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Is an Academic All Round Scholarship a big deal?

(20 Posts)
bottomsup2 Sun 05-Feb-17 17:21:37

DS age 7 is currently in the state sector, but has always been very bright... eg I never had to teach him to read, and at home he's reading books for 12 year olds. His teacher says his science, geography and general knowledge are outstanding, but the school have said repeatedly that they can't really do much with his ability, because there are 30 kids in the class. There is no Gifted and Talented program, and they won't even give him harder spellings despite the fact that he always gets 100% on them without even looking at them every week. I know that sounds obnoxious but that's how he is.

I love the school and am hugely supportive of it, but need to think about DS who is coasting along merrily and not really challenged with any element of his current school. He currently enjoys it though.

I put him in for a scholarship exam at a Sunday Times top 10 prep school a couple of weeks ago - just for experience really, I thought the process would be good practice for when he did the hideously competitive 11+ exams in a couple of years time.

We did not tutor him ahead of the exams - just did a week of practice papers.

The school have now offered him a 5 year overall academic scholarship! eeeeeekk!!!

Because I am in the state sector, I am not too sure how much of a big deal this really is? I suspect that it is, but can any private prep school parents help me out with telling me if at 11+ and 13+, do the senior schools take notice that an applicant was the overall academic scholarship holder at the prep school? Is it a very big deal?

My understanding is that the school offers one of these per year, plus one music and one sporting scholarship. The Sunday Times lists them as top ten prep schools in the UK, feeding to Winchester, Harrow and Eton. It is a lovely school, very nurturing.

Genuine advice please - this would involve a relocation so I need to know whether this is worth uprooting my family for?

Many thanks!

MollyHuaCha Sun 05-Feb-17 17:27:22

It's certainly worth having - which I think you know. Whether or not it's worthy of uprooting yr family is up to you.

LIZS Sun 05-Feb-17 17:28:10

Well done to your ds, it is useful in that it offers a discount and probably more attention than average ie. Enrichment groups. However I'm confused as to whether you mean Academic or All Round. All Round usually includes other curriculum areas such as music or sports and you may find he is expected to pursue all relevant interests which may ultimately conflict. I'm not sure one in itself has much clout at secondary level, he needs to demonstrate he consistently meets the standard , academically and behaviourally, expected in the meantime. Does the prep go to 11 or 13?

MadHattersTea Sun 05-Feb-17 18:23:14

You obviously have a very bright DS. That means he will do well (almost) anywhere. The school wants him because they already know he will do well at scholarships at 13 - and that will reflect well on them. What you have to decide is whether this is the best thing for your family and your DS.

An academic scholarship to one of the preps which send a lot of boys to the big public schools is a useful thing to have on the CV but it won't get your DS into these senior schools unless he is a good fit.
-What these prep schools will have though is great music, sport, drama and art on site and from Y6/Y7 a scholarship class preparing specifically for those schools. And those classes - probably 10 - 15 students - will contain a handful of other very bright DC for him to work alongside.
- BUT don't be fooled into thinking that they will all be brighter than the children at a selective grammar. They will not. If we are talking about the Berkshire/Oxford boarding preps in an average scholarship class, I would expect to see about 5 really bright DC from overseas, 5 or so really bright British DC and 5 or so clever boys who will be on a par with those at your local grammar. The local grammar is also likely to have a couple of really clever DC in each class.

Before you relocate you should ask yourself:

-Do you actually want your DS to go to Winchester, Harrow or Eton? All boys and full boarding. Not everyone's cup of tea. Would he be just as happy at the local grammar? Or at a co-ed?
-How much of a reduction on fees would you get? Most academic scholarships mean 10% off the boarding fee. So unless you also qualify for a means tested bursary that is still a hefty bill.
- How much will it cost you to relocate? Does it make sense? Are there other family members who will be impacted?
- Will he have to board at the prep at some stage? How do you and he feel about that?
- Scholarship classes can be very pressured. Is your DS the kind of boy who will thrive on this? Probably hard to tell at his age.
- Do you have to decide now? Could he wait until year 6 or year 7? These opportunities will still be available.

amidawish Sun 05-Feb-17 18:38:24

What are your plans for secondary school? How likely is he to get that from your current school? That's the key question, plus all the ones above from MadHattersTea

Personally i wouldn't rush into a relocation, it's a massive deal to move house just for a school for one child for a few years?

GeorgeTheHamster Sun 05-Feb-17 18:39:50

Is it a free place or a partial scholarship?

Allthebestnamesareused Sun 05-Feb-17 21:07:27

Just because he has a scholarship at the prep doesn't necessarily mean he will get one post 13+

Would you be able to afford fees without etc?

BizzyFizzy Tue 07-Feb-17 20:52:00

Yes, a scholarship in prep school will be looked upon favourably by senior schools, alongside their actual academic, arts, sports achievements and contribution to school life.

BizzyFizzy Tue 07-Feb-17 20:54:51

BTW, a scholarship rarely means a substantial fee remission nowadays. It's more an honour thing. My DD has a scholarship and her reward was a mention in The Times.

fleurdelacourt Wed 08-Feb-17 10:13:52

It is a big deal - you must know that?

But It will mean nothing by itself in the 11+ or 13+ transfers as they are completely separate processes.

If it's a feeder for the big public schools you mention, then presumably it's a boarding school? Do you really want him to board at 7?

And can you afford the fees? As people have mentioned the scholarship is usually only around 10% unless you have also won a bursary.

GinGarden Wed 08-Feb-17 18:32:22

If the prep school want him that badly they will already know that coming from the state sector you are unlikely to be able to pay full fees and so will be expecting to provide a bursary. This isn't uncommon, but rarely talked about, esp in Prep Schools.
Receiving a bursary at Prep level makes it much easier to receive financial support at senior school as they will already know from you Prep head that you will need financial support. A good head will guide you towards a school that will not only be suitable for child's academic talent but also a school which will be favourable to the financial support you may need. Please feel free to pm me if you want anymore info, happy to help.

Gruach Thu 09-Feb-17 19:36:27

If it's a very, very good prep school then yes, a scholarship is a very big deal.

You don't say if you can afford to pay fees. Gaining the scholarship will almost certainly ensure whatever level of bursary is necessary for your son to attend the school. (If you need it, of course.)

I'd say it's definitely something that would form part of the decision making process for the senior schools you mention - provided he manages to maintain a decent level of achievement through his prep school years. (He wouldn't have to be consistently top of everything! Prep schools expect children to be children.)

He's done very well. You'd have to have a really good reason to turn this down.

panda00 Thu 02-Mar-17 22:47:26

It isn't easy to be around with kids from a totally different league. I work in an independent school. During winter break, these rich kids often go skiing in Switzerland. During summer holiday they may fly all over the world to have fun. Besides the academic achievement, as parents we should also consider our kids' well-being at school, they may feel very embarrassed and eventually lose their confidence if their parents aren't as rich as their classmates'.

BbddpP Fri 03-Mar-17 07:34:02

Don't know if OP's still interested, but I wouldn't necessarily worry about panda00's point. You hear it often enough that it must be a problem for some children in some schools, but our experience is that it hasn't been an issue. Yes, some children are impossible to meet up with in the holidays because they're always away, and some of the parties DC and we have been to have been on a scale we couldn't remotely reciprocate, but it hasn't been a problem.

One thing to remember, especially if the background difference you're talking about is just "normal middle class" to "very rich" rather than being wider than that, is that the teachers are unlikely to be very rich (though some may be: there's a bit of a tendency for teachers who went to a certain kind of school to teach in that kind of school). There's quite a bit to be said, both for you and for your DC, for having more in common with the teachers than with the other parents!

bojorojo Fri 03-Mar-17 09:32:44

LISZ - it must go to 13 if it is a feeder to Eaton and Harrow!

I am puzzled as to why you applied to a school knowing you would need to move house if successful? Was there no top class prep nearer to you? There are top preps all over the country. It seems a very odd tactic if you just wanted a local grammar school at 11. Top preps nearly always aim for CE at 13, not grammars at 11. Preps, especially boarding ones prep for senior independent school at 13. That's their market. It sounds like entering your child for the entrance exams was some sort of experiment. Just to see if he was really that clever and now you have a problem!

I am assuming you would like a bursary so speak to the school. Whether you move or not is up to you managing to sell your house quickly, finding one to buy and differences in property values! The cost of this could help pay the fees!

Your DS has done very well so try and make this happen. Many senior schools have substantial bursary funds so look at this when you need to. Our prep had bursaries so, assuming this school is a charity, they should have bursary money too.

bojorojo Fri 03-Mar-17 09:34:03

Eton - obviously!

Newtssuitcase Fri 03-Mar-17 09:42:12

Hmm

Your DS has done fantastically well and should be very proud of himself. However personally I wouldn't be considering a relocation just on the back of this. My DS2 is at a prep school which was number one on the Sunday Times list recently. DS1 is now at the senior school having also been to the prep. Its a very good school but I would never have relocated for it. Can you afford the secondary fees? No point whatsoever in relocating just for this and then finding you can't afford the secondary fees even if he gets another scholarship at that stage. At my DSs school for example the senior academic scholarships are worth a couple of thousand pounds off the fees and so you still need to stump up a fair bit. Even music scholars have to pay for some of their music lessons (although some are covered under the scholarship).

Unless you and your DH have very flexible jobs and this won't cause you any problems at all, and you have no other children who would be adversely affected by this then it would be a no from me.

SoulAccount Fri 03-Mar-17 09:42:54

Are they offering to pay the fees?
Would you be able to pay for the public schools after Common Entrance? Would re-location take you out of reach of 11+ State Grammars or other good secondary schools?

SoulAccount Fri 03-Mar-17 09:43:35

Sorry, meant to say: well done him!

antimatter Sat 04-Mar-17 00:19:52

Well done to your son! He must be in the top 1% of brightest kids!
How expensive the relocation for your family is going to be?
Is there grammar school in the area you are currently living in in case you decide against relocating.
Are there any other local schools he can sit for scholarship? Small classes are very valuable for kids like him even if school is not on the top 10 in the country.

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