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Donor gives £2.5m towards new modern language department

04 November 2011

A former pupil of King Edward's School has made a £2.5m donation towards a new Modern Language Department at the school.

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, "I am delighted to be able to make this gift to my old school to ensure that the school stays amongst the very best in the teaching of languages. Languages were important to me when I studied at the school and have remained important to me throughout my career."

The gift will be a very substantial contribution to a major development of the teaching facilities in the school. The £5m project, which will start in the summer of 2012, comprises not only a new Modern Language Department, but also the extension and renewal of the science laboratories and a new Sixth Form Centre. This project forms part of a £20m+ building programme to improve the facilities for teaching, music, drama and sport within the school. The first phase of this programme is the construction of the £11m Paul and Jill Ruddock Performing Arts Centre in collaboration with King Edward VI High School for Girls. This is due to be completed in April 2012. In addition, there are well-developed plans for the final phase, which will involve the building of a new sports hall and swimming pool.

The Chief Master, John Claughton, said, "This is a gift of great scale and significance. It will enable us to create a state-of-the-art Modern Language Department. The teaching of Modern Languages is very important to this school, at a time when there are concerns about language teaching in this country. The school has been consistently successful in getting boys into the best universities to read languages and I can't see that changing."

Every boy at King Edward's takes at least one modern language to IGCSE and, since the introduction of the International Baccalaureate in September 2010, every boy in the Sixth Form also studies at least one language in the Sixth Form. Languages studied at King Edward's include French, Spanish, German and Italian - as well as Latin and Ancient Greek.

This gift also means that the school has now raised over £10m from former pupils of the school in recent years. Fellow former pupils, Paul Ruddock and John Osborn, have previously made generous gifts and the school has also raised nearly £2m in the last 18 months for the provision of Assisted Places.