Sydney James Stern (Baron Wandsworth) died in February 1912. In his will, amongst other bequests, was detailed a wish for the foundation of a residential institution for orphaned children from a family background in agriculture. To this end he left a substantial sum of money to fund such an institution. This subsequently resulted in the creation of Gosden House (Bramley) opened in 1920 and LWC opened in 1922.
Initially these schools were totally supported by funds left by the Founder. In the early years this was feasible when costs were low, the estate provided food for the pupils as well as being a profitable commercial operation while the provision of educational facilities and its attendant costs were limited.
Time however began to put pressure on the Foundation funds, particularly during the Depression, and towards the end of WW2 it was decided to open the school to also accept fee paying pupils in order to provide a further income, whilst at the same time the decision was taken to close Gosden House. During this post War period Foundation pupils continued to represent a large percentage of the total school population, partly further supported by County Education authorities and later by the introduction of assisted places. The percentage of Foundationers in relation to the overall school population slowly began to diminish.
The demise of the government Assisted Places Scheme in 1997 and the fall in nominal investment returns led to a lower income for the Foundation. The cost of a place in Independent education generally has also risen significantly faster than inflation.
The combined effect of these trends has been that between 1997 and 2010 the number of Foundationers has fallen from 105 to just 50 of the 534 pupils currently attending LWC. The Governors decided that they could not allow this trend to continue. The very special atmosphere and ethos of LWC depends on the work of the Foundation continuing and this requires increasing the number of Foundationers again. To this end the Foundation Development Office was established in 2004.
The objective of the Development Office is to generate sufficient income to support and raise the number of Foundationers able to attend the College.
A number of potential sources of income are being addressed. Although this is a very broad based approach that includes Corporate support, Grant Making Trusts and Events a key source of support will be former pupils and their parents. A new committee has been formed by the governors to consider new and more effective ways of raising the profile of, and funds for, the Foundation.
The Sternians’ Association recognises this Development Office exercise as being of major importance to the College and its continuing commitment to the aims laid down by the Founder in his will. The relationship between the Sternians’ Association and Lord Wandsworth College is formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding which can be seen on the following link – Click Here