Project Description

In the heart of Dublin’s north inner city, Belvedere College is one of Ireland’s highly respected educational establishments. A fee-paying private school, it boasts some of Ireland’s most famous names among its ranks of former students – from James Joyce to Tony O’ Reilly to Garret FitzGerald – as well as hundreds of other high achievers from different walks of Irish life. It costs approximately €5,000 per pupil per year to attend Belvedere College

What few people know, however, is that every year Belvedere through their Social Diversity Programme (SDP) offers almost 10% of its places to boys whose families, due to financial and social barriers, could never otherwise afford to attend the school.

Applicants for the school’s Social Diversity Programme (SDP) are selected purely on the basis of economic and educational disadvantage and not for their academic, sporting or musical abilities. The school sees its commitment to the bursaries as a living embodiment of the school’s Jesuit ethos and the importance it places on social justice.

Director Kim Bartley was granted access to the inner workings of Belvedere College SJ and to the lives and homes of five families who hoped to gain one of their coveted bursaries. Our cameras followed all their journeys as they made the transition from primary to secondary school.

The personal stories of The Scholarship – captured on screen over two years – tells a poignant story about Irish education and gives an insight into how one school endeavours to make a difference.

Made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound & Vision Fund.