Girls at school in a Children on the Edge project in Thailand for Rohingya refugees

Name change update and next steps

Trustees decided last year to review the BFSS name, in order to better communicate our inclusive and life changing work, which strives to maximise education for all with a determined focus on finding and funding inclusive projects.  

BFSS was originally called the Society for Promoting the Lancasterian System for the Education of the Poor until 1814, when the name British and Foreign School Society was adopted. By that time the charity was running a large number of charity schools in the UK as well as overseas. We feel the BFSS name no longer reflects what we do and the value we place on effective teaching, learning and sharing of good practice, as well as our commitment to inclusivity, integrity, valuing and respecting others.

During 2023 we have been seeking approval for a name change, firstly from our Membership and then the Privy Council, the later is required as BFSS has a Royal Charter. Thank you to the many Members who completed our survey about changing the BFSS name. We were really pleased to have 120 responses, and a wealth of helpful feedback and ideas. A clear favourite emerged of the two names we put forward, as well as alternative suggestions for names and for how we could finesse the proposed straplines to show the global reach of our work together.

Your ideas were carefully considered by Trustees and staff to revise the proposed new name and strapline, which we hope we will be able to adopt if approved by the Privy Council. We are pleased to share it with you:

Educational Opportunity Foundation
Improving life chances worldwide since 1808

We are confident this name better communicates our inclusive and life changing work, which strives to maximise education for all. Together with the strapline, it traces our work of widening educational opportunity back to Joseph Lancaster’s time in the early nineteenth century.

Because BFSS has a royal charter, the next step is to submit an informal request to change our name to the Privy Council Office (PCO), which in a few months will advise if the name is suitable. We will then come back to Members to formally vote on whether to accept the new name.

Published: 31 August 2023