The Leadership Award

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What is the award?

The Rank Foundation School Leadership Award recognizes "outstanding leadership potential" in candidates requiring some financial support to complete their education. It was created in order to invest in "the seed corn of the future and the leaders of tomorrow" on the initiative of Robin Cowen, Lord Rank's son-in-law and successor as Chairman of the Rank Foundation.

Who qualifies for the award?

In order to qualify for the Award, applicants must be:

  • at a participating independent or state school
  • in need of financial support to complete their school or university careers, and
  • regarded by their Head as possessing outstanding leadership potential.


See here for more details.

When did the Rank School Leadership Award start?

In 1978: the Award recognizes the leadership potential of outstanding individuals in the belief that leadership may be exhibited in any sphere of activity or walk of life. By definition, leaders are highly motivated to excel in their chosen fields but also confident enough to pursue their own passions and define their own areas of interest. The Award invests in leaders as individuals and exemplars, not as stereotypes.

How many at school receive the leadership award each year?

Currently, between 10 and 25 Leadership Awards are made by the Trustees each year.

Do I have to pay the funding back?


What is expected of Rank Fellows at school?

It is a formal requirement that Award holders spend two weeks working for a not-for-profit organisation where the Rank Foundation has very strong links. More broadly, Fellows at School are encouraged to continue to demonstrate the qualities of leadership that the Award recognizes.

What is expected of Rank Fellows once they have left school?

As holders of the Rank Foundation Leadership Award, Rank Fellows are encouraged to behave as leaders in society, in short, to inspire others by their example. In practical terms, it is hoped that they will contribute to society and will be active among the community of Fellows, for example, by participating in events.

Why was the award anonymous?

The Rank Foundation had two major reasons for discretion in the first decade or so of the Leadership Awards: a wish to remain in the background as a grant-giving charity and a concern that there might be a flood of applications from across the independent school sector.

When did the award stop being anonymous?

In the 1990s.

What else does the Rank Foundation support?

See here for more details.

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