Leadership Awards

The School Leadership Award is one of the Foundation’s earliest structured programmes, having supported around 1500 young people through their education since its inception in 1978. The Award follows the Foundation’s guiding principles around young people and leadership.

Tim Young, the Director of Education, works with the Heads of around 40-50 schools across the UK: these are schools from both the independent and maintained sector. Heads apply on behalf of students in their GCSE year, young people who are showing outstanding leadership potential and who need financial support to complete their education. This financial help comes in the form of assistance with school fees in independent schools or university tuition fees if in maintained schools.


School Fellows

The Rank Foundation offers financial support to a small number of boys and girls in the Sixth Forms of selected state and independent Schools who are thought to have outstanding leadership potential. Candidates for these School Leadership Awards are put forward to the Foundation by the Heads of a few chosen Schools; the Foundation makes the Awards on the evidence of this exceptional leadership potential and financial need.

It is a requirement of those holding an Award to spend two weeks working for a not-for-profit organisation, typically a Youth and Community group where The Rank Foundation has very strong links. These placements have proved to be remarkable experiences for our award holders, giving them an awareness of leadership of a very different kind to that shown in schools. Placements also provide insight into contrasting aspects of community activity, initiative and support, often in areas of deprivation.

Leadership Awards in Numbers


Award Holders




networking events a year

Celebrating Leadership

Leadership Award holders (also known as School Fellows) attend a Leadership Day in London during each of their years in the sixth form. They also experience a Community Action Placement each summer, spending two weeks with inspirational projects within the Rank network. Connection with the volunteering and mentoring opportunities provided by the Foundation (and Fellowship) helps these young people to develop their leadership potential as fully as possible outside their own schools.

Alumni of the Leadership Award become members of the Rank Fellowship. The Fellowship was launched in November 2003 by the late Fred Packard, grandson of J Arthur Rank and then Chairman of the Foundation. This was timed to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Leadership Award. The Fellowship promotes networking and mutual support among Fellows, encouraging them to invest time and effort in voluntary activities. The Fellowship has organised charities evenings, mentoring and career development evenings, dinners, social entrepreneurship events and workshops for small charities. The Fellowship’s Steering Committee meets four times a year to develop its activities under three distinct headings: communication, charitable work and mentoring. Lindsey Clay has recently taken over the role of  Chairman of the Fellowship, which Jason Chaffer had held since its inception. The Fellowship’s mission is “Nurturing Leaders for the benefit of society”.

The Foundation is involved in other educational initiatives within its overall grants programme, whether developing financial education in Dundee or providing the right framework for post GCSE pathways in a London free school. Educational thinking is naturally embedded within the Foundation’s broad philosophy.

More on the Rank Fellowship