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What can a bursary family do / not do?

(105 Posts)
JoDoeCalling Fri 12-Dec-14 15:38:07

My children have bursaries to attend their independent school and part of the condition of this is that we live "a life at the standard worthy of a bursary".

I presume this means as a poor person, whatever that may be.

I was looking at a senior school and that said no extras such as: owning a second home (fine don't own first), going on multiple holidays a year (one holiday in uk every 3 years), owning a new car (car 15years old), owning a luxury car (now car is bmw but was a friend's who gave it to us 6mths ago for £250), or eating out (does McDonald's count?)

Now this is making me worry I'm not allowed to let other parents know we're on a bursary as signed when awarded but do I need to be concerned?

Secondly I feel that if I have any negative comment to make to school re children I can't in fear of bursary removal - does anyone else have this fear and is it irrational fear or a justified fear?

middleclassonbursary Fri 12-Dec-14 16:37:59

My DS's are on a substantial bursary (boarding) and have been since yr 2 now 6th formers.
We own 1 house (well the bank owns 2/3 of it), we own two cars both newish because we're very high milage drivers so reliable and economical
is essential (combined value approx 22k). We take one cheapish holiday a year, eat in decent restaurants on special occasions big wedding anniversary etc, I shop in Waitrose/local and buy fair trade as I feel strongly about, I'm not clad in Primark or New Look I buy expensive rarely instead. I don't drink alcohol or smoke. We have inherited some very nice antiques, painting etc none individually worth a fortune but if added all together a reasonablish sum we're not expected to sell them but we declare them as assets.
We declare yearly all our assets, savings (in my dreams) wages etc but few outgoings; mainly big fixed costs mortgage loans etc no one asks us about council tax, utilities, food bill, petrol the very big one for us although there is a space for "other" if you feel you need too. We are also asked about other family dependents who we support financially I have one and the cost. From what I understand they say you earn X PA take away fixed costs; mortgage/loans etc and you got Y pa then all assets are added up and 10% of their value is also removed from Y, then there is some sort scale if Y pa is A then you reduction is 40% if it's B then you reduction is 50%. What you choose to do with Y is up to you. So if you can feed a family of four on £30 per week then you've more money for luxury holidays etc. Does this make sense?
Unfortunately not all schools do the same thing.
We did complain at our prep (rubbish teaching) and our bursary wasn't removed, fortunately I've never had to complain at senior school although I have raised 1-2 issues personality clashes with teachers etc. and have always had them listened too and my concerns have always been addressed. Few know were on a bursary, our HM does, he's proud to have quite a few children on bursaries in his house because he believes in the concept but I doubt any teaching staff do, we've never been treated any differently.
We coming to the end of what will be 12 years on a substantial bursary, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

skylark2 Fri 12-Dec-14 17:56:04

I don't think a secondhand car counts as luxury unless it's something amazingly extravagant, or that McDonalds (or even a non fast food restaurant occasionally) counts as "eating out".

Surely they are talking about families who drive Porsches and eat out at Le Manoir? Not families who drive ancient BMWs and occasionally go for a pub lunch?

We don't come even close to qualifying for a bursary and couldn't afford any of the things on your list either, so I'd expect bursary families to afford a lot less. Sadly, it's not true - my experience is that many bursary families are rolling in it, usually self employed with a clever accountant. At least DD's school was proud to say that something like 40% of pupils got some financial assistance. We're masses above their cutoff income to qualify and no WAY are we in the top half of families wealth-wise based on cars, clothes, holidays...we are probably in the bottom 5%. I think it's an excellent idea for schools to start calling the bluff of the bursary families with 5 homes, 20 cars and every item of clothing bought from Jack Wills. Which clearly is not you, OP - I'm not getting at you.

paleviewofhills Fri 12-Dec-14 18:14:57

Your bursary should not be even slightly affected by any negative comment you might have to make about the school - you are just as entitled to bring up issues that concern you as any full-fee-paying parent!

Wrt to your other question...I don't own a first home let alone a second, drive a twelve-year-old car with only seven previous owners, any holidays are camping ones and I buy my clothes from tkmaxx or ebay. No antiques, inherited or otherwise smile I actually think that's perfectly fair enough when I'm asking the school for lots of money off the fees.

I'd be slightly uncomfortable, however, with any school that attempted to dictate exactly how bursary families (for want of a better phrase) should spend what disposable income they do have. People are allowed to have lives and the odd bottle of wine or meal out hardly equates to being able to afford £18k+ of school fees a year...

happygardening Fri 12-Dec-14 18:29:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

inthename Fri 12-Dec-14 20:17:10

Don't think they are looking at any of the things you mention, more if a family on a bursary are having 4 holidays a year or something daft.
As for raising issues, it shouldn't make any difference but can do depending on the school concerned (but our school there are definite 'favourites' rather than based on who is or isn't on a bursary)

JoDoeCalling Fri 12-Dec-14 21:47:06

Thank you for the reassurance I declare everything and have nothing to hide there, it's just the day to day that I was worried about.

I think I'll remain cautious re niggles and keep schtum on minor stuff.

1805 Fri 12-Dec-14 22:56:19

Any bursary people know what happens if you receive a critical illness payout?? Are you expected to use that for school fees?

apotatoprintinapeartree Fri 12-Dec-14 23:01:23

I think all bursaries are different tbh.

The school we are looking at only take income into consideration.
It doesn't matter if both, one, or either parents work.
You can have several houses, several big cars, and still get a bursary, depending on your income.

stealthsquiggle Fri 12-Dec-14 23:12:40

OP - I wouldn't keep quiet about niggles IIWY. Operationally, you are a.n.other parent, and it's important for your DC that you are. You bursary is between you and the board of governors. It does not make your DC second class citizens.

That is not to say there is no filter (I wouldn't want to be "that parent", fee paying or not) but if you would raise something as a fee paying parent, then raise it (politely).

summerends Fri 12-Dec-14 23:48:16

1805 I would n't have thought that a bursar with any humanity would ask somebody to contribute money from that. Even if the payout was for a curable cancer. It is meant to cover any loss of earnings etc.

1805 Sat 13-Dec-14 10:43:44

I would hope not too. We have also been awarded disability living allowance this year too (it's been a bad year!)
The trouble is we genuinely don't know how much money we're going to be able to earn at the moment, so we've just offered to meet with the bursar's of dc schools to try and explain.
sorry op - hijacked a bit. We run two cars, and have 1 holiday a year to france or spain. we have sky tv and netflix, and do eat out a couple of times a month. dh (used to) works two jobs, and me one job plus care of ASD child. I do feel scared if I have to complain about school, but do it anyway, in a very nice way. I hope that helps. good luck!

Hakluyt Sat 13-Dec-14 10:52:15

"I think I'll remain cautious re niggles and keep schtum on minor stuff."

How can you possibly go to a school where the power and control is completely in the hands of the school? You need to be able to go in to bat on behalf of your children if necessary- any decent school would know this. I am angry on your behalf.

Hakluyt Sat 13-Dec-14 10:53:40

And having to worry about being seen in Cafe Rouge for the next X years? Please don't put yourself in this position.

Tiredemma Sat 13-Dec-14 10:59:35

DS1 was awarded a significant sized sports scholarship and assisted bursary recently at an independent school- when we met the Bursar he did say if we came into a 'life changing sum of money' then we would 'need to get around the table again' (fair enough). He never made any reference to not being able to have a second home, holidays or cars.

Tiredemma Sat 13-Dec-14 11:01:47

Thinking about it- it does seem to 'single' you at as having a bursary- the school DS goes to, the bursar made it quite clear that the only people who would know he had an assisted place would be him( the bursar, his PA and the Head Teacher)- no one else would know.

If no one else would know at your school what difference would it make what car you are pulling up in?

Hakluyt Sat 13-Dec-14 11:04:41

So if a group of parents go to a local restaurant for a Christmas meal,you won't be able to go?

1805 Sat 13-Dec-14 11:27:14

OP, I think the lifestyle they are talking about is "luxurious". You need to be just "normal". Normal in private school terms means a decent car or two if needed, one holiday a year, high street clothes, and a meal out every now and again. And not a £1m house!!! Yes, many many families will be able to afford a lot more than that, but you are allowed to live enough to fit in with the majority. Please, don't worry, and enjoy the education you are giving your dc.

paleviewofhills Sat 13-Dec-14 12:33:01

Of course you'd be able to go hakluyt.

I have netflix too. A fiver a month. Sixty quid a year. I'd love to meet the bursar who would suggest that means I can pay secondary day school fees!

I would also never be scared to complain to the school (not needed to as yet). Being in receipt of a bursary doesn't mean you need to be tugging your forelock and doffing your cap...

dietcokeisgreat Sat 13-Dec-14 18:59:26

Jodoecalling: i think it sounds fine you have the bursary. You sound like you are living a sensible normal lifestyle! Not extravagant. Presume your DC 'won' bursaries in some way which was of interest/ benefit to the school. I wouldn't be concerned. Just make sure your kids know how lucky they are and take all opportunities!! ( all kids should do this of course!!)

YorkshireAtHeart Sun 14-Dec-14 13:03:12

My dd is on a busary at a quaker boarding school. I was a bit worried about this too. When she returns to school with her presents. As ive bought her an iphone6 (has iPhone 5s) now and a beats pill and high end makeup but some of dd's friends are on busaries and they go on holidays twice a year and have expensive gadgets etc...
I wouldn't just live your life in poverty just for the sake of a school you want a school where you can both work together not the school dictating your life.just because you have a busary it doesn't mean you should live a poor life. I'm sure you can have a mcdonalds and things even the working class on minuim wage have fast food.

Greengrow Sun 14-Dec-14 16:55:15

The reason they need those rules is countless dishonest awful parents claim to earn very little from a business they own and then live the life of Riley with expensive cars and holidays or choose to be stay at home mothers when if they worked full time they could pay the fees, whilst full time working single mothers like I am who never eat out are "too rich" to get a bursary.

YorkshireAtHeart Sun 14-Dec-14 17:10:11

Good point green I have questioned my dd's school at times as one of dd's friends mum is a headteacher in Scotland (primary school) and they get a busary for 3 children just because there mum is 'quaker'

middleclassonbursary Sun 14-Dec-14 17:31:45

I personally think an iPhone 6 is an unnecessary expense. My DS's have iPhone 4's, they both have good quality lap tops and like me have less clothes than perhaps others but all are the quality end of the range: Crew etc and we don't stint on school shoes but I would feel slightly uncomfortable about an iPhone 6 especially if she already has an iPhone 5. Others of course might disagree.
I'm also not convinced a child needs "high end make up", assuming your talking Channel etc, unless it's one off Xmas/birthday gift from family friends etc.
The bursar at our prep once said he wasn't expecting us not to have a holiday or to drive to drive a clapped out car, but on the other hand he was not overly receptive to parents turning up in Astons, having just returned from their second holiday at an exclusive Austrian ski resort requesting a bursary.

HoHonutty Sun 14-Dec-14 17:37:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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