Shakespeare Schools Foundation

Transforming young lives through Shakespeare

Working with over 300,000 students since 2000, in 2020 we want to reach more young people across the UK, focusing on giving participants from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to find confidence, develop life skills and raise their aspirations for the future - transforming their own lives.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 12:00 PM, 3 December 2019 to 12:00 PM, 10 December 2019

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1164676)

Check mark Match funded

Campaign target


Amount raised




Championed by National Lottery Heritage Fund


  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • General Public/HumankindGeneral Public/Humankind
  • People With DisabilitiesPeople With Disabilities


United Kingdom


Across the UK, young people struggle to develop the skills they need to succeed in life. Living in areas facing economic or social disadvantage means even greater challenges, which can lead to a cycle of low academic achievement and lack of aspiration. Research shows that students from low income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree, yet schools continue to cut back on arts provision.


SSF shows young people that success is for everyone, not just those at the top of the class. In our 20th year, our Festival (including teacher training, students workshops, curriculum resources and vitally, participants performing on professional stages) will have a focus on those with the least opportunity to find their voices. We want to see every child have the opportunity to see themselves in a new light and exceed the expectations of their families, teachers and communities.

  • One child playing a lead role has autism. He was worried about making a mistake and being laughed at. Through the Festival, his resilience grew massively. If he made a mistake he learnt to say, ‘silly me’ and carry on.

    — Gail Pascoe, Knockevin Special School, Northern Ireland

  • I thought I’d be so frightened I’d run off the stage. But through playing drama games and rehearsing with the rest of the cast, I got more confident. The thought of standing up in front of people doesn’t scare me as much now.

    — Madelyn, student, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, Knowsley

  • Lots of our children have very low confidence. To stand on a stage and soak up the admiration of an audience gives them an incredible feeling of pride.

    — Joanna Mousley, headteacher, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, Knowsley

  • 'It was the first moment I realised that this project was more than just putting on a play; it was enabling these children to develop confidence, pride, responsibility and imagination

    — Peter Kessler, teacher turned donor