Two private schools have defended their decision to turn down scholarship donations for poor white pupils, reported to be worth more than £1 million.

Dulwich College, in south London, and Winchester College, in Hampshire, both turned down money from philanthropist Sir Bryan Thwaites, who attended both schools and was planning to leave the money in his will.

Mr Thwaites said he wanted to help white boys from disadvantaged backgrounds because they perform worse at school than counterparts from different ethnic groups, the Times newspaper reported.

Scholarships for black students to attend Cambridge University are funded by the rapper Stormzy.

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 under-privileged white British?

“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.”

However Dr Joe Spence, master of Dulwich College, said he is “resistant” to donations “made with any ethnic or religious criteria”.

Winchester College also turned down the donation Credit: Chris Ison/PA

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

Sir Bryan said he wanted to give £400,000 to Dulwich College and £800,000 to Winchester College, the Times reported.

A spokesperson for Winchester College said 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”.

She added: “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.”

Scholarships reportedly paid for Sir Bryan to attend Dulwich College until the outbreak of the Second World War, when he was sent to Winchester College.

Fees at Winchester College are up to £13,903 per term, while fees at Dulwich College can cost £14,782 per term.