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The Reading List Foundation: an update

Natalie Naik
Talis update

At Talis Insight Europe 2019, we invited Alan Terry, Co-Founder of the Reading List Foundation to talk about the work they do to support students starting university. In this post, Alan provides an update on the students we raised money to support at the event.

The Reading List Foundation is a charity who provide students with the means to purchase books and required resources for their studies, based on nominations from high schools around the UK. We raised £540 at the event, which was match-funded by the Reading List foundation and Talis, find out more here.

With Halloween under our belts, November 5th just passed, and then the mad dash to Christmas (not to mention the small matter of a General Election), we thought it an appropriate time to catch up on our Reading List Foundation Scholarships.  Some of the students are still to claim their awards but based on their school or college nominations, we know we’re supporting a wonderful cohort of students. Among the things said of them by their Heads of Year were the following:


“He is simply an outstanding student in all respects.  But none of the long lists of achievements and awards quite shows him in the round though – you need to see the leadership that made him Head Boy, and the star quality that has led him to write, rehearse and play the lead in three years of drama productions.  He is a force of nature and a truly lovely young man.”

“She came to us with fairly average GCSE grades, but a huge amount of ambition.  She has constantly pushed herself academically, always asking for feedback on how to improve, and has exceeded her predictions by several grades.”

“She has been one of those students who we’ve seen truly blossom in Post-16.  Far too often we talk about a lack of resilience in young people, however, this is not always the case, and students like her are living proof of that.  We are very proud of her achievements and progress.”

“He has demonstrated the utmost tenacity, resilience and sheer determination to succeed, and is thoroughly deserving of this award.”

Later in the year, we’ll have the full list of where – and what – students have gone onto study, but already we know we’re supporting a student reading Law at Bristol, and English and German at Oxford.  In the words of two of the students:

“I am currently studying English & German at the University of Oxford, Queen’s College. The voucher has been such a gift for me, as my reading list for both of the subjects were immense. I used the scholarship in order to buy German Grammar Books, that would have normally been out of my price range. Even more so it has helped me acquire a huge number of books that I needed for my course.”

“As most people know, law school is extremely expensive in terms of textbooks. The scholarship has been helpful by saving me a large amount of textbook expenses (£177 in 1st year, to be exact), which I’m extremely grateful for and was able to spend in other things such as household items and other necessities. I plan on using the rest of my voucher to contribute towards by 2nd year books which will relieve the burden of buying them myself in full.” 

The Talis Conference donations have been a significant part of an overall campaign this summer that resulted in us awarding more than 160 Scholarships, with students now studying at universities across England, as the illustration below shows:

We look forward to giving a more rounded report later in the year, but in the meantime thank you again for the donations that have made a real difference to some great young people. 

Alan Terry, Co-founder, The Reading List Foundation

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