Dulwich College and Winchester College, both elite private schools in England, refused an offer from Sir Bryan Thwaites of over $1 million in his will for one group of attendees: poor white boys.

The Independent reports the school refused the offer from Thwaites, 96, on the grounds it was discriminatory. Thwaites, who attended both schools on scholarships, specified that the money would exclusively benefit white boys from disadvantaged backgrounds because they perform worse at schools than other ethnic groups.

“Winchester said it would harm its reputation by accepting my bequest, but in my opinion it would gain enormously by being seen to address what is the severe national problem of the underperforming white cohort in schools," Sir Bryan told The Times. “If Cambridge University can accept a much larger donation in support of Black students, why cannot I do the same for underprivileged white British?”

Thwaites is seemingly alluding to The Stormzy Scholarship at Cambridge, a scholarship founded by grime rapper Stormzy meant to send two Black students to the elite university each year. After the musician announced the founding of his scholarship, Cambridge shared that a record number of Black students enrolled for their first year of undergrad. The high numbers were dubbed “the Stormzy Effect.” 

Master of Dulwich College, Dr Joe Spence, said he was appreciative of any donations from benefactors, but accepting donations made with any ethnic or religious criteria was counter to the goal of inclusivity in education. 

“Bursaries are an engine of social mobility and they should be available to all who pass our entrance examinations, irrespective of their background,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Winchester College made clear that discrimination was not in accordance with the school’s values. 

“The trustees are clear, having consulted widely, that acceptance of a bequest of this nature would neither be in the interests of the school as a charity, nor the specific interests of those it aims to support through its work,” the spokeswoman said. “Notwithstanding legal exceptions to the relevant legislation, the school does not see how discrimination on grounds of a boy’s colour could ever be compatible with its values.”

Elite British schools have been in the news for discrimination before — ironically against Black people. 

Data from 2017 found 13 Oxford University colleges failed to make a single offer to Black A-level applicants over a six-year period. Only three of its 32 colleges made an offer to a Black A-level applicant every year between 2010 to 2015, the figures showed.

Thwaites has now turned his philanthropy efforts to state schools, stating that there are academies that would be “only too glad to accept money” on his terms, and he is not the only one who considers poor white boys in educational trouble. 

Trevor Phillips, the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, wrote about the plight of poor white British boys in the online magazine Standpoint

“Inverted snobbery and the narrative of ‘privilege’ have made poor white British boys today’s educational left-behinds,” he said. "I've been asked to advise on whether it is acceptable to offer bursaries or scholarships to one minority group or another. Invariably, I have said yes; but donors remain nervous, and beneficiary institutions are routinely discouraged by their lawyers."