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 Post subject: Scholarship / bursary
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 1:00 pm 
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In terms of application whereby some form of discount would be needed to make acceptance of a place any way viable, how is it best to approach this with a school? I gather some schools have more generous pots than others, and scholarships are not what they once were. We’d like to apply for a place, but would need the upper end of scholarship discount to afford. From what I’ve seen, we probably wouldn’t qualify for bursary on gross income, but after ten years of school fees, we are decidedly cash poor. Do schools solely base scholarship offers on the basis of entrance test alone, or would they be inclined to accommodate more flexibly, if a child had exceptional academic credentials, but more than one child scored highly in the exams? Is it best to sow the seeds of where we are at, in terms of what we are hoping for, during the application process, or do we have to apply and simply hope for the best?! Would appreciate any advice on the process, thank you.


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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 1:53 pm 
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Location: Essex
mm23292 wrote:
In terms of application whereby some form of discount would be needed to make acceptance of a place any way viable, how is it best to approach this with a school? I gather some schools have more generous pots than others, and scholarships are not what they once were. We’d like to apply for a place, but would need the upper end of scholarship discount to afford. From what I’ve seen, we probably wouldn’t qualify for bursary on gross income, but after ten years of school fees, we are decidedly cash poor. Do schools solely base scholarship offers on the basis of entrance test alone, or would they be inclined to accommodate more flexibly, if a child had exceptional academic credentials, but more than one child scored highly in the exams? Is it best to sow the seeds of where we are at, in terms of what we are hoping for, during the application process, or do we have to apply and simply hope for the best?! Would appreciate any advice on the process, thank you.


Have a look at the Fees / Scholarships / Bursaries pages of the schools you are interested in. Or all the schools you can sensibly get your DC to, if a decent chance of a bursary or scholarship would make a hitherto less interesting school more desirable. Or ask the HT or Bursar at your current school about what private senior schools offer?

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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 2:44 pm 
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Location: Herts
League tables have made it very critical for private schools to focus on securing the most academic students they can and scholarships are used to attract these students away from other schools.

Students with very high rankings in the exams will be of great interest to these schools.

"What do we have to do to get your son to come to our school?" quote from the Head of a Private school after hearing the very high QE score of one of the boys at interview.

I would focus on doing very well in the exams and then you will find schools are responsive to such requests.

There is always an emergency pot to try and secure the top students. DG


Last edited by Daogroupie on Fri May 24, 2019 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 2:55 pm 
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you are probably aware that many schools have far more of their money in the bursary pots rather than the scholarship, however access to the bursary pot also requires very good performance in the entrance exams. Some schools have significant pots of money whereas others are less fortunate.

It is probably best to discuss with the bursar of the school to get an honest assessment of the likelihood of getting financial support.


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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 10:07 pm 
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In my area the academic scholarships are purely given on exam ranking.
I know one parent who got a full fee place offered and contacted the school to ask if her daughter could be considered for a scholarship and was told by the bursar in no uncertain terms that if the school were going to offer a scholarship they would have done so in the first instance.
In general terms the more academic the school the less the scholarship value around here.
Scholars are often expected to participate in scholars programmes within the school and scholarships can be withdrawn if academic progress isn’t sufficient.
I don’t think schools can offer scholarships on the basis of need rather than score.
That would have to be a bursary.
Not sure if I quite understand the part about “ exception academic credentials but more than one child scored highly in the exam”
Do you mean if your child tied for top place with another child?
I think the school would divide the scholarship between the two candidates.
I don’t think if a child did less well in the exam and had a school report to say they were highly able it would put them in a stronger position for a scholarship.
My impression is private schools make their scholarship decisions based on their own exams rather than assessments eg prep school reports.
If a child was borderline for a place an excellent report from a trusted prep school head might tip the balance for a place.
I don’t think that would be the case for a scholarship.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 6:21 am 
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Just to add that bear in mind that some scholarships are in name only, with no (or absolute minimum) monetary value attached. Just the kudos of being able to say that your child is a scholar (and your child being able to access/having to attend a number of "scholar" activities through the year/s. This way they can also have sports/music/drama/art scholars as well. And it is rare for scholarships to be more than 20% - long gone are the days of 100% scholarships for private schools due to Charities regulations - bursaries are where the "real" money is, but do depend on your family income/assets as to whether you are entitled to anything and there is rarely any wiggle room in decisions about those.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 10:33 am 
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With league table rankings being such a priority for private schools it makes sense for them to use their money offering a bursary to a strongly academic student who would otherwise not be able to attend the school.

A great set of 9s to boost the rankings are really worth paying for. DG


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 11:12 am 
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This may be true if the family income when means tested, triggers a bursary possibility . A school cannot offer a bursary to an academic child whose family income is over the bursary level as that would be against the charity regulations.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 12:40 pm 
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There are a lot of people this days who will be in the position that they can’t afford the fees but don’t qualify for a bursary either.
I don’t think a school would be prepared to give a scholarship to a lower ranked candidate on the basis of need.
Scholarship awards aim to attract pupils who will either as DG says bump the school up in the league tables or be good for the school in other was like help them win sports trophies etc.
It’s all about what the child can do for the school.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 3:04 pm 
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Thank you for your responses, I agree there are many like us, not ‘poor’ enough for bursary, but not rich enough to pay full top end fee. Most of our friends probably fit that criteria, and without grandparental contribution, just wouldn’t have been possible for them.
So if as our HT and two independent EPs suggest, our daughter is a child that schools would be very keen to have, with very strong academic data, cat scores etc.. would it make any difference if the school knew that without some discount, we wouldn’t be able to accept a place, and for some reason didn’t perform as well as she could in the entrance exams? It’s all hypothetical of course, and she usually performs highly in all her exams, but just wondered if the decision was completely linear, or is all the data provided, taken into account. How amazing does an ability profile have to be, for a school to take note? And what if a child with an overall profile of say mid 120s but heavily tutored with good exam technique, did better in the CE, than the non tutored child with a high 140s profile, is the decision purely based on that exam?
I just don’t want to set our expectations anywhere they can’t be reached, so it’s really helpful to understand how schools sift applications and make those all important decisions.


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