What to expect when asking for bursary in Reception?

(52 Posts)
Bursarybeggar Thu 01-May-14 10:46:17

I have recently realised we are 0.6 miles out of catchment for the local comp that we were planning to send DS to. Sadly the only other option is dire and further away (under subscribed). We are in a grammar area and they only had 2 people pass the 11+ last year! They are the 'troubled kids school' and over 2 miles walk away.

Realising this I have decided to look into bursaries for a local Indie school that is practically on our doorstep. It gets 98% pupils to pass 11+ which would mean I would only have to pay private for Junior and we wouldn't be a burden on the bursary for Seniors.

Financially I own our house outright but only bring in around £1700pm as a landlord, which won't be enough to cover the £3k termly costs.

When DS is old enough to be in full time school I will be happy to work on top of this and probably bring in another £1k pm (assuming I will need flexi-hours to collect him and so a smaller salary than I used to have).

I am a single parent and DS's dad now pays only £27.00 pm for maintenance (long story and needless to say it's not reflective of his actual wage). The main issue with this is that I don't feel I can work until DS is in school every day for a full day as I have no other child support.

I have sold my car and given up driving due to the financial pressures we are now under as a twosome and I am loathe to remortgage a house I worked so hard to clear, but I am aware this may be something the school would ask me to do. I just don't know how I would pay that back monthly on top of my salary going towards school fees!

Am I just being completely naive in thinking this is an option for DS? What other sacrifices can I make to ensure he gets a decent education? I have considered moving but I don't want to uproot either of us from friends who have supported us so much over the last 3 years.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Thu 01-May-14 16:53:26

In answer to your question about bursaries and what the indies offer, most of their websites will tell you upfront. I did some very initial research this morning on three local schools and was able to get that information without calling/visiting them.

It varies wildly with one school offering means-tested bursaries to any year group and another not offering anything until age 11 (school is for children from 3-18).

Also as a PP has said, if you own your house outright, I'd be surprised if you were eligible for any type of financial assistance although I could be wrong. Both me and my sis went to private school and my parents were not eligible for financial assistance even though my parents had a mortgaged property and a very average income.

Crosseyedcat Thu 01-May-14 17:02:14

would your family be able to help out with childcare? Or get an au pair?

I work full time and have a child in school - it is possible!

Bursarybeggar Thu 01-May-14 17:04:04

I don't have any family at all so I can't use them as back up for anything. An au pair could work for holidays, do people only employ them for a couple of months then? I thought there would be a minimum term for employment somehow!

Crosseyedcat Thu 01-May-14 17:05:20

If your ex partner is earning �55k then either HMRC should be able to confirm to the CSA, or, he is not paying tax on his earnings - which clearly is a different matter altogether

Crosseyedcat Thu 01-May-14 17:06:49

Yes sometimes people do have Au pairs just over the summer - although you might find having one for school drop off and pick up generally would be useful throughout the school year?

LIZS Thu 01-May-14 17:08:38

Many private schools run before/after school care and holiday activity clubs for which you can use childcare vouchers. Bursaries at pre-prep age are unusual but they may be eligible for Early Years funding until he turns 5. If you are mainly worried about state secondary entry, you could go state until 7 and then review.

Bursarybeggar Thu 01-May-14 17:14:22

Crosseyed he is pretending to work freelance and isn't on his old companies books any more. I have raised the tax avoidance issue but they simply aren't interested and CSA don't have resources to take it further without me hiring a private dick! I have been assured this is very common with CSA cases. Even the man I spoke to their told me how frustrating it is as it is well over half of their clients. Frankly I have given up on that route of enquiry. It is too draining and you don't get support.

Gosh it feels as though I am suddenly never going to see him at all sad what with not taking him too and from school, not seeing him in the holidays! But he is only 2.3 so I am perhaps far too used to having him all to myself! grin

Yes, I know nothing about the childcare vouchers as I wasn't entitled to any. I take it if I worked I would then get them? Feel a bit clueless about the that tbh!

AmberTheCat Thu 01-May-14 17:21:01

I'm a bit confused. Is the school you're keen to avoid a primary or a secondary school? If it's a secondary, it seems rather early to be worrying about this if your Ds is only 2! What are your local primary schools like?

Bursarybeggar Thu 01-May-14 17:26:18

No it is a primary - this indie has a reception class he could go into from Sept and be in the same school until 11.

titchy Thu 01-May-14 17:32:43

Are you using the term 'comp' to mean primary then? Comps are secondary schools....

Are you in a defined catchment area or just living 0.6 miles away from the less desirable primary school? There may be other primary schools you could apply for, you don't have to assume that you'd only get into one.

Bursarybeggar Thu 01-May-14 17:57:57

blush Yes, I thought comprehensive covered all non-fee paying schools!
You can see I'm not a teacher and DS is pfb grin

There are other 3 primaries on the other side of town but all are over subscribed (and have been for the last 2/3 years) and have to pick from closest out, with siblings and children in care taking precedence. They are basically the same as the one closest to us, but further away meaning we are even less likely to get in!

LIZS Thu 01-May-14 18:03:12

If he's only 2 then you may yet find that the intake comes from a wider area this year than last. Perhaps you should at least wait until you have been turned down. Also don't base your choices on hearsay, visit the schools , speak to staff and head . Childcare vouchers are not available in every company but you could claim some help with holiday childcare costs through tax credits if you were working .

mary21 Thu 01-May-14 18:05:03

Have you actually looked at the dire primary. Sometimes schools have a reputation that is far from the truth. .Near us there is a school that people won't touch but everyone who has been there for teaching practice says its excellent and when you dig down in the stats its the only school where there isn't a discrepancy in the attainment between the advantaged and disadvantaged kids. The more middle class schools have masses of after school tutoring going on so the results look good then you look at their results for the disadvantaged pupils and they are far worse than those at the school people avoid.
Not saying that's the case here but do check out the school.

Bursarybeggar Thu 01-May-14 18:22:54

Yes, I probably should check it out to cover the bases. I looked at the website and in the first introductory paragraph the Head Teacher made lots of very obvious errors, and sadly that really put me off even more! I will visit it though just to make sure.

They have a high staff turnover, which I always thought was also a bad sign.

Bursarybeggar Thu 01-May-14 18:26:49

LIZ There has been a huge baby boom here - the library has no room for it's baby groups and I personally know around 20 parents/children just from toddler groups who live in the actual catchment area hoping to get in for the same year. If I know that many and friends know even more, it isn't hard to see they can get their full catchment way before they get anywhere near my house sad It's a weird blackspot here, but a 'nice area' where I assume most people send their DC private.

Still think I will be OK as long as I can find a job, but that is not a guaranteed in this climate!

middleclassonbursary Thu 01-May-14 18:54:54

Many schools make quite grandiose claims on their websites about their bursary provision, we have fallen a cropper for this in the past. Frankly you can't beat speaking directly to the bursar. If you are able to see him when you visit it would be useful to have a rough break down of what you would realistically need, and a rough break down of you assets, earning etc. If they are sending out positive vibes when you formally apply for a bursary they are likely to want to see your most recent P60/accounts etc and your DS's fathers, he too is likely to be asked about his assets etc. some schools will want the last three months bank statements from both of you. Our very small assets contribute 10% to the total value of our financial situation if that makes sense.

Impatientismymiddlename Thu 01-May-14 20:01:55

Middleclass has it spot on about bursary provisions on the websites and the reality. I remember visiting a school that had advertised in the local press that they had 100% bursaries available but when I visited the head quickly told me that as a small school the maximum they could offer to any family was 10%, that was before we had even discussed my income and circumstances. I'm not sure how some schools meet their charitable status requirements.

sixlive Fri 02-May-14 20:01:13

You need to either go to the state primary, get and job and remortgage, or sell house and move to an area with better primary schools or to a smaller house and go private with the capital. Not that hard surely.

Jaffacakesareyummy Fri 02-May-14 20:44:06

We were offered the first year free.....but it was anyway due to early years funding!!?

handcream Fri 02-May-14 21:10:39

I am not sure you would be entitled to a bursary. We could all choose to pay off our mortgages and then say we had little money. Do you work or are you just looking for some funding because you don't like the state options. The only reason my DH and I can afford the fees is because we still have a mortgage, we also both work full time.

You also haven't mentioned what you would be offering to the school in return for them letting you off the fees!

Bursarybeggar Fri 02-May-14 23:03:28

Thank you all for posting - only just caught up with the thread.

I have been mulling it over and think if I remortgaged £40k on this house and worked at least part time (which I was always going to do when he was in school for longer hours anyway), that with the income from tenants should be more than enough. As someone mentioned he will get 15hrs free when he is 3 so that will be a buffer if I need to get a better job or go FT.

Sorry if I seemed slow to come to the conclusion but it has been a stressful few months with moving and the OW/DS's dad leaving and going AWOL. I don't even know where he lives so I'd have to go via CSA to get his P60 anyway!

Thank you for all of your help and advice.

BadgerB Sat 03-May-14 05:19:08

OP - Please let us know how you get on when you seen the school and the bursar. Genuinely interested.

PancakesAndMapleSyrup Sat 03-May-14 08:40:17

Badger yes indeed me too. It would be nice to see what they offered you. Please do keep us posted op.

Journey Sat 03-May-14 09:35:21

I think your last post is the most realistic. Your other posts all sound a bit off. You expect a bursary but want to remain mortgage free and not go back to work until your dc is older. It all sounds so entitled.

pinkdelight Mon 05-May-14 08:11:29

I agree that your last plan sounds better, but still think it's way too early to worry about secondary schools to this extent. If your state primary is fine (in actuality not by reputation) then use that. If the secondary situation is still 'dire' in five or six years, you still have plenty of time and capital (incl all the fees you won't have had to pay) and can move into the catchment of a good secondary and tutoring for 11+ if it turns out that would suit your dc. To make the decision when he's two seems perverse, sorry.

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