It seems natural to me that I should support education. It is the one thing that levels the playing field between people who have economic or social privilege and those who do not. I believe that education guarantees a fairer society. Sir Peter Ogden, Founder and former Chair of The Ogden Trust
In 1998, Peter Ogden transferred £22.5 million of his own wealth into a new trust fund to help very able students from less-well-off families access various educational opportunities. He was determined that opportunities should not be denied to bright children simply because their parents could not afford it. In 1999, The Ogden Trust was officially launched.
The Trust’s first initiative was the provision of scholarships and bursaries at some of the UK's leading independent schools. These were available to high-achieving students from state primaries whose families could not afford the independent school fees. Ogden Sixth Form Science Scholarships were launched in 2001 and Undergraduate Science Scholarships in 2004. The Sixth Form Science Scholarships closed after the September 2016 entry and the Undergraduate scheme welcomed its final cohort in 2018; this was part of a shift to providing school-level rather than individual support. The focus of the scholarships has evolved over the years, and the Trust has concentrated its funding on supporting physics, reflecting Sir Peter's own academic and scientific interests.
The Trust has a long-standing relationship with Durham University, where Sir Peter completed his undergraduate degree and PhD, both in physics. The Trust provided significant funding to set up the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics at the University and in 2014 made a £3.35m donation towards a new Ogden Centre, which officially opened in March 2017.
I get really fed up with people thinking it is cool not to understand science. People are horrified if you rubbish Shakespeare, but quite proud to admit to not being able to change a plug. But who couldn't love physics? It's all about why we're here. It's about life itself. How could it not be fascinating? Sir Peter Ogden, Founder and former Chair of The Ogden Trust
Between 2000 and 2006, the Trust provided over £1 million of funding to the state secondary school system through the Specialist Schools Programme, helping over 50 schools to leverage funding to achieve specialist status, mainly in science. Through the Specialist Schools Programme and the scholarship schemes, the Trust built close relationships with several schools; from these relationships, the school partnership model was developed – specialist science schools worked with other local schools to provide enhancement activities.
The first school partnership was launched in 2005 (formerly known as science partnerships). They are now central to the Ogden strategy and have largely replaced individual scholarships and bursaries. The Trust runs several annual internship schemes and supports other projects and programmes which meet our remit to promote the teaching and learning of physics.
In 2017, Cameron Ogden replaced Sir Peter as Chair of the Trust and the founding Chief Executive, Tim Simmons, retired; he has been replaced by Clare Harvey.