Originally founded to educate the children of Oxford Dons, it was the School’s first Dragon, Skipper Lynam, who believed that talented pupils are found in all corners of Oxfordshire and beyond, and that a progressive approach would foster the character he looked for in a school. Skipper also believed that children should enjoy their schooling and be prepared for the world that lay ahead of them. Rising fees in recent years have narrowed the range of backgrounds of our pupils, which threatens to alter the character of the School.
Dragon School funds up to five children in each year group who would otherwise be unable to attend due to financial circumstance. Families applying for bursarial support must submit a financial questionnaire, which is then approved through independent, external review. Once financial need is established and the level of support determined by the Bursar, candidates are assessed for admission like any other Dragon. Many factors are considered, and ultimately, children are accepted who can both contribute to and gain from the School – whether academically, in sport, the arts or through their disposition and personality. Applicants hail from a wide range of backgrounds and have many talents, truly representing the special and unique Dragon character.
In 2002, The Dragon marked its 125th anniversary with the launch of the Transformational Bursary Programme. The first four children funded by the scheme joined the School in 2003 and since then, almost 100 pupils have benefitted from transformational bursaries. As we approach a new milestone, 150 years of the Dragon in 2027, we have exciting plans to grow and secure our bursary programme in perpetuity.
Unlike many educational institutions, the Dragon does not benefit from an endowment. We must therefore raise at least £450,000 each year to fund our current programme, with gifts of all sizes and frequencies making a real difference. We are committed to securing the School’s future by expanding our fundraising efforts and the help and support received from the Dragon community plays a critical role in our success. We are deeply grateful to all those who continue this tradition.