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Can anyone advise me about nonacademic scholarships?

(24 Posts)
InABitOfATizzy Sat 11-May-13 19:34:03

I have been approached by the head of a private primary school today about a scholarship for dd. Does anyone know how it works? What sort of things would be expected of her?

It is a potentially great opportunity for her and I'm speaking to the head on Monday but I would like to have some sort of clue before I speak to him.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

meditrina Sat 11-May-13 19:37:13

If it's not an academic scholarship, what is it for? Art, music, sport?

InABitOfATizzy Sat 11-May-13 19:52:37

It's for drama.

LIZS Sat 11-May-13 20:00:00

What do you mean by "expected". She'd have to audition presumably , so have a couple of LAMDA style pieces ready. She'd also probably be expected to take part in all productions and related activities while at the school. How strong is their drama department though , some are chronic and their calibre exaggerated!

givemeaclue Sat 11-May-13 20:04:42

Is it bursary or would you have to pay fees

meditrina Sat 11-May-13 20:20:37

Well, you have to do both the normal things any parent is likely to do in deciding whether to apply for a school: what it its overall ethos, what are its academic standards like, what are things like sport/music and in your case very importantly drama like?

What is the application process and deadlines? If you need a bursary in addition to the scholarship, find out when/how to apply in parallel.

What is pastoral care like? What year would DD be joining, and how do they ease transfer into what may be a set of established friendships?

At the same time,I'spd be trying to find our why they approached you. A school with a good drama programme would normally have plenty of candidates for its scholarships. Is something not as it seems (or is it just longstanding outreach)?

InABitOfATizzy Sat 11-May-13 20:26:46

She was approached after the drama teacher and head teacher saw her perform in an arts festival where their school had several entrants. So they've already seen her do solo and duo performances.

They definitely said scholarship not bursary and they want me to go and see them. It has a very good reputation as a school and it would be an amazing opportunity.

They have sort of scouted her iyswim. I had no idea. Such a thing as a nonacademic scholarship even existed.

InABitOfATizzy Sat 11-May-13 20:27:13

Sorry. Thank you so much for your replies. blush

InABitOfATizzy Sat 11-May-13 20:29:36

Sorry. More answers. I have no idea what the application process is or about any deadlines.

Dd is in year 4 but the school goes to aged 13 so she'd be there for 4 years.

ElizaDoLots Sat 11-May-13 20:31:33

I'm not sure many scholarships are 100% these days - so you would probably still have to pay fees.

Periwinkle007 Sat 11-May-13 20:39:48

I think you need to check out what is covered. it may well be if it is a drama scholarship then it is just drama fees which are covered plus a small amount towards other fees and of course you would have uniform, presumably there may be requirement to contribute to costumes for productions etc too. It could still prove very costly.

if she stayed there until 13 what progression opportunities are there? most schools transfer at 11 don't they so if she was to be looking for a school place at 13 she could be limited which is worth thinking about.

InABitOfATizzy Sat 11-May-13 20:55:27

So I need clarification about fees. Thank you. I'll definitely ask. I know they help to get the dcs ready for 13+ as there are grammar schools here.

It also feeds into several public schools which are very used to age 13 entries.

Dh and I feel that it is worth at least going to see where the land lies.

LIZS Sat 11-May-13 20:59:48

Definitely ask about what conditions may apply (ie do you have to stay to 13 , most girls move at 11).Were you considering private for secondary as even with an Arts/Drama Scholarship it would be a substantial financial commitment and , as others have pointed out, places at 13+ aren't so available as at 11+., and she may have to sit Common Entrance exams if the school do not operate their own entrance exam system.

It is likely to be a discount off basic fees, leaving you to pay for uniform, trips, lunches, music etc . Can you afford this or do you need to apply for a bursary . If the school has entered the festival and is well reputed for drama locally then it might be worth a look but bear in mind it may also mean competition for roles in productions is quite fierce. You need to arrange to visit if the basic principle and finances sound feasible and then you can decide if what they offer overall is worth the move. They presumably have spaces in her year group to make such a suggestion so the usual timings may not apply.

InABitOfATizzy Sat 11-May-13 21:09:18

Thank you. Yes we could afford the extras as it were but the fees are substantial so we couldn't afford the whole shebang.

I will take into account all the suggestions that have been made and do some research into age 13 places. By that age we should be able to afford a private secondary.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see what they say on Monday.

DeWe Sat 11-May-13 21:33:33

I would look at it very carefully.

I don't know about drama, but I looked at some music scholarships. A lot said something along the lines of "we expect the music scholar to be a member of choir, orchestra and any other musical groups that are appropriate, attending all concerts and performances". Which is quite a commitment. The money gained for this did vary from about 5-10% of fees to giving one free set of music lessons.
I thought the amount of commitment they required was hugely disproportional to the money they gave for it.

I also know someone who recently gave up their sports scholarship for similar reasons-they had to attend so many sports events, even when it wasn't really their sport, that they decided after doing it for three years that they no longer wished to be considered a scholar.

givemeaclue Sat 11-May-13 23:40:37

Yes, scholarship does not mean free place

BadgerB Sun 12-May-13 06:50:58

Scholarship doesn't mean a free place, as others have said, BUT it does put you at the front of the queue for whatever bursary funds are available. Definitely ask about bursaries OP - as long as you don't mind form-filling about your finances.

InABitOfATizzy Sun 12-May-13 10:09:59

I am a little confused I must admit.

What is a scholarship and what is a bursary please?

LIZS Sun 12-May-13 10:26:03

A scholarship based on assessed skill or aptitude (academic, sports, music, art, drama etc) , is usually a % off the fees (could be anything from a token amount upwards, although ime 10-20% is typical) or in the case of music may include free music tuition. A bursary is allocated on a discretionary basis from a specific fund and is means tested to enable those who may not be able to afford a private education to benefit from what is on offer at the school. These are awarded on a sliding scale based on household income and assets with a ceiling, so if you and/or dh earn over about 40/50k pa it is unlikely you'd be eligible for a bursary. They can be reassessed annually so you need to be aware of whether yours is in case it gets removed . A scholarship can be topped up by a bursary to cover up to full fees and extras.

InABitOfATizzy Sun 12-May-13 10:30:04

Ah. Ok. That makes sense. We may be able to get a bursary too then. I'm beginning to get very wary now.

It was such a compliment yesterday to realise dd's talent had been noticed that I may have got a bit carried away. I think I'm in a more sensible place today. grin

Thank you everyone.

LIZS Sun 12-May-13 10:33:34

If it isn't a usual entry point there may not be funds for additional bursaries atm. You need to speak to both the head and bursar before getting dd's hopes up. Also scrutinise the school as to whether it would live up to its promises and offer a good education for your dd. Is she happy where she is and is she involved in extra curricular drama ?

DowntonTrout Sun 12-May-13 10:41:45

There is absolutely no harm in going along and finding out what they are prepared to offer. It is a very unusual step for a school to "headhunt" a child like this if you have not shown previous interest.

That could be really positive for you as they may indeed, offer her a bursary to top up the scholarship. However, I would not be counting on them offering a completely free place. Funds for things like this are increasingly limited, and scholarships and bursary places are usually very hard fought.

InABitOfATizzy Sun 12-May-13 10:45:04

Thank you for all your pointers. I really do appreciate it.

I haven't mentioned it to dd yet. It's still far too remote a possibility at the moment. Her drama lessons are not through school and I would want her to stay with that teacher where ever she went to school.

She is moderately happy where she is and her best friend lives opposite us so they would still see each other. The academic standard of the private school is far, far above where she is now and that's a big draw for me.

She's very confident and already made firm friends with several of the children in the private school so I think the move would not be too traumatic.

Mutteroo Sun 12-May-13 11:37:34

I'm a bit of a broken record on this matter but I'd advise anyone considering a private school to check out their finances on the charities commission website (if they're a charity), or companies house if they're a privately owned school. I've been in the situation of a school going under & its not a comfortable one. If I knew then what I know now, my DD would not have attended that school. My DC went on to attend two financially stable schools where they were very happy, but its important to ask questions & do your research.

I wish your daughter all the best wherever she's educated. If you're happy with what the school is offering & you can handle the extras, which can be huge! then it may be worth moving her.

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