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Does your child know they have a bursary?

(36 Posts)
Zoneout Sat 04-Jul-15 16:11:33

My doc has been awarded a bursary to attend an independent prep school in September.

I am in two minds as to whether to tell my child there place is funded or not mention it.

I'm interested to know what others have done or would do.

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Sat 04-Jul-15 16:16:06

I would tell them I think, it's nothing to be ashamed of.

AuntieStella Sat 04-Jul-15 16:25:21

I wouldn't mention it pre-epmtively, but would explain if it comes up for some reason.

I doubt very much that it's a topic of conversation amongst the pupils, who may well not really know much about school funding and who foots which bills.

Knowledgablebursaryadvise Sat 04-Jul-15 16:27:07

My DC's have always told my DC's that they're on a bursary.

Gruach Sat 04-Jul-15 16:28:15

What an utterly fantastic question!

I must say, when I read a website that says the child will only know if you choose to tell them, I'm always a little doubtful. Firstly because of family habits of free exchange of information. Secondly, perhaps it makes no difference if it's only 5 or 10%, but surely any sensible child (over about 10) who knows they're not rich, would wonder how their parents pay the fees. And the award of a huge sum should be a source of (private) pride.

I do acknowledge that it might add some extra pressure; but that pressure to continue to do well will be there anyway.

Kuppenbender Sat 04-Jul-15 18:45:40

We told ours right at the preparation stage of the process. He was told to do his best, but that without a bursary there was no way we could afford the fees. We wanted him to be aware of the situation from the start.

In fact he took a 10+ advance place test at one school as a sort of practice run, full in the knowledge that we would have to decline the place if we were offered it (we were). Bursaries were only awarded for the 11+ which he went on to take successfully.

horsemadmom Sat 04-Jul-15 19:28:24

My DDs' school mates on bursaries and scholarships are looked on with admiration. They must be super clever to have got them.

Toughasoldboots Sat 04-Jul-15 19:30:53

My dd has a huge scholarship which makes the fees affordable, she knows about it as we told her that she wouldn't go if we were paying full fees.
I really don't think that the children give it much thought- honestly.

Zoneout Sat 04-Jul-15 22:40:21

Good to hear that having a bursary is seen as something to be proud of, I am immensely proud they've been awarded it, it says to me the school really want them.

I hadn't thought of third option not outright say but if it occurs mention it then. Leaning more to this one currently.

Gruach Sat 04-Jul-15 23:10:40

It is something to be proud of; but you would be wise to ensure your child doesn't talk about it at school. Their new pals may not care but not all parents are equally accepting ... Schools have good reason to want such information kept confidential.

I guess it depends on the attitudes you wish to instill in your offspring. A child who doesn't know you're slogging your guts out to keep on top of extra expenses may be unintentionally cruel - seeing no reason why you cannot produce a few thousand for an optional trip. But knowledge may equally give them a stick to beat you with: " I can't go because you're so POOR! "

senua Sun 05-Jul-15 07:36:42

I suppose that it depends on the school. One near us has quite an extensive bursary system and it is seen as fairly 'normal'.
I heard a radio programme about it and they were talking about the small group who get 100%, courtesy of some wealthy bloke. They certainly know about it because he takes an interest in his protégés and takes them out to lunch once a year for a chat and a catch-up. Maybe it was because they could identify with a person instead of a nameless fund, but they were all very respectful of him and very grateful for the opportunity.

Gruach Sun 05-Jul-15 08:11:11

Mmm ... I find the "known personal benefactor" idea ever so slightly vile.

When I said a bursary is something to be proud of I was thinking of a particular relationship with a school - one of mutual benefit. Individual patronage is a different thing altogether - a child should not be going to school on their knees.

nattarji Sun 05-Jul-15 08:28:24

I wouldn't discuss it in depth. Bursaries are supposed to be completely confidential.

One child at dds school talks a lot about her bursary and how she's the cleverest in the class (she is but also emotionally very immature). It is a bit irritating and most of the other kids are sick of it.

A scholarship is different to a bursary btw.

Gruach Sun 05-Jul-15 08:34:15

Wouldn't discuss it in depth with whom nattarji? It's true a bursary should be confidential outside the family and the bursar - are you saying you wouldn't discuss it with your child?

senua Sun 05-Jul-15 08:51:46

I find the "known personal benefactor" idea ever so slightly vile.

Why? IIRC, he was 'paying it forward'. The boys seemed to have a good relationship with him although they could, of course, have been playing to the microphone or have been cherry-picked.
The interest in their lives and the mentoring are probably worth as much as the financial input.

Gruach Sun 05-Jul-15 08:58:07

So Victorian!

Knowledgablebursaryadvise Sun 05-Jul-15 09:02:24

We told our DC's from the word go DC's, as actually going was dependent on the bursary. But before the bursary was formally confirmed we'd looked at the school with them, they'd been interviewed, sat pre test/entrance exams etc so we felt it was only fair to say that the whole thing might not come off unless the bursary was large enough.
Bursaries are confidential but I think some of DS's friends know although not the actual amount (DS doesn't know that either) because he's discussed it with them. Our house master also stated at a parents things once that he was proud to have the highest number of children on bursaries in that years intake, although he didn't of course mention names. Parents and children don't need to be rocket scientist to work out who they are, don't get me wrong we're not dressed in Primark live in social housing or drive a jalopy but if like most at my DC's school (boarding) you turn up in a £100 000 car live in a 10 bedroomed house in London or Surrey you're unlikely to be on a bursary. Having said this I think most parents and other pupils couldn't care less.
I think you should be proud of your DC. Most bursary are awarded to children who the individual school believes will bring something positive to the school, this may be academic success or in another area, to be allowed to stay on a bursary is also dependent maintaining a certain standard. Many appear get a bursary in direct proportion to their entrance exam marks.

Knowledgablebursaryadvise Sun 05-Jul-15 09:09:26

I think Harrow has a personal benefactor paying the fees, I saw a programme on TV about it they had an annual dinner with him, I found it slightly tacky to be honest, maybe I'm doing the benefactor a disservice but I personally wouldn't want pupils thanking me like that. Don't get me wrong it's great he does it but If I was in his shoes Id rather remain anonymous to the boys themselves.
I also think a friend of a friend sponsors a child at Christ's and they certainly know the name of the child they sponsor and vice versa and I believe meet them once although I think in this day and age less children at Christ's are individually sponsored.

Georgethesecond Sun 05-Jul-15 09:12:27

My sons don't have a bursary but their friends that do are matter of fact about it. I would tell them they have some help towards their fees but not tell them the amount or the percentage, they are too young to understand the need to be discreet about that and what they don't know they can't spill!

Dustylaw Sun 05-Jul-15 09:40:32

Re personal benefactor, like many things it's all about how it is done and the tone and nuances. I know of one school (not Harrow) which has a specific yearly 100% scholarship which was established and paid for by a couple who wanted to give something back in thanks for their own financial success. The annual get together is about making sure the scholars have the support of each other (so the new ones have a ready made group of friends through all years at the school) and because there is genuine interest and care about how everyone is getting on.

KingscoteStaff Sun 05-Jul-15 11:27:26

My DD knows that she has a large award because she couldn't have gone to the school without it! She worked very hard to achieve it and knows we are proud of her.

AnotherNewt Sun 05-Jul-15 11:35:48

Zoneout you say it's for prep school, and is a bursary (rather than a scholarship).

I'd not say anything unless:

a) it turns out, in the ethos of that school, that it is actually an honour (the terminology is not the same for all schools; bursary is usually a mean-tested fee remission that is totally confidential, but in some schools it's a (near) synonym to scholarship.
b) your DD actually asks

and until
c) transfer to secondary is on the horizon, because it might have an impact on applications
d) an older child will understand better anyhow, and once settled in the private sector will take it in her stride.

CoolCocktail Sun 05-Jul-15 11:45:46

I would def recommend keeping this private/quiet. There are plenty of parents who feel that if they are paying full fees and your DC is not then they are paying for your child's education and believe me it can get quite volatile. My DH had a father come up to him at a sports event banging on about how many children where on bursaries at the school and how unfair it was that he was paying 40% tax and school fees while these people just came to the school for next to nothing and how he wanted to know which children they where. Little did he know that we were recipients of a bursary. His DS was a bit of a bully and in my DCs class so I am so glad we never told the children!! BEWARE!!
It is not necessary for the children to know. The only people in our school who know are the HM and the Bursar!!

Gruach Sun 05-Jul-15 11:56:23

Have to disagree!

Significant prep school bursaries are a very rare bird. it does a child no harm to know that their school really, really wanted them. (It can be a private mental boost when richer friends return from Caribbean holidays ...)

Secondly that child needs to know from the beginning that transition to the next school will probably be dependent on another award - how can they work towards that in ignorance?

Gruach Sun 05-Jul-15 11:57:17

Obviously the child should not talk about it at school!

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