es for private schools in NW Surrey/SW London
I am thinking way ahead here, as DD1 is years away from secondary school, but I like to plan ahead
I'm not too enthused about the secondary options near us (without being too specific about location, we are outside the catchment for Heathside, only real options are Fullbrook or BDB, won't even consider Jubilee), so am wondering about private. There is no way on earth we could even think about paying fees, so it would have to be via a scholarship/bursary.
Can anyone suggest any schools I should be thinking about? Schools that are nurturing, not too overly pressurised, well-rounded, which have good scholarship/bursary options? DD1 is bright, certainly, but it is far too early to know how far that will take her.
Not got girls, but know the area.
Did you know that Heathside offer a few (very few) places outside catchment to exceptional children in specific fields? Can't remember the criteria now, but look them up. They sit tests sometime in yr 5 and then you put it as first choice on the LEA form. (Havings said that, I know someone who had such a place withdrawn at last minute, presumably due to high priority child needing the place, so it's not infallible and I didn't envy them the stress of that.)
Tormead in Guildford is a possibility. Scholarships are rarely more than 20% of fees. Bursaries are for people who can't afford it and also have very little money tied up in capital. If you could afford it by selling your home and moving to a 3 bed terrace in Guildford then you're not eligible. Same is true of most of the schools these days.
Claremont in Esher also a possibility and nearby. It's not known for being highly academic, so may give generously to someone who would shine in exams. It's co-ed.
American school at Cobham could be worth a look?
And could you get to City of London Freeman's in Ashtead from where you are? That's a lovely school, of which I've heard some exceptionally good things about their generosity and integrity recently towards pupils with parents in need. We were very impressed when we toured it.
Thanks. We rent, so no issues with capital etc!! If she qualifies for one at all, I am sure it would be 100% as we really have no spare cash (no holidays abroad, no second homes, one car etc etc) We will probably try for the ability places at Heathside, but it is such a lottery Hadn't thought about the American school, that is a definite possibility, Ashtead is a bit too far though, and no direct transport links. Guildford also a bit far, although at least the transport is easier. I was looking today at Sir William Perkins and they do offer bursaries, so that might be a possibility.
Good idea is to contact the schools about what level of bursaries they give out. Even if you have nothing at all, they may still cap each individual bursary at a certain level as funds are finite and may need to be divided according to how many fit the qualifying criteria. When I started looking, levels of means tested bursaries varied from as little as 10% right up to a school saying that their absolute top bursary level would be 80%. This means in effect you could have next to nothing and 100% would still not be awarded. Open conversations with bursars are essential.
Labro that's interesting. So even bursaries effectively rule out the poorest pupils? I'd assumed that many schools would offer up to 100% for candidates who couldn't otherwise attend.
Lorelai - is Guildford really too far? I'm pretty sure there are Byfleet boys at RGS.
Racing - I got the impression that there are very few actual 100% bursaries now. The schools I spoke to said about the expectation of parents being able to contribute around 25% at senior level, with the expectation that both parents would be working. (though there are still schools that offer these as a combination of bursary and scholarship) At senior level even means tested bursaries are often linked to being scholarship standard, or linked to a specific need such as boarding, lone parent etc. It really does depend on how big the bursary 'pot' is and how it needs to be divided. Its well worth applying, but if its impossible without a 100% bursary then its best to find out how many bursaries of that size each school would expect to offer before going through the whole pre test process etc, bursars can normally give an accurate assessment to each case.
Some schools may offer 100%, but you need to ask what size awards they have made in recent years. Returns on investments are not good at the moment, the number of existing pupils who need support at some point is on the rise (death/divorce being much the same, but redundancy/bankruptcy on the up).
With a fixed amount of money to offer for bursaries and a large number of candidates, all requiring a differing level of award, they have to make it add up. Some years it might be one exceptional pupil getting over 90%, other it might be 3 pupils each getting a 1/3 reduction. You cannot be sure of the level of award that can be offered until you are in detailed contact with the school.
Thanks all, some interesting food for thought.
Guildford might be do-able, it just feels far, and 11 seems so young to get the train so far alone...
But I will start asking around about bursaries in a couple of years, put some feelers out. Sir William Perkins does say it offers bursaries of up to 100%, will see if there are any others. And of course I need to see how she develops, academically and personally, it may not be the right move at all.
If you are Fullbrook/BDB area then Guildford is definitely doable for secondary. Lots of girls go there from West Byfleet station (I did!).
If you are looking for a big bursary I would speak to as many possible schools as you can as they won't all have them, and even where they do they will be few.
SWPS is a lovely school, very nurturing. The head is leaving next summer though so will have to see who they recruit. And lots of girls go there from West Byfleet/New Haw/Addlestone areas.
You could look at GHS, Tormead, SWPS, St George's Weybridge (also very caring school), Surbiton High, LEH.
Lots of 11 year olds travel by train to Guildford (you would be amazed how busy the station is with school children going in and out in the morning). Tormead also has a bus network. GHS has a system of "train buddies" where an elder girl looks after a year 7.
Is Cobham possible? The free school is opening a senior department, even better if she is musical.
Or as you are living in rented, I would move. Far less costly than top up fees, uniform and other expenses.
The only person I know who really needed 100% did end up writing to charities etc.
I'm the first to admit to know nothing about schools in your area pr girls schools in general but I do know about bursaries.
"DD1 is years away from secondary school"
If this is the case there is no point in speaking to the bursar only a few school welcome discussions about bursaries years in advance and it will say it on their website, if your lucky you might able to talk to the bursar two years in advance and this would only be to establish whether the school genuinely gives 100% bursaries (many claim they do but IMMO its all talk on their website). This is becasue no bursar wants to stick his neck out years in advance and promise you something when he will have no idea how much money will be in the bursary pot and how may will be requesting financial assistance.
Secondly the other thing is that in most cases to get a very generous bursary the school have to really want your DC, she has to bring something to the party, in most cases its obviously likely to be academic success especially at very selective schools but an outstanding ability in sports/music/art/drama may also be considered. The chances of a nice child who is going to do alright academically but not become a rocket scientist, who doesn't know one end of a hockey stick from another and whose as musical as my dog but who would be very happy at he school getting a 100% bursary are slight although I accept it does very occasionally happen.
My advise is seriously look at a scholarship with an attached bursary you are much more likely to get 100% (assuming you meet the financial criteria not owning property helps we don't own a property but would not have got financial support for a day school). You don't say how old your daughter is but you say she's bright to get a scholarship into a top academic school she's going to have to be more than that but many less academic institutions will welcome capable pupils especially if they have other abilities as well e.g. music art sport etc. But you're going to have to accept that competition for scholarships is fierce especially as this often the only way less wealthy parents can get a bursaries. There's no guarantee over the years we've seen some very odd decisions especially when you move away from academic scholarships, we've seen extraordinary talented artists and musicians not get one and mediocre artists and musicians get one.
Finally I have learnt after 13 years in independent ed that just becasue you pay for something doesn't make it better not that Im a great supporter of state ed either. The school be it state or independent have to fit your child, swimming pools, smaller classes, purpose build art depts and famous alumni doesn't mean it will work for your DC.
If you rent and you don't like the senior school options nearby, could you move?
We could move, but I don't really want to, mainly because we have family nearby. Plus we are stretched to the limit at the moment for rent (and our house is cheap for the area), and any area with nicer schools would also have higher rents. To be honest, the secondary options are not as bad as they could be (Fullbrook has a 'good' OFSTED), I just want to expand the options to make sure we get the best fit for DD.
SWPS bursaries for new families are really only realistic if you live in Runnymede. I think they offer one full scholarship to a Runnymede resident.
But you can only ask.
I have a bit of an issue about people applying for bursaries when they simply want a private education for free. I think their place should be for existing families who have fallen on hard times.
Anthracite fairly obviously I'm not going to agree with you. Some very famous big name boarding schools offer generous bursaries so that the unique and outstanding education and opportunities they offer isn't just limited to the small minority who are genuinely able to afford their fees. I don't see why anyone would have a problem with that.
SWPS isn't a boarding school, and it's not a big name nationally.
Check out their bursary policy if you like.
Anthracite I've never heard of SWPS as I said above I don't know the area and I have boys but I, maybe incorrectly, assumed that your "big issue" with parents applying for bursaries when they simple want a "private education for free" was aimed at all parents applying to all schools whether they be day or boarding.
Bursaries are becoming harder to get--more people ask for them. At my child's school a county sports player with 9a*s at GCSE did not have their bursary continued into the sixth form because of the competition and they had to leave.
I would not expect anything close to 100%. Save as much as you can now.
Lorelai - you should see them on the train! It's the social highlight of their day. My DS was having such fun one day he missed his stop. They really love the independence.
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