I have been a teacher for 26 years, a Headteacher for 11 years and, at the age of 50, this much I know about helping Cat White get to university.


We need to raise £1,600 for one of our Year 13 students Cat White to attend the British Institute of Music: Manchester and we need your help…


Cat White has been a ‘pupil premium’ student throughout her 7 years at Huntington School. Her family struggles financially and in addition Cat is the official ‘Young Carer’ for her Mother who is disabled. They live with step-dad and Cat’s younger sister. Cat has always been an exceptionally positive and hardworking student at school with a huge ‘growth mindset’ approach to everything she has ever done here. In 2015 her family continue to have severe financial difficulties, with Cat telling me that her part time job wages are paying the family bills right now – she has no money to call her own.
Cat has always shown a really keen interest in music and, with a great singing voice, has always wanted to pursue a post-18 pathway in this area. Cat currently has an offer for the ‘song writing’ course at the institution she would really love to attend – the British Institute of Music: Manchester (BIMM).  This would initially be a one year ‘Diploma’ course (no specific grades required at A level – her audition secured her offer) which then leads on to the three year Degree course.
Although Cat wasn’t a strong enough composer to receive an offer for the ‘song writing’ degree course straight away, they felt she would be an ideal student to take the one year course as a ‘stepping stone’ onto the degree course (a bit like art foundation before art degree). However, the one year diploma course is not funded in the same way as the degree course; ‘Student Finance England’ offer the normal student finance package for the degree course, but not the one year course.
The one year course does NOT carry any tuition fees, but Cat would have to fund her accommodation and living expenses herself – something that her family are not in a position to fully fund. There are no bursary funds available from BIMM for the one year course.
Cat has costed her financial needs as:

  • Accommodation at the Manchester ‘Student Village’: £101 per week = £4,444 (44 week contract)
  • Food costs: £30 per week = £1,320 (44 weeks’ worth of food) Cat to cover this from p/t time job in Manchester

We have also compared this with the cost of living at home or buying a season rail ticket, all of which would work out at a similar figure.
To cover Cat’s accommodation cost – current funding position:

  • After contacting a number of charitable trusts Cat has only been able to secure a £500 donation from ’The Princes Trust’ which is available if she can match this amount from an additional source;
  • We are hopeful that £500 can be secured from the ‘Huntington Opportunities Trust Fund’;
  • £1321 can be made available from pre-2012 ‘un-named’ 6th form accounts;
  • Cat’s family can provide a max. of £500 – this will be the total money Cat will receive from members of her family for her 18th birthday present in May.

Total accommodation cost for year: £4,444
Less the Princes Trust/Hunt Opp fund: £1,000 (500 + 500 matched funding)
Less the family contribution: £500 (max)
Less the school contribution: £1,321
Shortfall: £1,623

If you can help fund Cat’s Diploma course please click here…


 Cat’s story in her own words…


My name is Cat White and for as long as I can remember I have had a passion for music. Through my love for singing and a really supportive music department at school, I have for the past 7 years been able to nurture and enjoy this passion, to the point where I am absolutely certain that this is the future pathway I want to follow.

I’m not what you would call a ‘strong academic’, but through my dogged perseverance and sheer hard work over the years, I have been lucky enough to audition for – and be accepted on – a one year Diploma ‘composing’ course at BIMM (British Institute of Music: Manchester), a course which will then lead me directly into the 3 year composing degree programme.

Despite being the official ‘Young Carer’ for my disabled Mother since I was nine, my home background is a really happy one but a financially very poor one. Consequently I am struggling to find the necessary funding to secure my accommodation and living expenses for the next year, before I can then claim student finance for the 3 year degree programme that follows.

My school are working hard to try and secure some funding for me, but I would be immensely grateful if you felt able and willing to contribute towards my education for the next year, as I am unable to formally accept the Manchester course without the necessary funding in place.

I hope you enjoy listening to my level Music Technology song composition, which had to be based around the words of Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Road to Freedom’ and show ‘a wide variety of uses of technology’.

Thank you for reading and listening.

Cat White, May 2015

If you can help Cat, please click here…



We made it!

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This post has 7 Comments

  1. Why don’t you tweet something to Gary Barlow,  he might possibly know of other funding streams for young musicians too, after all he is a song writer!
    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
    From:”johntomsett” Date:Tue, 26 May, 2015 at 15:43 Subject:[New post] This much I know about…helping Cat White get to university
    johntomsett posted: “I have been a teacher for 26 years, a Headteacher for 11 years and, at the age of 50, this much I know about helping Cat White get to university. We need to raise £1,600 for one of our Year 13 students Cat White to attend the British Institute of Mus”

  2. As an art teacher John, I applaud your initiative. I did the one year art foundation many years ago and remember it as both a fantastic year, but one also one that was largely bankrolled by my parents. I can imagine that Cat’s position is very difficult, but hopefully the broad public you’re appealing to will see her through.

  3. I’m really sorry that I can’t do any more than donate a very small amount. My eldest son did the 1yr songwriting diploma course at BIMM last year and absolutely loved it. We are lucky enough to live in South Manchester so he could live at home, and I was able to manage this on my wage while his part time job paid for his travel and lunches. It really is a great course which helped him be fully certain of what he wanted to then do afterwards. He seriously considered doing the degree course there but eventually decided to do the Popular Music degree at Goldsmiths University of London. He is just finishing his first year. I wish Cat a lot of luck in raising the funds.

  4. I’ve been the llibrarian at Cat’s school since December & I have been so impressed with her since getting to know her – she is such a hard-working student with a wonderfully positive attitude. I find her a delightful young woman and the fact that I was not aware of her financial circumstances speaks volumes to me about her character – she is in my opinion a very worthy ’cause’!

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