Dragon school scholarships?

(47 Posts)
oxomum Fri 30-Dec-11 19:51:44

I have a bright dc and have been thinking of the Dragon school in oxford. They mention on their website up to 50% academic scholarships which is what my dc would need for us to afford for him to go there. He is at state primary at the moment.

Does anyone have any info on how hard it is to get the scholarship? I'm especially interested in any info on:
what sort of National curriculum level is required - level 3,4, 5 or more (at age 8)?? I just want to know if there's any point trying or if it's just for geniuses and how much tuition would be needed.
If family income is taken into account - we have income of £70k with me a sahm so I'm assuming we wouldn't get any means tested support??

Thanks very much for any help - I just want to know if I should take the idea seriously and start tuition or if I should just not bother - not considering private apart from this school as can't really afford it!

DilysPrice Fri 30-Dec-11 19:58:10

Check the website for bursary details - some calculate your hh income after tax / mortgage etc, so it's just possible you might get something on that income.

Colleger Fri 30-Dec-11 20:12:16

Your child will probably have to be very gifted. The children i know who've been offered scholarships there all had IQ's above 160 and were already in academic ore-prep schools. Your son will need to be top of his year by miles in all subjects. Some schools split the scholarship between more than one candidate so it could be as little as 5%. I doubt you'd get any bursary on £70k.

If you think your child is very gifted then go for it as long as they won't be disappointed if they don't get in.

Good luck.

oxomum Fri 30-Dec-11 20:28:27

thank you - the scholarship we are hoping for is one specifically for kids from state schools.
My son is top of year but at the moment it is so hard to know what standards are like at other schools!

oxomum Fri 30-Dec-11 20:30:42

Also Colleger - do you think taking a GCSE early would help my son? I am thinking he could possibly do maths at 7 or 8 which might make him stand out from the crowd?

Colleger Fri 30-Dec-11 20:44:27

He sounds exceptional then. Personally I would ask them to give him their 11+ or common entrance maths paper as part of his exam. In fact I'd take him to the school and ask if the Head of Maths would assess him. I'd do this well before the scholarship. This is what I did and we were offered huge scholarships. Some schools assessed him and some gave him 13+ papers and all offered him scholarships based on his maths.

GalaxyAddict Fri 30-Dec-11 21:01:21

The Dragon School is a Prep School, so only goes up to age 13. I don't mean to butt in, but your thread is in the 'Secondary Education' section. I am sure you know it is a Prep School - sorry for stating the obvious.

oxomum Fri 30-Dec-11 21:09:10

Yes - thanks- I did know it was a prep so posted in both primary and secondary as age group spans both (8-13) plus in secondary often are lots of threads re scholarships etc.

peteneras Sat 31-Dec-11 11:09:16

Visited the school some years ago. Didn't like it at all for these reasons:

(a) Registrar was far too concerned how I was going to pay the fee. The irony was, fee was the last thing in my mind even if it cost a million pounds.

(b) On a visit there, they wasted no time in telling me who and who went there . . . "look, that's Jeremy Paxman's daughter . . ." blah, blah blah . . .

(c) Far too big for a prep school, imo.

(d) Got somebody else's letter (with same surname) sent to me and the school insisted vehemently that they had replied my correspondence.

My suggestion:
Try Papplewick, Ascot for their scholarship.

Colleger Sat 31-Dec-11 11:22:01

I also dislike Dragon but it may be the only option if Oxo does not want boarding. I would seriously consider MCS though.

azazello Sat 31-Dec-11 11:27:42

I think the dragon scholarships tend to go to those pupils who will go on to get scholarships to Winchester/ major public school (purely on gossip though!) but if that is right, I would guess you would need to be at level 5 comfortably.

If your DS is bright and/or musical it might be worth looking at choristerships in Oxford - both New college and MCS offer choristerships and don't do boarding. MCS takes boys until 18 as well.

oxomum Sat 31-Dec-11 11:45:07

Thank you all for your helpful replies. We are not really considering other private schools at this stage as we haven't really got the money to pay for private prep unless it's only around 7.5k a year (i.e. on a v large scholarship).

What money we do have will be saved for paying for private secondary (with or without scholarship).

I was just attracted to Dragon by the amount of scholarship on offer as I was under the impression one could get up to 50% non means tested (though this could be wrong).

I'm not sure he's really chorister quality really.

abittoofat Sat 31-Dec-11 14:07:01

We tried for the Dragon 125th Anniversary Bursary Award. They award 5 bursaries of 50-100% for entry into y4 each year.
DS was NC level 4 in year 3 and passed the academic tests ok.
It is a knock-out stage system, so you submit your financial forms first, then sit tests, then attend interview (child and parents each have an interview separately). We lost out in interviews.
I know of 4 people who get 85-100% bursaries.
We then went on pay full fees at another prep, so that gives you an idea of our income levels. (although all going pear shaped now, but that's another story!)
Personally, I'm glad he didn't get one, as the school is MASSIVE. Amazing facilities, but wrong I think for DS.
Anyway, hope that helps, and good luck.

abittoofat Sat 31-Dec-11 14:09:25

Oh, just re-read OP. Not talking about 125th bursary at all are you! Sorry!!!

Happygardening Sat 31-Dec-11 14:14:23

I work very close to Dragon and have a colleague who used to work there I hear very mixed things about it.

oxomum Sat 31-Dec-11 19:58:54

Thanks for replies - very enlightening - in fact I think I've been a bit put off!

Still may still apply though but need to think about it a bit harder first as don't want to waste time preparing if he wouldn't go there even if he did get in.

Colleger Sat 31-Dec-11 20:59:52

It's worth preparing. At 6/7 year old my son did bond papers from age 8-11 for about a month as prep for scholarships to prep boarding schools. Some schools offered 20% and some 90% and some said they didn't offer scholarships but changed their mind when I told them that DS had got some to other schools. So it's worth looking around if boarding is an option.

Happygardening Mon 02-Jan-12 09:47:01

oxomum what have you got to loose if you try it? Assuming you feel that your DS will cope with possible failure; you must have thought about this before posting on MM why not give it a go.
Why don't you look at other preps as well. My DS's went to a top boarding prep and for the 8+ scholarship the school was looking for a really good all rounders at that age, all were clever but not necessarily geniuses and went off to top schools at 13. Most came from state ed. but were already extensively involved in local sports teams e.g. cricket swimming, played instruments etc.
Eton did/does offer financial help with prep schools fees to very bright boys in the sate sector paying their fees at a prep till 13 and then paying their fees at Eton I think from 9/10yrs and Harrow does. I'm assuming all our means tested. Look on their websites.

Colleger Mon 02-Jan-12 11:48:19

Eton no longer does the prep scholarship but Harrow does. They are looking for geniuses though for these awards and most prep schools are too as they want as close to a dead-cert as possible that the child will get a scholarship at 13+. It is always good to have something else though such as a sport, instrument etc.

Happygardening Mon 02-Jan-12 13:25:35

Shame it Eton stopped that scheme.

peteneras Mon 02-Jan-12 14:31:03

Colleger, the prep scholarship offered by Eton then known as the Junior Scholarship was potentially worth a ¼ million pounds to the recipient(s). Unless somebody can prove me wrong this must be the world’s largest monetary gift in education for a single recipient. There were four awards annually, plus one similar but for a junior music scholar, i.e. a >£1-million budget.

"They are looking for geniuses though for these awards and most prep schools are too as they want as close to a dead-cert as possible that the child will get a scholarship at 13+". - Colleger

Till this day, it still brings a smile to my face reminiscing how the nation’s very top prep school heads were literally falling over themselves to get these Junior Scholars to register with them. One London head almost got himself knocked over by an on-coming black taxi in his eagerness to direct me to park in a busy side street near his school. grin blush

Happygardening Mon 02-Jan-12 14:40:17

Why was it stopped prep schools are known to be less generous with their bursaries it must have helped those who didn't stand a hope in hell of getting into Eton.

Colleger Mon 02-Jan-12 14:47:58

They decided that it would be better to have more boys coming at 13 or 16, especially at 16, as the scheme only afforded around 2-4 boys whereas they can give around 30 boys the opportunity to come to Eton from state schools. Boys have to come from state schools to gain these awards so it does not stop a boy but actually increases the numbers coming.

peteneras Mon 02-Jan-12 14:51:56

That's precisely it Colleger, except that at 16 it is not set in stone that the boy must be from state school.

Happygardening Mon 02-Jan-12 17:35:37

Its very commendable more should do it.

oxomum Sun 08-Jan-12 11:06:44

hi - thanks for the useful replies! We've decided that we will try for the scholarship but probably not push it trying to get a bursary.
I gave up a job in the city (was either that or employ a nanny which I didn't want to do) and my husband has a good job as a lecturer so I don't think they would look to kindly on us asking for a bursary (particularly the fact I am a sahm through choice).
If he doesn't get it will probably stay in the state system then switch to indie at 11.

peteneras Sun 08-Jan-12 17:26:14

I’m just wondering, why so specifically Dragon School you are interested only. Although imho it’s not the crème de la crème of the prep school world (but nearly there) it is definitely worth giving it a try for the sake of your son for both scholarship and bursary.

But looking at the bigger picture, why don’t you also look at (imho) an even better prep school that’s just a stone’s throw away from Dragon School, i.e. Summer Fields School? I have met many boys from Summer Fields in the last 6 years and I’ve always been very impressed with the way they carry themselves. They have impeccable manners and speak very confidently even with adults. As a matter of fact, Summer Fields is the only school that I know of that consistently win huge places at Eton year after year including the King?s Scholarships annually without any break.

oxomum Sun 08-Jan-12 19:34:34

We were thinking of Dragon because apparently they offer up to 50% scholarships (non means tested) which I hadn't seen anything like at other prep schools.
However, will have a look at the other school you suggest. Although probably won't consider a school like Eton for secondary (not posh enough and don't want him to feel out of place) but will look at somewhere like MCS.

Happygardening Sun 08-Jan-12 23:31:42

Do not dismiss any school on the grounds that your "not posh enough" many of the schools that you may not consider often offer very generous bursaries not dependent on your DC getting a scholarship.

peteneras Mon 09-Jan-12 02:39:03

I’ve re-read your OP right from the beginning, oxomum and have concluded that you are having too many misconceptions and wrongly assuming too many things as fact.

(1) Yes, Dragon’s 50% scholarship looks interesting but don’t be surprised if they also send you a Bursary Form of sorts (and I think they will) and ask you to complete (assuming your son passed all the tests, etc.).

(2) Although they don’t usually say it, most top prep schools have no problems in giving 50% or even 100% scholarships to one or two children who are exceptional in their eyes i.e. above Level 5 at age 8. It's up to you to ask and to draw their attention to your child.

(3) With a family income of £70K p.a. does not necessarily mean one can afford to send one’s child to a private school. They don't know what are your other financial committments. Without meaning to be personal or patronising, you are a good case in point, otherwise you won’t be looking at the 50% Dragon scholarship so closely.

(4) For example, if you look at Eton’s Bursary Form closely, they even ask what you have in terms of number of properties, their acreage(s), collections, paintings, works of art, vintage cars, farms, silver grin etc . The inference here being there are people who own these assets and still need a bursary!

(5) Beside princes and lords who live in castles and Britain’s most expensive post codes, there are Etonians whose parents are unemployed, live in tough council estates and work as general cleaners. By wearing the same uniform, your son (if he goes there) probably won’t know who is a prince and who is a pauper, and neither do they because nobody ever asked. He therefore, would not feel out of place even in years to come when he’s actually talking to a real Prince or President in his tailcoat at an official function. Others without this experience would probably feel like a penguin gone astray form the Antarctica. grin

Colleger Mon 09-Jan-12 09:17:49

Dragon will offer the largest scholarships to children that they think will gain a scholarship to a top school. Although they can never force a child to go to a specific school, when they fund such a large scholarship they hope for a return and the Dragon would be expecting such a pupil to apply to Win Coll or Eton.

Happygardening Mon 09-Jan-12 18:19:26

"He therefore, would not feel out of place even in years to come when he’s actually talking to a real Prince or President in his tailcoat at an official function. Others without this experience would probably feel like a penguin gone astray form the Antarctica."
What rot my DH often talks to both presidents and Princes and their ilk. He is not an old Etonian and certainly never feels uncomfortable in any way. Eton is not the only school to provide a fantastic education.

propatria Mon 09-Jan-12 18:27:16

Pete,please stop,we all know you are very happy with Eton ,yes its a fantastic school,but please other posters just ignore him,pete does not speak for Eton,other parents or its pupils,please do not think other Eton parents are like Pete,he is (I hope) unique

Happygardening Mon 09-Jan-12 19:22:51

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

peteneras Mon 09-Jan-12 20:51:30

propatria, I thought you of all people should know better. This is a free country and anyone can post anything they like. You certainly don’t have to believe or agree with anything I say, that’s your prerogative. Likewise, it is my prerogative to say what I say. It may or may not interest you to know I have private e-mails supporting what I post. Haven’t you heard of the saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen”?

peteneras Mon 09-Jan-12 20:59:56

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Happygardening Mon 09-Jan-12 22:36:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

TheMead Tue 10-Jan-12 02:28:52

For those who have conditional offer from both WinCol and Eton, such debate make their choices even harder. it may sound luxury dilemma, it really isn't on it's own.

Colleger Tue 10-Jan-12 08:21:02

If you have a child with an unconditional place at both and the decision seems impossible or your son would do well at both, I would look at your other siblings. If you have a younger boy, where would he fit? If he'd fit more at Win then send the eldest one there. It will help get your other son in, both boys will be at the same school too.

propatria Tue 10-Jan-12 09:39:53

Ref-The Eton Bursary form,Im afraid Pete is wrong in his understanding of it,it asks questions about as he puts it collections,paintings,works of art,vintage cars etc,not as he claims because "The inference here being there are people who own these assets and still need a bursary" but because they want to make sure the bursary goes to the right and deserving people and for that they need to know about capital assets as well as income,if you are asset rich but cash poor then you would be expected to liquidate those assets to pay school fees,it isnt the job of a bursary to allow people to make lifestyle choices.

Pythonesque Wed 18-Jan-12 13:01:25

I feel for your dilemma! One substantial problem is that few prep schools offer scholarships and there is a big gap between the level at which you may get bursary assistance, and the level at which you can really afford to send a child (especially more than one) to independent schools. We took a deep breath and went private but are relying on the possibility of scholarships for senior school.

I can confirm that I discussed with the Dragon a couple of years ago what their cut-offs for bursaries typically are, and our family income was over it, and somewhat less than yours. They also assess the value of your family house - value, not equity.

From your comments about maths, I would say absolutely go for it and see, regarding scholarships. I'm planning to put my daughter in for their scholarships, though not hopeful. They award their scholarships as 25%, 33% and 50%. The lower levels bring their total fees close to what we're paying at another girls' school...

Do consider the choirschools, even if you don't think your son is chorister material. Our youngest is at one (just been awarded a choristership which will allow us to more seriously consider moving his sister to the Dragon). Music and maths often go together and we're quite impressed by the education the boys' schools offer. They may be able to offer scholarship support and they all have plenty of experience in both preparing boys for senior school scholarships, and advising parents on the schools most likely to suit their sons.

henrysmall Fri 18-Jan-13 17:05:34

Dear abittoofat, what sort of things were you and your child asked at the Dragon interviews and why do you think you lost out? Thanks smile

vivatregina Sun 20-Jan-13 18:30:06

Oxomum - don't be put off - the Dragon is an amazing school. I can't put that strongly enough - whatever your son is good at they will encourage to the highest standard. They were also extremely generous tiding us over with fees at one point despite neither son being of Scholarship standard - this was something we never had to pay back either. A lot of famous people are ex Dragons, no doubt, but that is a reflection of the school. They also get zillions of Scholarships to secondary schools.

vivatregina Sun 20-Jan-13 18:37:12

Oh yes - and regarding the interview - my sons had come via a primary school in Wandsworth and one of them had a pretty disastrous interview - he literally had to be wrestled through the door by the registrar with his arms and legs braced against the door frames - asked for his favourite sport he said 'Boxing' (never even seen boxing on television) and still got in and totally flourished.

Debaura22 Fri 22-Feb-13 09:07:30

My daughter passed the test. She was even told that she'd like it very much at the school. I was told she was very well liked and that we should come for the second interviews even though I was a little worried. They said she would have much to offer any school. Why then, did they send a letter saying she was unfortunately not selected?! I have emailed them asking the reasons why since myself and daughter don't know why!

AlexPeter Fri 24-May-13 11:43:23

The Dragon is good for girls, for boys look at Summer Fields, many Oxford families (who really know the schools and the eventual outcomes) make this division. If your son is sporting legend and genius, tall and good looking, he would thrive at Dragon, but for a more 'regular' boy who is bright with social maturity in line with his actual age Summer Fields will result in a more rounded, happy, confident boy. Bullying is rife at the Dragon and it is the boys who are the bottom of the pile. I know many parents (mainly of boarders) who have removed their sons after a couple of years. So don't fixate on it, all preps have bursaries for exceptional children.

babybarrister Mon 03-Jun-13 19:26:16

Dragonites not necessarily the most happy children IME

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