What we do
The BFSS is a grant giving organisation that offers funding for education projects in the UK and around the world.
- International projects which improve access, quality and sustainability of education in marginalised and low-income communities.
- UK projects which improve educational outcomes and life chances for Young Carers and Care Experienced Young People.
- Educational support for those displaced by conflict.
- Small awards from our Subsidiary Trusts to support education in areas around the UK.
BFSS began with a visionary who wanted to maximise educational opportunity for all.
Joseph Lancaster devised an innovative method of teaching which made it affordable for poorer families: by having the schoolmaster delegate basic teaching of younger children to older pupils, called monitors.
He opened his first school in 1798, extended into teacher training and drew support from philanthropists who founded the British and Foreign Schools Society to provide British Schools to continue his work.
The Society grew and was established formally as a charity by Royal Charter in 1906 (charity number 314286). Today Joseph Lancaster’s legacy helps fund projects to support inclusion in schools, in the UK and around the world.
Funding projects to address disadvantage
When public education and teacher training became state-led, the BFSS refocused and now gives grants to charities that address disadvantage by supporting tens of thousands of children and their communities each year. We have also continued to support his vision for sharing knowledge to help maximise educational opportunity for all.
Society members, who were initially philanthropists supporting BFSS’s vision, are now primarily educators, education charity staff or volunteers and academics. They give in different ways, by sharing their time and expertise and, increasingly, by sharing knowledge to help charities working for our common cause.
We believe in the right of children and young people to education as a driver for personal development, well-being, and equality of opportunity. We are committed to diversity and inclusion, funding projects to support education for young people and upskilling local people through teacher training, in marginalised and low-income communities.
These projects enable tens of thousands of young people to transform their life chances through education every year, while also benefitting their families and communities.
This commitment to maximising learning, which underpinned the original pioneering vision, extends across the diverse organisations affiliated to BFSS. As well as our grant giving activity, there is the BFSS archive, now hosted by Brunel University, which offers opportunities to learn from history; as well as various subsidiary trusts which were largely created when former British School buildings were sold, and now primarily offer grants for teacher training and education.
Our members and the charities we fund are keeping Joseph Lancaster’s vision alive, with innovative projects to maximise educational opportunity for all.