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Broadhembury01 Web
CREDIT: Broadhembury Church of England Primary School

Photographic Bursary for Rural Schools – update May 2024

In 2022 the Contemporary Photography Group of the Royal Photographic Society created a bursary to fund ‘A photographic project that conveys the experience of being a school student in a rural environment’ as part of the RPS Photography for All initiative. We had a lot of advice from the RPS Education Manager and input from Lillian Spibey of the Sharp Shots Photo Club, see, before we publicly launched our initiative in January 2023.

The competition to win the bursary prize of £1500 was available to all primary and secondary schools in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and The Isle of Man which are in a settlement with a population of less than ten thousand (or which has been designated as Rural by the relevant Government Legislation). The Contemporary Group judging committee unanimously voted Broadhembury Church of England Primary School as winner, the story is covered in a previous article and was mentioned in the RPS Newsletter in July 2023.

Broadhembury is a tiny village in a parish with a population of around 600 people and lies about seven miles from Junction 28 (Cullompton) on the M5, and one mile to the north-east of the A373 which runs from Junction 28 to Honiton. The school has about thirty pupils and is part of a Federation with several other small schools but the project has involved only Broadhembury as far as we are aware. It's an interesting event for the school as it's an excellent opportunity for them to show themselves off but with only two teaching staff it's quite a stretch (the Leadership Team is shared between all the schools in the Federation). The teacher who originally made the application for the bursary was headhunted and moved elsewhere.

The project was led by the school with support from Adrian Hough, the Contemporary Group’s South West regional organiser. Adrian has a wealth of experience working with schools and helped the school spend some of the bursary on appropriate equipment as well as coaching the children. The previously loved camera equipment was procured from MPB (see with the help of the RPS Education Manager who negotiated a discount for the school.

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CREDIT: Broadhembury Church of England Primary School

Adrian said, “Working with the pupils aged 7-11 it was clear that they quickly grasped what Contemporary Photography is about far better than most adults and the images that I have seen (and printed for them as a demonstration) were very good – some are superb and say things about small rural schools far beyond what the pupils realise.”

The bursary has also been used by the school to rent space for the exhibition of the work. The exhibition will take place on Friday 12th July, opening at 14:00 and then running for the rest of the afternoon. The venue will be Broadhembury Memorial Hall, Broadhembury, Honiton EX14 3NG.

More details of the project will be presented in the Contemporary Group newsletter, Concept after the exhibition. If you would like to visit the exhibition please book here 


RPS Contemporary Group:
Adrian Hough, Contemporary Group South West regional Organiser (
Sean Goodhart, Contemporary Group Communications Officer/Webmaster (

Broadhembury CofE Primary School:
Katie Gray (


The Images

Main image with the netball hoop: The children thought this showed how things were not cared for properly on the school building, which we would realise is due to a lack of funding. One week later the gutter fell off!

The second image with the shoes is simply entitled ‘Friendship’, but there is quite a lot going on in the image when we stop and think about it.



This bursary is unique to the Contemporary Group and was originally intended to be an on-going project running every few years. The group are no longer permitted to offer bursaries as part of the new Terms of Reference 2024 which impacts the running and financial concerns of special interest and regional groups within the RPS. We are very pleased that the approach and mindset of the winning school reflects an age group that needs to be reached to secure future RPS members – we feel pride in promoting Photography for All.