Rejecting an independent school place.

(93 Posts)
feckwit Mon 18-Feb-13 22:25:12

I am finding this so hard to do. My child was offered a place at a local independent school that she desperately wanted to attend but we needed a bursary and she did not get one. Should I send a covering letter explaining our reasons so the school are aware we would have liked her attend and it is purely financial? Or will that look a bit too "woe is me"? School knew we needed a bursary so I am not sure why a full fee paying place was offered really.

middleclassonbursary Tue 19-Feb-13 10:33:49

Sympathique re; "Can't make sense of your post," you clearly stated that my DC's bursary "is likely coming out of the pockets of parents who are budgeting hard to pay full fees." I then clearly stated that according to the schools published accounts that its not.
I dont understand why you cant make sense of my post or need to be abrasive.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 10:34:21

middle - I have no problems with paying a bit extra towards bursaries for bright kids whose family can't afford the fees.

However, I don't see why I should contribute towards paying for some not so bright kid to go private.

Well off parents are often flamed for sounding entitled so it's kind of funny to read a post from a parent who thinks her not so bright DC is entitled to a private education

TheRevengeOfMrGrumpy Tue 19-Feb-13 10:35:27

A considerable tax break is not having to pay full (or any) business rates on their premises.

middleclassonbursary Tue 19-Feb-13 10:39:29

Totally I understand where your coming from and that is the view that many schools take and why I said in most cases bursaries are another name for a scholarship. Wealthy super selectives like St Pauls obviously don't need to take this view because if you've been offered a place you are really bright.

Sympathique Tue 19-Feb-13 10:40:08

middleclass: apologies if I came across as abrasive in that particular post. Yours was written without punctuation (and apostrophes) which I struggled with.

feckwit Tue 19-Feb-13 10:42:10

Hm. I don't think my child is "entitled". I applied on the advice of her current headteacher who thought she stood a chance. I read about the school and knew it well as I attended it. We couldn't afford the fees so had previously not considered it but were offered some money towards fees by a local trust fund so thought it was worth trying. When we looked around, we felt it was definitely a school she was well suited to. @totallybs "However, I don't see why I should contribute towards paying for some not so bright kid to go private." - I would actually argue that the children who most benefit from a bursary would be the less able as the very able generally will do very well regardless of school, it is the middle of the road students who often struggle.
But I appear to have opened up a can of worms and appreciate all your thoughts. I will reject the place with a small covering letter explaining it is for financial reasons.

Theas18 Tue 19-Feb-13 10:42:34

Forgetting all the ranging of rights and wrongs...

Just sending OP and her DD a hug and all the best for the future.

I was that girl nearly 30yrs ago- got the grammar school place very respectably in the exam (it was for 13+ entry) having been at pretty p**s poor comp and miserable there. Sadly out of county application so no scholarship for me (would have got it if the other side of the boundary).

Stayed at p**s poor comp. Was moderately miserable but determined. Bucked the trend with my best mate who went to Cambridge. She was the 1st ever Oxbridge success and I was the 1st ever to do my course.

Would I be doing anything different now if I have gone to grammar- nope I'm doing what I always wanted to. I would have probably enjoyed school more though.

I like to think that a half decent modern comp with streamed teaching etc would have made me happier. We had all ability till O level /CSE divide.

We turned down a bursary place for DD2 - that was hard-,mainly because the grammars here are more academic than that school (probably..) . Also the " tie in was till age 18 which is a lot for an 11yr old to be sure about.

ThisLittleMonster Tue 19-Feb-13 10:44:03

However, I don't see why I should contribute towards paying for some not so bright kid to go private.

Well off parents are often flamed for sounding entitled so it's kind of funny to read a post from a parent who thinks her not so bright DC is entitled to a private education

You're right, her 'not-so-bright' child, as you tactfully put it, is not entitled to a private education. Your children are much more worthy of a perceived 'better' education because they had the forsight to be born to wealthy enough parents, of course. Actually, I'm not having a pop at you totally, I largely agree with you post, it's just written in a way which will make many like me bristle a bit.

The OP can't afford the education she would like for her child. That's life I'm afraid, fair or not.

ThisLittleMonster Tue 19-Feb-13 10:45:53

x posts OP. All the best, I'm sure your DD will be fine smile

happygardening Tue 19-Feb-13 10:47:50

"sympatheique* thanks

eminemmerdale Tue 19-Feb-13 10:51:25

I don't feel 'entitled' either - like the OP we were advised to put our dd in for the exam, we made it clear we would need assistance, we were still told to go ahead, she passed (brilliantly) they offered us a % we couldn't match, we asked if there was any way this could be increased (as per their website information of 'up to 100%), they couldn't, we're disappointed. Actually, I'm really disappointed but that's the way it goes grin

happygardening Tue 19-Feb-13 10:53:32

God don't know why I posted on here was only idylly reading it meant to put comment for someone else on another thread!!!

wordfactory Tue 19-Feb-13 10:57:52

OP, you had a punt and I think right to try.

The sad fact is that competition for burseries is fierce. They are also discretionary so some yearst he school might offer three kids a thrid knocked off, another year one kid 100% of fees.

How much is in the bursary pot will also be dependent on how many existing pupils have applied. In the current climate this might be at an all time high.

middleclassonbursary Tue 19-Feb-13 10:58:08

Thanks HG you sort of said what I was going to say!! No need to apologise Sympathique I'm crap with grammar and its not always clear what I mean I just hate generalisations about bursaries! The problem is every schhol is different. We managed to get one for both our DC's but it was very difficult and we too were rejected by one.
Good luck OP and your DD.

Sympathique Tue 19-Feb-13 11:00:19

Happygardening: and there was me thinking you didn't think I'd been abrasive to middleclass! (I thought I'd been rather conciliatory in my last post, hey ho time to go)

tiggytape Tue 19-Feb-13 11:07:32

Whatever the origin of the funds, or methods used to allocate them, it seems a very harsh system where 100% is routinely mentioned but not routinely offered and where a family only finds out they cannot afford the place offered after a fairly lengthy selection process has been successfully completed. By then the child and family will have invested a lot of effort and hope into attending that school.

I know schools want to encourage applications from all able students (and OP's daughter has passed the selection tests so has still scored very well even if it wasn't among the absolute top scores this year) but a greater degree of openness at the start of the process would surely be kinder? Schools cannot always calculate bursaries in advance of selection exams if they receive more bursary applications than they can ever fulfil but they could be more explicit about previous years' results. When they say 'upto 100%' is available - was that offered to 1 pupil amongst hundreds or do they more usually make several offers at 20% instead? If parents knew in advance that the headline 100% figure was exceedingly rare and that even 50% was unusual, they might not invest so much hope and effort into the process.

Many parents (wrongly) assume that having provided financial information, the school will know they cannot afford 50% or 80% of fees and are upset to find that this is what’s offered. Most parents (wrongly) assume they’d either get no offer at all or that the full amount they’ve demonstrated they need will be provided.

outtolunchagain Tue 19-Feb-13 11:24:43

At our school the awarding of the bursary is on performance . Once you have been awarded the bursary the amount you get is means tested so the two things are separate .

The forms are very comprehensive and yes they do allow for living costs such as mortgage etc however you would be amazed at people's brass neck and ability to bend the truth on these forms .Many schools now employ firms whose job it is to assess bursary applications and some schools also do home visits.

The schools are much more cautious now about making sure the money goes to the people who most need it and not those who are best at completing the forms , they are also not there to support people's lifestyle choices .

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 12:07:13

LittleMonster - your one-insult-fits-all would be more effective IF my DCs were born to wealthy parents grin

meditrina Tue 19-Feb-13 12:16:24

One regular poster about bursaries points out frequently that one of the things you should consider doing is working out in advance what %age of fees you will need, and then ask the school early on if they have ever given an award that high, and if so how often. Also, how much they expect to have in the bursary pot in the year you apply (low return on investments has hammered down the amount available, and this will continue for as long as interest rates remain at record lows) - they won't tell you a figure, but should be able to say something like '3 x 90% awards or smaller awards to the same total'. And bear in mind that children already in the school whose families suffer a major financial reversal (death, messy divorce, redundancy) will have higher call on funding than new joiners.

middleclassonbursary Tue 19-Feb-13 12:39:04

"working out in advance what %age of fees you will need, and then ask the school early on if they have ever given an award that high, and if so how often"
This a comment I frequently make and talk to the bursar before going to far down the admissions process although in the OP situation I don't think she did anything wrong just didn't score highly enough on the academic front.

Thank you for explaining the system, middleclass. I naively imagined that you'd get some indication of the possible bursery amount before you went through the whole application process.

eminemmerdale Tue 19-Feb-13 13:06:37

In our case, they were as helpful as possible before but did find it very hard to predict exactly, as, obviously had no idea of the number of bursaries that would be applied for and circumstances of other families. We did hoping for the best and were offered what a lot of people would consider a generous offer, sadly just not do-able for us.

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 19-Feb-13 13:09:56

What's the "whole application process"? Fill out a registration form and do a couple of tests. It's not that big a deal.

eminemmerdale Tue 19-Feb-13 13:15:53

It's quite a big deal actually - it's going to look at the school, meeting the headteacher, filling the reg form, paying a reg fee, going to a 'taster day', sitting a 'couple of tests' hmm.. in our case anyway - it was a pretty big thing to go through - I'm not sorry we did at all. At least we know we have a clever daughter - it was actually a pretty tricky 'test', that she throroughly enjoyed doing, and had we not even tried then we would always have wondered what would have happened. It's over, it's done and that's that .

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 13:28:25

feckwith - I disagree about how it is the middle of the road that struggle

IMO the state system often fail those at the top and those at the bottom while the middle of the road do quite nicely.

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