Next Step Foundation was originally created by Bonas MacFarlane in 2016 as the University Preparation Programme. In the first cohort in 2017, we supported 30 students across four schools. The programme was created in the Higher Education team. As private consultancy work grew, this was a way to give back to less fortunate students and communities.
After early success, with 4/10 applicants to Oxbridge gaining acceptance, the 2018 cohort grew to 60 scholars, with Bonas MacFarlane making a commitment to support that number every year. Subsequent success in 2018 and 2019 led to the agreement amongst the founders to form the programme a separate charity so that we could look to increase the number of students supported by the programme. With the 2020 cohort underway with a further 60 students, Next Step Foundation submitted its application for charitable status and was accepted in Autumn 2020.
The challenge now is to attract the funding that will allow our support to go beyond the 60 scholars that Bonas MacFarlane commits to supporting.
“From our perspective it’s been a high-quality, motivating programme for our students. You know when something is valuable.”
Madeleine St Amour, London Academy of Excellence
Founder and MD of Next Step Education Group
James Higgins leads our University Preparation Programme having worked in education for over 10 years. He is a qualified teacher, former Head of department and Head of Y10 and 11 who taught in a state secondary school in Lewisham as part of the Teach First programme. He is passionate about addressing educational inequality, leading both Teach First’s South London Action Network for two years and sitting on the charity’s national body for 6 years before joining Bonas MacFarlane.
Matthew has a History DPhil from Oxford and has held admissions and teaching positions at St. Hugh's and the Oxford History Faculty. He has also held a fellowship at Christ Church where he worked with the college's access and outreach team.
Connie has a BA in History of Art from Edinburgh and an MA in International Development from SOAS. She is now a consultant for the Next Step Foundation.