Nancy Astor Scholarships Trust students

A group of students from Plymouth University have been given the opportunity to enhance their potential by learning new skills and experiencing educational settings abroad, thanks to a charitable trust which supports the educational aspirations of young people.

The Nancy Langhorne Astor Scholarships Trust, set up by the children of the late Lady Nancy Astor, who was the first female MP to take a seat in Parliament, is aimed at continuing the work she did lobbying to give young people a fair chance through education.

The Trustees, who include Alice Astor, the granddaughter of Lady Astor, The Lord Mayor and John Searson, Head of Education at Plymouth City Council, have now pledged their support to students specialising in Early Childhood Studies at Plymouth University.

Each academic year, selected students will receive a bursary to enable them to undertake an activity that will enhance their personal and professional development.

Philip Selbie who lectures in early childhood studies at Plymouth University’s Institute of Education, said: 

“We are delighted at this partnership, which builds on the pioneering work of Lady Astor, including the championing of educational opportunities for all young people, regardless of background. Thanks to the bursary funding, more students will be able to take up activities that will benefit not just them but the young people with whom they’ll be working in the future.”

Gemma Stephens who is on the PGCE primary early years course, is one of the students to benefit from a bursary. She said: 

“Some of us have chosen to use the money to go on a study trip to the Czech Republic, which will give us insight into early years education in another culture. Others have chosen to learn Makaton, another form of sign language, while one other is going on a work placement with pre-school children.”

The students attended a special event at the Lord Mayor’s official residence, the former home of the Astors, to meet the Trustees and convey their thanks in person.

John Searson said: 

“The Astors’ legacy is embedded across the city in its buildings, recreational facilities and through the charitable trust. It is fitting that an area of work Lady Astor is noted for – furthering opportunities for young people – is the driving force behind this partnership with the University and we welcome the chance to help develop the students knowledge further in this area.”