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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
Posts: 1294
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
If applying for a bursary do contact the Bursar of that school to get guidance. Every school is different. Be prepared for a lot of disclosure of your financial situation. If you have a lowish income but a lot of equity or work part-time be prepared for rejection based on opportunity to sell assets or work more.

What amount is available, to who and what value will be based on a wide range of combinations of bursary pot, what their thresholds might be etc. Separately and in my opinion more importantly is how easy are they to come by - how much competition, where is the bar set for a bursary application etc. I know one school who throws money at bright kids (pass the local superselective Grammar exam) as they are academically low achieving school and conveniently disregard income as a measure and pool all their offers on that basis leaving little to those who would need assistance based on financial means.

A good school rarely bases an offer on one exam alone. It is usually a combination of exam, entrance interview and reference from previous school.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 9390
Location: Herts
All private schools are looking for students who will perform well in GCSE and A level.

Their 11 plus exam performance and interview is a very good indication of that.

I know parents who do not even attend secondary school open days but choose them entirely on their performance in the league tables.

Look at the posts we get on here who want someone to tell them how to get their dc from their house to the school they want to go to??????

The Senior Management Team is tasked with getting the most academic students they can into the school and Music/Sport/Drama is a great bonus too.

In our area the local prep school relationships with the private secondary schools are all breaking down.

Heads used to be able to put in a good word but no longer. They are not going to turn down strong academic applicants in favour of students from the local preps.

As has been said elsewhere their own preps are not the strongest in the year so they do not need any more weaker candidates.

The fact that you are cash poor because you have spent ten years paying prep school fees is not going to cut any ice with them, they are running a business and need to survive against very strong local grammar schools.

Your time is best spent doing some local mocks and finding out exactly where your dd sits in the local Y5 cohort.

That is the only criteria they will be interested in and they will find that our through their own entrance exams which will have been designed to identify the applicants they need.

DG


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:14 am
Posts: 449
Completely agree with DG.
They will base the decision of an academic scholarship purely on their entrance exam and interview.
They have designed it to pick out exactly the candidates they are looking for.
I’m pretty sure a school wouldn’t be prepared to look at other evidence and base their scholarship decision on that rather than their own exam.
I can’t see how a school could be objective with regards to different bits of academic info from sources they may well not know that weren’t available for every candidate.
It would make the process very unfair.
A good track record just might get a borderline child a place if the prep and senior school heads are friendly.
It won’t deliver a scholarship.
Also agree with DG that finding out where your daughter sits in the cohort is really important.
It’s her ranking amongst her peers that really matters rather than EP and HT reports.


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 12:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:57 am
Posts: 381
Thank you DG & Moon unit, that does make sense, commercially at least!
Cohort wise she is definitely strong; highest score in yr3 entrance exam, top cat scores out of 60+ cohort in two consecutive years; top maths, English, science and language scores in Yr 4 and 5 exams, highest maths level in school for both yr5 and year above..and EP reports which suggest she is highly gifted at maths. So on paper at least, looks like a good prospect for any school, but as with any exam process, there are no guarantees!


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 1:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 9390
Location: Herts
But this is just in your school.

Being top in your year in your school is just a geographical accident if you are in state school and because your parents can afford to pay and others can't if you are in a private school.

This is not your competition. Your competition is students from state schools who have been doing SATS and being judged against a national cohort and not just the students at a prep.

I deal with Maths levels in North London preps and they are very very low, pathetically so.

See the comment about not a single member of the prep school making the top maths set in the senior school as all the state school entrants were better.

You need to get out among the 93% of Y5s and stop relying on ranks in the 7% which do not reflect the ranks elsewhere. Go and look at the results from the 1434 Y5s that just sat Sutton Mock A and see what they can deliver in a timed environment full of strangers.

They are your competition. That is the level that you will be competing against. DG


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 6:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:18 pm
Posts: 50
I kind of agree DG, but in another sense the whole Y5 cohort is not your competition because the large majority can't afford private school fees. I live in a GS area and most of the state school parents wouldn't consider an academic indie. Most wouldn't qualify for a bursary, and if they did they wouldn't think to apply (awareness seems very low among exactly the sort of families these schemes are designed to support). Scholarships aren't financially generous enough to put the indies in reach, or only with huge parental 'sacrifices'. So if the child is bright and passes 11+, the children go to grammar. This is also true of most of the Prep school kids, whose parents have often paid prep fees in order to hopefully get a GS place and avoid secondary fees. Most of those who look at indies are those whose children don't pass 11+ and who can afford an independent place at a less academic school. If the OP were going for a bursary then I agree they'd be up against some serious academic competition from the minority of v clever state kids whose parents are aware of the bursary options available. But if she's paying prep school fees then I doubt a bursary is an option. But if her child is really really bright then I would have thought a mention in advance that a scholarship discount might make the difference between accepting and not accepting a place is at least worth a mention - it could possibly tip the balance between which of two very bright children the school offers the scholarship to? Also worth noting that some schools offer a sort of 'boosted' scholarship for kids who are v bright and not quite bursary level - less discount than a bursary but more than a normal scholarship.

I would say a lot depends on the area and what the state alternatives are like. I'd have thought the OP stood a much better chance of swinging a discount in a grammar area where the indies have to really fight for the bright kids. (Though if the OP lives in such an area, and money is tight, it might be better to go for a GS herself?)


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 7:17 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:18 pm
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Ps I've got a friend whose daughter was offered a scholarship at a very academic indie. I doubt she was the absolute top mark in the exams though probably did very well; but as a state school kid with an offer from a SS grammar I imagine the school saw her as exactly the kind of child who has lots of potential but would need tempting away from a GS place. I imagine there were harder prepped applicants who might have got a better raw score on paper but whose greater wealth meant they were always pretty likely to accept the indie offer.


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 8:46 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 9390
Location: Herts
Interesting feedback thank you.

In my area there are two types of parents who want the indie places:

1. Those who believe that if you pay it must be better so their goal is always an indie place

2. Those who wanted a GS but their dc did not make the cut so they use the preparation they have already done to secure an indie place.

The second group is always more successful as they have done the preparation. They often beat the first group to the places as they are more aware of the real competition that is out there.

Cohort data from outside your school is critical. Not doing this is like only competing against the competition in your own country while preparing for the Olympics. DG


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 9:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:57 am
Posts: 381
Thank you both, I agree the competition is not just within her class cohort, which is why exam performance in her school alone, would not have made us think this way. Standardised data such as CATs scores and GL assessment progress tests, are supposedly standardised against nationalised levels, so if scores are consistently maximum 141, and two independent EP’s rank her in the top 0.2% for maths, then surely she must be fairly strong within a county wide cohort at least? Incidentally, the mean cats average in the year, is very much the standardised national average, so geographical affluence hasn’t altered that.
Her HT has said she is highly suitable for GS, but for other reasons, we are not sure it is what we want for her. There are two parents in the year above whose children are also quite bright, passed 11plus, but have chosen independent instead, one with scholarship to a good well known school, so we felt it was worth considering at least. Thank you for your feedback, it’s all very helpful.


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 10:11 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:18 pm
Posts: 50
If there are reasons why a GS isn't necessarily what you want for her, then it sounds like there might be considerations beyond the purely academic that might influence your choice of school. If she has SEN or would thrive in a particular type of environment, then I would prioritise that first and foremost; identify the schools (both state and indie) that would best suit her and focus your efforts there. If you think an indie is your best bet, then you've got nothing to lose in going for it (as long as you've also got a state option that you can sell to your daughter as a 'just as good' alternative in case the indie doesn't work out). I would apply, make sure the school has got her CAT results and any other results, and have a conversation with the admissions staff along the lines of 'we absolutely love your school but would need to have a long think about whether we could manage it financially when the GS alternative is so good too' - and who knows, if they really like your daughter, then you could find a scholarship offer coming your way.


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