005-6 amounted to £5.488 million (compared with £4.979 million in the previous year). An equal amount is distributed to the three Dulwich schools, with adjustments made according to the number of pupils. The 2006 distribution was as follows: (2005 figures in brackets) Dulwich College received £1.883 million [£1.679], Alleyn's School received £1.403 million [£1.246] and James Allen's Girls' School £1.27 million [£1.138]. Since 2001, the amount distributed each year has doubled.

In addition a capital sum of £20 million was distributed amongst the Foundation schools ,which also includes St Olaves' and St Saviour's Grammar School Foundation and the Central Foundation Schools of London. The schools outside of Dulwich receive a share 3.248% and 10.923% respectively of both the annual and the surplus income. The three Dulwich schools jointly receive 85.829%. Thus each of the Dulwich schools received an additional sum from the Estate of approximately £5.73 million in this periodic allocation of accrued capital.

In addition, between 1995-2000, a capital sum of over £37 million was released from the Estate to the various schools. Both these windfalls are exempt from taxation and are required by the Charity Commission to be invested. The interest from these funds may be applied by the schools to fund scholarships or used to borrow against for capital projects.

This latest windfall is timely because attention is at present being focussed on the independent schools' sector and how they can demonstrate they can serve the public good sufficiently to be entitled to charity status.

All three Dulwich schools, in various degrees, make their facilities available to the public and state schools and some help with literacy and other programmes. However their main defence of their charity status, which brings the schools exemption from taxation, is the large number of scholarships each offers. While it is usual to offer a third remission on fees, in cases of need, half or even full scholarships are awarded. The schools are now in the happy position to be able to increase their numbers of scholarships still further. However, the funding of scholarships is very expensive. A capital sum of £1 million might be required to offer an annual full scholarship to run for the full six years of tuition and still maintain the value of the capital. Of course this means that six pupils will benefit at any one time from the award of an annual scholarship because each award will last for the six years of education from 11-17.

The Dulwich Estate may therefore be seen to be ably fulfilling the intention of its Founder, Edward Alleyn, in providing the funds to enable the child of poorer parents to take advantage of a good education as a preparation for university.

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