Academic scholarships(9 Posts)
I'm interested in whether aside from the obvious financial benefit and sense of achievement from an academic scholarship (and also the pressure to excel!), whether there are any other benefits? Do the children have a special mentor, or encouraged to do specific subjects, is their progress more closely monitored/discussed with them for example? I know Sports scholars have exercise programs/nutritional advice etc., is there any equivalent for the academic scholar? Clearly it will vary from school to school but can you share your experience?
I understood Charity Commission guidelines were leading many indies to slashing Academic scholarships so that they were more about recognising achievement rather than financially significant, in favour of funding means tested bursaries. At my DCs state primary there's very little discussion of independant schools but, reading posts on MN, many DCs seem to be getting "very good offers", "significant" scholarships - i wondered if this reduction of scholarship amounts was actually the case? From people i know personally the experience is mixed - two DCs getting over 30% at the same single sex indie (from a state primary no-less ;-)), compared with at Sevenoaks School where generally the trend seems to be one of 30%, with around 10 others of 10%. Personally our own DS has been offered an academic scholarship, for which we are extremely proud of him, but it's hardly going to be denting the fees so will still be awaiting grammar school offers day with baited breath!....
Check the "obvious" financial benefit. In some schools the cash value is zero or a token amount. But it is still possible to find them up to 30% and occasionally higher. It depends on the school and it's overall finances, and whether any are based on specific bequests.
And expectations of scholars vary from school to school. Again, you need to check individually what is offered or expected.
At some schools scholars attend enrichment classes etc, get mentoring for Oxbridge, it really depends how academic the school is. Super selectives probably won't differentiate that much, many non scholars will be equally as bright IME but at less selectives schools will.
The financial benefits vary from school to school as do the "perks". I have found that the non financial perks apply to both the "very talented" as well as the "very talented who were awarded scholarships". In general these schools are primarily academically driven and therefore will be offering extension and mentoring opportunities to all who will benefit.
In my area of South London, awards vary from maximum fixed sums (eg Alleyns award £3k per year) to schools who will award up to 10 full fees worth of scholarships per year with many awards at 25-50%. The Charity Commission guidelines have varied a bit over recent years, and certainly not all schools have abandoned significant awards. Typically ime the most prestigious schools have gone for means testing, whereas the next tier use scholarships to win pupils from those schools and the grammars.
I don't know what the general trend is but my DS is on an academic scholarship (awarded to him at 11+) and there is a specific "able pupils" policy within the school which targets the top pupils and offers enrichment experiences. About twice a term they have a one hour session tackling problem solving/ learning about something "out of the box" like philosophy or ancient greek, or being entered into quiz competitions or physics olympiad- whatever is age appropriate.
As they move up the school the scholars are groomed for Oxbridge but they bring along a small cohort of the brighter pupils with them who may not have been awarded a scholarship as such but have talents particularly perhaps in one area.
In our school the scholarship is not linked directly to any financial award and busaries are means tested, but there is no doubt that they offered us a good level of bursary because they wanted DS for the school not just for his academic ability but other all round interests which were a good fit for the school
Non-financial benefits will depend on the school, I would have thought.
DD has just been given a scholarship for the senior section of her school (she's in year 6 now), and apart from a bit of money off fees it means she will be a member of the 'scholars' programme', which I think does involve access to extra activities, mentoring etc, on top of the more general programme they have for G&T/more able students - there are about 10 children in her year in the G&T group, but she is the only one to get a scholarship. I think they add more students to the scholars' programme as they go further up the school, without actually giving all of them financial scholarships.
At DS's school, they didn't do scholarships when he started, but there is a fairly broad G&T programme, and from yr11 onwards a subset of that gets put into small discussion groups which are effectively Oxbridge preparation.
Some highly selective and over-subscribed schools only have give scholarships worth a nominal amount (eg St Paul's only offers £60 pa) but they can be topped up by means tested bursaries.
Others give considerably more (and again that may be because they want to draw the very academic candidates who might go elsewhere to a top tier academic school).
For those on higher incomes who don't qualify for a bursary, then I imagine a scholarship for even a nominal amount is well worth it for the prestige (and looks good on a CV).
As others have said, some schools do have some special extras by way of enhanced programmes in certain areas for scholars. Top flight boarding schools like Eton, Westminster and Winchester have separate boarding for their scholars though they share the same lessons as non-scholars.
Here's an example (from Heathfield School) of the possible non-financial benefits of a scholarship:
"Scholarships and Exhibitions carry with them a title and a certain amount of prestige and can, of course, be listed on UCAS forms and CVs later in life. They also entitle the holder to a range of enrichment activities (for which we do not charge) in some or all curriculum areas, which will further help them to fulfil their potential. Examples of these activities include a lecture on Architectural History and tour of a Palladian villa from a world expert often seen on television - or an opportunity to lunch with a member of the House of Lords and to accompany her on a fact-finding mission to Africa. The programme of activities is constantly changing and improving."
Thank you for all your comments. I'm looking forward to hearing from our chosen school what additional opportunities they offer the scholars...
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