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anyone waiting to hear from Latymer Upper?

(58 Posts)
fruitcorner Mon 20-Jan-14 09:34:27

Anyone else still waiting to hear back from LU following exam last week? Interviews are on 1 Feb and I am not sure whether the school has been contacting people yet to call to interview

Shootingatpigeons Mon 10-Feb-14 12:23:18

Bookworm not sure why you are confused? I would say that the message that comes from this thread is that different schools have differing capabilities in terms of offering bursaries / "means tested scholarships" and use different criteria to make the decision on who is most deserving. Parents therefore need to talk to each school to enable them to understand their prospects of success and how the decision will be made.

The bursary campaign at DDs school is most heavily targeted at alumnae and at the organisations that are keen to build up a relationship with the school to encourage applications for student sponsorship schemes / graduate recruitment, accountancy firms and the like. I think they probably recognise that current parents are stretched enough paying for their own DCs......

bookworm9229 Sun 09-Feb-14 19:18:40

We have 3 kids at private schools and manage it, just .In one particular very selective school I bid on something I couldn't comfortably afford for the benefit of the bursary fund .This, we are told are for exceptional children ,that would otherwise not be able to benefit from an education that others can afford to pay for .Usually heart breaking circumstances .Reading this thread I am confused ,either sites like these are misleading or the schools themselves are .As far as I am aware ,the fee payers compete against themselves ,then if someone has performed stratospherically but has had circumstances that the Bursary Fund believe should be taken into account ,then that is where help is at hand .
If people are not told this straight then this makes me really angry .It should be transparent .The money for the bursaries are raised by the fee paying parents .

Shootingatpigeons Wed 29-Jan-14 17:14:16

Also cake

Shootingatpigeons Wed 29-Jan-14 17:13:35

Maybe Latymer has used the tactic of offering means tested scholarships to recruit some very bright pupils away from the competing schools to further it's strategy of improving it's academic reputation? If you look here at the annual report and accounts they describe an increase in the number of means tested scholarships as distinguished from bursaries, which implies academic selection. Most schools offer bursaries according to need, and, normally scholarships, which offer more prestige than monetary value, according to academic selection. Parents of boys would, and did, argue that their boys chances were sacrificed to the schools strategy for improving it's academic results when they admitted girls. They have been so successful in achieving their vision that they clearly have employed a lot of successful tactics......

Ladymuck There is little transparency in the normal selection process and the bursary process is also far more sensitive. My DDs schools have been very careful to make sure no one knows who is there on a bursary. The only way that they should be transparent, without risking increasing stigma (showoff parents apart) is to publish the size of the bursary fund for the year and how many pupils in the school are on full and partial bursaries, which they mostly do. Certainly at my DD's school it varies year to year but at @£1m it covers 42 bursaries of which 21 are full so in any given year it really is only a handful. The above report and accounts puts the Latymer fund at £1.3m funding 73 fully funded means tested scholarships 14 of 75% or more and 102 combined bursary / scholarships, so clearly the number of bursaries based on need are relatively small and they have preferred to allocate resources to means tested scholarships instead. It also looks likely that at least some of this larger number of scholarship / bursaries are for lesser amounts / shorter periods eg sixth form?

Iwanto maybe that school had enough bursary funds to be needs blind? Some are much richer in endowed funds for bursaries than others. I am also guessing some schools would set an academic bar then consider the other factors, such as social situation and finances to determine how to ration the bursaries between those that meet the academic criteria, whilst others will decide that if a candidate doesn't look like standing a chance in terms of the process for rationing funds then there is no point putting them through the stress of interview.

The thing is though that the academic selection process is opaque, it isn't even that cut and dried if you can afford to pay. As Needmore highlights it throws up all sorts of anomalies. Each school has different papers, some straightforward, some testing lateral thinking, and places a different emphasis between school reference, maths, English, VR, general knowledge and interview and even more so between a pupil's creativity, accuracy, intellect, sports prowess, music, drama etc etc. n terms of the selection process. The fact that a child is competing for a limited bursary pot just throws another variable factor into the mix. It isn't a racetrack that rewards those first past the finishing post with the highest marks .

So all we parents can do is have a nice cosy safe rock there for our DCs where what matters is them. Believe me passing the exam into even the most selective and prestigious school doesn't mean that you won't need that rock again, and again.

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 29-Jan-14 16:35:39

Iwant, I know exactly how you feel and don't beat yourself up, please. Have some of these flowers.

harrassedswlondonmum Wed 29-Jan-14 16:17:49

Latymer also has an outreach policy, farewell - linking with local primaries and encouraging applications from very able children who would not normally think of applying.

Farewelltoarms Wed 29-Jan-14 16:13:05

No, school I'm thinking of is north of the river...

iwanttohideunderarock Wed 29-Jan-14 15:53:04

Shooting, yes I am a naive, single mum just trying to do her best for her son. It's a steep learning curve for us all.

I assumed, clearly with hindsight incorrectly, that ALL children were assessed by the same academic criteria, and that means tested bursaries were only added into the mix once the children's papers had been graded. At least this was what I was told this last year by the bursar of another school, from which I understood they were all on a level playing field.

I guess this thought process was naive & wrong and I guess its a harsh way to have learnt my mistake. I guess also my son just isn't up to the mark.

Moving on & probably best back under my rock, feels safer there.

LadyMuck Wed 29-Jan-14 15:11:24

Sometimes one has to take playground boasting with a pinch of salt though. It definitely helps having a senior management team with children at the school where any boasting would get back to the SMT fairly quickly.

But it is clear that it would be better for there to be more transparency in the process. The entry process can be hugely time consuming on both sides. Locally I've seen schools reducing their time commitment by essentially operating 2 streams of candidates, full fee and bursary, and operating different interview criteria for each, so that they are not interviewing loads of bursary applicants to whom they cannot make suitable offers.

Needmoresleep Wed 29-Jan-14 14:50:20

Shooting...I have seen both.

Both DC have close friends who are almost certainly on bursaries and who would not be at private schools if they were not.

Similarly though I know someone who shocked people who knew her by boasting that she had negotiated a bursary up to 90%, not to Latymer but similar, by threatening to send her child to a Grammar instead. Given we all knew that her husband had a good job, she had a professional qualification but chose not to work, and that they had recently had a major inheritance which had enabled them to move home and have a lot of work done, there were some eyebrows raised. Most upset were those in similar circumstances, who had ruled out private on the basis it would entail real sacrifice but that they were too well off for a bursary.

And then the divorced dad who would turn up to Prep school events in his flash car and complain that the very academic school his bright son wanted to go to was not willing to offer enough. Instead his son was going to a less regarded school, further from home, essentially because he did not see why he should pay for his child's education.

Farewell, is the school Alleyns? I know two bursary recipients there who would fit into the non-working single mum/council estate category.

Shootingatpigeons Wed 29-Jan-14 14:34:05

castles I have pm'd you.

castlesintheair Wed 29-Jan-14 14:26:41

Farewelltoarms, I would love to know the name of that school smile

Shootingatpigeons Wed 29-Jan-14 14:26:33

A lot of hmm here.

With two children having almost gone through these schools I have known a fair number of pupils on bursaries at all these schools, full bursaries too. However the bursary pot which rarely comes out of fees isn't limitless and the way that it is divided is according to the most deserving as defined according to their ethos, often a founding ethos, usually those who would most benefit from the opportunity. They also use some of these funds so that they can continue to provide stability to pupils whose parents are no longer able to pay. Quite a few go proactively into state primary schools to encourage applications from pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds who might not even think to apply.

They are all actively trying to raise money to increase the pot but in the end it has to be rationed somehow. My DDs have friends who have been refugees eg from Sri Lanka and whose parents make ends meet driving taxis, whose parents have lost their livelihood as a result of Cancer or bereavement, whose fathers refused to pay for their education following divorce etc. etc. And even in the latter cases that emergency support ceases at sixth form. When my DD was sitting one of the exams a single parent father whose wife had recently passed away after he gave up work to care for her, asked me where he could go with his toddler and we walked to the park. His DS's teacher was paying their admission fees and fares to give the clever DS this chance. He was from Chessington where I gather the local schools are not great so I hope he had that chance.

Frankly after all these years of paying fees I wouldn't have minded at all if they had gone to be used in the way I have witnessed, and the possibility the money is doled out in the smallest possible chunks to get the cleverest is wide of the mark, scholarships maybe but that is not what bursaries are for.

I assume they would not write to say that you were not clever enough for a bursary to give you a chance to find the money because you have put yourself into the pool for them to consider whether your DC is the most deserving according to a number of factors, financial, in terms of family background and academically, of the opportunity out of those unable to pay and they are considering carefully all those factors. Frankly if you can find the money then you shouldn't have put yourself in that pot in the first place. It is a bit naive to think it is limitless, and will give that opportunity to anyone who gets through the admissions process on a level playing field with all those who can pay. That was the direct grant system abolished in the 70s and since then those schools have had to raise the funds themselves to continue to at least attempt to offer the same opportunities.

castlesintheair Wed 29-Jan-14 14:24:02

cleadale, that is very interesting and I have often wondered about it. I know of one boy at another very selective boys school who was offered a full bursary after his parents hummed and harred about accepting the offer and then threw in the idea of sending him to an even more selective all boys school ...

Farewelltoarms Wed 29-Jan-14 14:22:09

A different but equally sought after private school (v similar to Latymer) near me seems to have a contrasting bursary policy. It has an outreach programme where they go into state primaries and identify children who would benefit. So there's a child from my kids' school who has a 100% bursary. The child apparently did well, but not brilliantly, on the exam but shone at interview. This child (trying to remain gender neutral here) does not come from the sort of background that would have applied to private school without direct encouragement. Single parent in v low paid job, council flat, from an ethnicity not prominent in the school.

It's quite life changing in a way that perhaps it wouldn't be to the child of the well-educated but not wealthy parents.

cleadale Wed 29-Jan-14 14:11:54

The bursary policy at Latymer Upper has come under considerable criticism recently amongst the school community. Many current parents feel that it is used largely to "incentivise" the top performing/scholarship students (whatever their financial status or income) who have threatened to take their DCs elsewhere (Colet Court, SPGS etc). No idea whether this is true, but my high-earning manager's DS has a bursary and we don't! confused

iwanttohideunderarock Wed 29-Jan-14 13:53:58

and of course grateful in the bigger scheme of things that we can even consider private schooling when local states are desperately lacking.

and also for the fact that my ds is happy and healthy and has had seven years of excellent primary schooling with the best group of local friends. And although I don't know where right now, i have no doubt the next seven years will be equally rewarding.

iwanttohideunderarock Wed 29-Jan-14 13:48:59

thank you all, I can't moan to the usual friends because they all say "poor you, it seems so unfair" which frankly doesn't help when their dcs have made the grade.

I don't want to make out that my ds is better than anyone else's, of course I think he is the best wink but I am also aware that the competition is devilish, and if he had a bad day that's it, all that hard work up in smoke which is of course frustrating for him (and me!).

i am sure he will end up somewhere which suits him down to the ground and I guess if we knew what our options were it really would make it so much easier to brush it off and move on.

just have to hang in there now til half term and see what that brings.....

and very much looking forward to forgetting the whole bloody process, as mimble suggests !

Needmoresleep Wed 29-Jan-14 13:33:54

Latymer has always thrown up odd results. In DDs year at Prep, two very bright girls top set girls got turned down. The first did not even get an interview, but then got a major scholarship at another day school. A third girl who was not top set got Latymer even though the school had recommended she did not apply. She seems to have taken off academically since then, so perhaps Latymer got that one right. A boy in DS' year failed to get Latymer but got Westminster.

Local legend is that the maths exam is particularly important and unusually tricky. It is true that demand for boy's places far exceeds that from girls. (Many parents want co-ed for boys but single sex for girls, plus there are not many boys alternatives around.) It is a lottery. A couple of fluffed answers in the maths paper on the day and given the numbers applying, you are out.

LadyMuck Wed 29-Jan-14 13:31:34

But in terms of a level playing field - not sure how that could ever work? If there are 100 places say, and out of the top 200 candidates only 20 are full fee payers, then the schools income would drop significantly? Even the logic of only needing a "small bursary" doesn't quite work for most schools who have to make a broad assumptions of the amount an average bursary family will need over the whole period. The admissions team will just be told that they have X "bursary places" to give out, and it is not until they get in initial acceptances that they can revisit what is left in their pot.

I know some schools are trying to get to a needs-blind basis, but it requires enormous amount of funding.

CountessDracula Wed 29-Jan-14 13:29:28

yes at dd's primary there have been some v odd results, some children I would have thought would have got interviews haven't. DD not getting one for Latymer was surprising too - the head's jaw dropped when I told her!

CountessDracula Wed 29-Jan-14 13:27:36

ARe you sure that is how they do it?
I was under the impression they invited to interview based purely on how they scored in the tests.

dunesandy Wed 29-Jan-14 13:26:37

I really feel for you all. This whole process is such a lottery. I still haven't heard from Latymer but no doubt there will be a letter when i get home. our school has told us that this year there have been many surprises about who has and hasn't been called for interviews at various schools which makes it even more stressful.

LadyMuck Wed 29-Jan-14 13:25:39

For some of the schools it was almost an entirely different "competition": same exam paper but different candidate numbers etc.

I know that some of the GDST schools used to tell you that you weren't eligible for a bursary but you could have a full fees place. I suspect that with the numbers going for some of these schools though that isn't a realistic option. But always worth asking for feedback, especially if a full fees place is within your range somehow, and would be of interest.

iwanttohideunderarock Wed 29-Jan-14 13:13:45

i just want a level playing field, doesn't seem to be asking much ! Very easy for them to say, look your boy meets the academic criteria (of everyone who can pay), but we can't offer you a bursary, do you want to proceed anyway ?

at which point you can say, nope, can't afford it, or yes, I will sacrifice every bone in my body.

but to be cut out because we submitted an extra form is not fair.

hey ho, must try and get over it. I don't have an issue if he is beaten fair and square, as he was at KCS, this just has left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth.

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