Bursary Parent Interview(4 Posts)
We have applied for a bursary at a top prep. I understand that we have to be interviewed separately from our son who is 7, and also have a home visit. Am worried about both! What exactly are they looking for at the interview? We are middle class, university educated and post grad in my case but not well off at all due to starting own company last year. We rent rather than own but have a lot of books and try hard to give our son a 'cultures' or rather, 'interesting' environment to grow up in. We occasionally go on holiday but it's usually with a relative to keep costs to an absolute minimum or we've even done house swaps in the past. Am worried that this will go against us at interview. Has anyone else been through this and what can we expect please? Our son is bright and top of his year but starting to relax too much at his primary school and is bored. Prep would be so good for him but without a bursary there is absolutely no way. Thanks
Well they wouldn't be asking your son about your income and assets so I don't think you need read anything into the separate bursary interview!
Assuming the school very much wants your son they will assess whether it would be impossible for him to attend without some level of bursarial support. They will want both parents to have taken steps to maximise their income but will be aware that this might be more difficult where there is only one parent or other dependent children/ elderly adults. A decent, forward thinking school will care less about your class label than whether your son is well supported at home.
They will not expect you to dress in rags, shop only from remaindered goods or never take a holiday. I've never heard of anyone having a less than perfectly pleasant home visit.
My DS's one still at senior school got their first bursary first a substantial one from prep school admittedly rather a long time ago. We were interviewed by the then head and his wife they wanted to see that we were generally in agreement with the schools ethos, were committed to his education and I if I'm being totally honest I suspect they wanted to check that we wouldn't look ridiculously out of place. Like you we're both very middle class, my DH attended a very famous boys school, we rented a very nice if very small house, drove previously smart but very aged cars, we're both university educated, cultured and even knew some of the current very smart parents, I'm sure the heads wife who was a known screaming snob felt we were perfect, we wouldn't scare the horses. I suspect it's not so obvious now what they're doing but particularly if it's a very smart prep it still goes on. We had and do take a yearly cheap holiday, usually in Europe, we are not dressed in rags or shop in Lidl, but what we didn't have are any assets/saving/investments/equities etc.
The one thing I will say is what are your plans for secondary schools? Bursaries are more readily available at senior schools than at prep school but still most are attached to scholarships. One of my DS's was very able and bright when he left primary but 6 yrs later couldn't get a scholarship for a senior school this was 9 yrs ago and I believe competition for scholarships bursaries is even more fierce now.
We are nearly at the end of paying fees and it's certainly had an impact on our financial situation, we now own a small house thanks to an inheritance, (with a mortgage) drive slightly better cars but we're still taking the same cheap holidays in Europe, spend the same amount on clothes food etc, at times it's been a struggle and obviously if we'd not paid our situation would have been different, in terms of assets etc but we don't regret it. Do PM me if you want any further advise. Good luck.
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