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Independent without the means?

(15 Posts)
RichTeas Sat 17-Nov-12 12:18:36

Would it make any sense to speak to some indy-schools about entry/suitability when the reality is that we would likely need a bursary to attend the school? My feeling is that in such situations we would just be fobbed off, but I wonder if anyone has had any experience of this. Would we just be wasting our and their time?

APMF Sat 17-Nov-12 13:26:32

I have no experience of bursaries but speaking generally the admissions people that I have had contact with were quite keen to ensure that I had all the information I needed in order to decide whether I wanted to apply to that school.

Having said that, they would probably be unwilling to discuss specifics without there being an application in front of them.

kerrygrey Sat 17-Nov-12 14:16:26

It varies so much - a few will give you a (very) rough estimate as to what you might get, others (I'm looking at you, Eton) will scrape you off the sole of their shoe like dog mess. Most come somewhere in between. Just be prepared to say 'thank you' and put down the phone if they are less than welcoming.

butisthismyname Sat 17-Nov-12 14:24:23

It depends completely which school it is, what their bursary amount is and how much they would want your child, as well as how your child would benefit from the education. If you don't ask you won't ever know! We certainly aren't letting our need for a bursary stop us - nor has the school been in any way different towards us knowing our situation.

Tricccky Sat 17-Nov-12 14:29:47

Most independent schools have some bursaries available and many fundraise significantly to try and raise the number of bursaries. So it is worth checking and they should be used to this sort of question. There are a few schools around the country where HSBC pay full fees for a handful of children each year - selected on merit. There are other similar schemes around too.

difficultpickle Sat 17-Nov-12 14:49:52

If the school want your child then they will do everything they can to ensure you can take up the place offered. Ds is on a substantial scholarship at primary school and will need an equally large scholarship/bursary for senior school. If the school aren't interested enough to offer it then imvho it isn't the right school.

RichTeas Sat 17-Nov-12 21:13:01

Presumably they would want the child for music, sport or academic excellence, is that right? Are these enquiries best made over the phone or in person?

difficultpickle Sat 17-Nov-12 21:21:34

I did an open day followed by email and phone, then individual visit, then ds went and spent the day and did scholarship test (music) and entrance exams. I found it very useful to build up contact with the registrar who was able to give me lots of information.

Schools like very talented pupils and will pay to have them. I would call and visit.

RichTeas Sat 17-Nov-12 21:38:36

Thanks bisjo. Did you find there was plenty of competition for the scholarship places?

difficultpickle Sat 17-Nov-12 22:01:23

Not sure on numbers. Lots of boys at the open day but I don't know how many auditioned as it was open for boys currently at the school (who wouldn't necessarily have attended the open day) as well as external candidates. Three places, one went to a boy already at the school, one was awarded to the son of an old chorister by the retiring headmaster (in the previous year but he started at the school the same time as ds, not sure whether he had a formal audition or not) and ds was the only one who got a place without any connection with the school.

It was for a choral scholarship. He had a voice trial a couple of days later (whilst we were waiting to hear) at another cathedral school and they were completely blown away by ds's voice. That helped me to relax as I knew he would get a place there if his first choice didn't make him an offer.

RichTeas Sat 17-Nov-12 22:16:24

How marvellous, your DS gets a scholarship AND has the voice of an angel smile

Is it normal practice to bring the child along to the open day or can you go simply as a parent(s)?

difficultpickle Sat 17-Nov-12 22:43:28

In our case the open day was entitled 'Be a chorister for the day' so I'd have looked a bit odd turning up without ds grin

I think you can do either. I plan to take ds when we start looking at secondary schools. He won't have the ultimate choice but I want him to be involved in the process. He tends to have loads of questions that I would never think about asking so it is easier to take him than face being quizzed when I get home. He also notices different things from me.

Mutteroo Sun 18-Nov-12 00:39:19

My DC both had bursaries. There were extremely bright state school pupils who had gained full bursaries which included uniforms & trips at both schools, however my DC though bright, did not fulfil this criteria. I enquired about bursaries even before they were offered places & both were successful.

If you don't ask, you won't get. I wasn't fobbed off. I'm talking about two public schools here who can afford to turn people away.

Go for it!

middleclassonbursary Sun 18-Nov-12 12:07:48

There are lots of other threads on bursaries do search them. We've been on a substantial bursary 60% + at two top boarding school for 9 years now. When we started it was virtually unheard of now everyone knows. Also 9 years ago the economy was booming and many schools were not only optimistic for there future but also aware that the Charities Commission was looking into this issue and the general feeling was that for schools to maintain their charitable status they would have to significantly broaden access. I believe there has been a fairly ruling overturning this.
OP you need to approach this is a systematic fashion and you want to avoid raising your child's hopes until you've had some sort of positive feed back from a school.
First thing is ignore any comments like "bursaries are only offered to scholars, those on less than £40 000 PA this is not true for all schools.
Next identify two or three schools you like the look of. As a general principle the big names are more generous as they basically have more money. Boarding schools although often keen to fill empty vacancies may not be able to offer 100% because quite simply as most fees are £30 000+ thats a hell of a lot of money. READ THEIR WEBSITES usually under admissions/fees if bursaries are attached to scholarships it will say also cut off dates for applying and even size of bursary. Also do your figures be realsistic! Having identified schools you like contact the bursars say I love your school think my DC would do really well in your school, if your DC has any particular talents e.G. IQ of 160 grades 8 flugal horn, Olympic tiddlywinks player etc etc this is the time to mention it and sadly but realistically any significant SEN, explain your situation if you are going to need 75% tell him ask if they are able to entertain bursaries of this size your not asking for a definite yes but you don't want to waste their time your time and most importantly raise your DC's hopes if its a non starter.
Only after you've received some sort of positive feed back take it any further.

RichTeas Sun 18-Nov-12 15:00:11

Great advice middleclass, thank you.

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