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Private versus State education - bursaries and scholarships

(10 Posts)
sara75 Sat 08-Nov-14 12:12:33

Hi everyone, after having visited a couple of South west London fee paying primary school (my two kids are y2 and nursery in local state school, rated as outstanding), I am finding myself terribly confused. And deflated. I don't know what possessed me to go in the first place but the comparison between the two (state and private) was far too much I guess to handle and left me with that awful feeling of "not being able to get such a wonderful education for my kids" type of resentment. What inspiring environments for kids to be stimulated in their learning, fantastic teachers, attention to individual kids etc (I saw Hornsby House and Newton Prep). And what about their Arts facilities or sport facilities? So, I have started to research bursaries and scholarship options plus local schools etc and I wonder if you can help me in understanding any of the following:
- bursaries. Now, if applying for the two kids at the same time I don't understand if anyone with an overall household income of £82,000 would be considered. Because, although you could potentially afford the fee for I be child you cannot possibly for the other.
- scholarships. It seems to me they normally do not exceed 10% of the total fee! which really wouldn't help at all. And although I might feel that one of my kids has a talent in Art and the other in Sports they might be complete average.
- going private at secondary rather than primary. So, if one was to wait until the end of primary school to move to private and try to save some money in the mean time, one would be competing with some fantastic candidates from these brilliant private schools, who have been exposed to incredible learning environments. What chance do our kids have to get a scholarship? And if our children do get in would they find themselves behind very well prepared peers, always struggling to emerge?
- would they fit in with their peers and would they not feel ashamed of their middle class (but not rich) background and lack of money for extra activities, holidays etc? Would they loose out in terms of not being able to mix with the diverse ethnic group you find in most state schools in London?
Any comments greatly appreciated!

Pop1ns Sat 08-Nov-14 13:11:22

Concentrate on Art,Sport and Music scholarships.
Bolster academic side with tuition.Read and read again.
DS has secured place at SW private from State primary.It can be done.From his state primary some one got 100% scholarship to Hampton(not my ds).
I would not worry about mixing in or fitting in with peers.
IME on open days you find well adjusted children with no airs or graces.

Toomanyhouseguests Sat 08-Nov-14 13:44:59

Lots of state school pupils join private schools at 11+. In London, they've ususlly been by prepped by a tutor after school once a week in their final year before the test.

inthename Sat 08-Nov-14 21:00:10

most schools offer some kind of discount for more than one child, check each school.
scholarships can sometimes be boosted by bursaries (some senior schools join the two together so the child has to be awarded a scholarship before a bursary can be considered, some offer just means tested bursaries, again check with each school)
entry at 11+ perfectly possible from state primary, if you're looking at a 13+ entry school then more tricky as you'll have to work out where they'll go for yr 7 & 8.
If going private before senior school, check where the prep schools typically send to as destination for senior schools carefully and that those senior schools are likely to be a future choice.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 09-Nov-14 08:00:57

If you ask the schools will provide you with details of how many children come from the state sector ( they may call it maintained). Don't just ask for last years figures get averages for at least 5 years.
At the majority of private schools scholarships are honorary now and have little (10%) or no value, but often bursaries are offered to scholars who the school really want. You can obtain information on what is the level for scholarship often from the school website and they may give information on the application process.
I would disagree that most schools offer discount for more than one child, in my area schools have phased it out, whilst holding the annual percentage fee increase slightly lower.
Consider uniform, school trips and look in detail at extras at some schools lunch is a compulsory extra some may not be included in any bursary award. I reckon 'extras' cost me around £2k per year.

pyrrah Sun 09-Nov-14 17:19:08

Plenty of kids get into selective secondaries from state primaries.

The main things are a) parents who understand 'how it works', b) a bright child and c) preparation.

The amount of preparation you need to do will depend on area and how selective the secondary is. For London, I've known people book tutors at the beginning of Y4 and start tutoring at the end of that year - some people spending a fortune for prep-schools are tutoring on top. You can DIY with Bond Books (WHSmiths) if you feel confident.

Personally I am very hmm when people tell me that they did no prep for a selective entrance exam... if you're even looking at that kind of thing then you are going to do your best to help your child excel even if it's only a couple of VR tests on the kitchen table.

It's not certain that prep-school kids will be massively ahead - a neighbour's DD won places at 5 big name London girls schools (scholarships at 4 of them) from a very so-so primary. She chose to go to St Paul's Girls and didn't feel she was behind at all except in subjects that she hadn't done at Primary like Latin and French.

Forget the whole 'are they richer than me' thing. I never noticed it at all in all the years that I was at private schools - and I wasn't from a particularly wealthy family (and my dad drove a 2CV). It was a bit of an issue at a state grammar though with people being teased for having the wrong brand of trainers etc.

sara75 Sun 09-Nov-14 22:21:41

Thanks to all. I was looking at a number of them locally like Emmanuel and Alleyn's; I was planning to start prep work at the beginning of year 3. Pyrrha, are you suggesting to book tutors now for then? Do they get so busy? Any recommendations really really appreciated.
Kids are both on Kumon at present. I feel an Art scholarship might be a possibility for my daughter, will need to find proper art course for her and start ASAP. I have to admit I am probably one of those mum "who do not understand how it works" honestly so always feeling I might have missed out something

sara75 Sun 09-Nov-14 22:27:09

In terms of bursaries, Alleyn's for example mentions £50,000 annual income for the household, which I guess is before taxes. Are they not interested in any other information like mortgage, where you leave, lack of other assets. With two of us working we do go over it but still we could not afford having both kids in private education
And therefore, if one was to apply to have both kids in the school, would they increase the threshold?

pyrrah Mon 10-Nov-14 11:42:02

I spoke to CLSG ages ago about their 7+ and 11+ entries when it looked as if we would get a primary school I didn't have a great deal of confidence in.

Their advice was that they didn't particularly like kids to be tutored, but in the case of children coming from state primaries, they may well have not covered the syllabus for the exams. While they do make allowances for children coming from the state system, if they can't answer the questions then they can't score the points.

Therefore it was acceptable to tutor in English and Maths and do a few VR tests so that the child was familiar with the format. But tutoring for interviews was a big no-no and was generally obvious.

They certainly used to have past papers available on their website.

I can't help regarding tutors as we're not at that stage yet. You might find the 11+ forum useful. Depending on how much help you may feel you need, it might be worth making enquiries with a few to see what their advice is with booking - imo, better to know in advance rather than be struggling to find one last minute.

Plenty of people do tutor themselves, but it does depend on how confident you are and the kind of child you have. I have a suspicion that if I try and tutor DD it will end up in a massive battle of wills whereas she'd respond better to an outsider.

Regarding art - I would be very wary about having tutoring in art until she is much older. I'm a designer/illustrator and went to art college. My dd is better than I was at the same age and I imagine will be good at art later. She watches me and asks how to do things and I won't teach her.

IMO - and many may disagree with me - teaching technique too early can massively impact on innate creativity. Around 8 or 9 you can begin introducing the concept of shading or perspective, but not before then. I hate programmes like Squiggle Bits that show children the 'right way' to draw things. I believe that everyone has the ability to draw well, but many are put off by things not 'looking right', get frustrated and give up.

The best thing is to take your child to galleries to expose them to a wide range of art and discuss what they like, don't like, types of paint etc. I have a huge box of art 'stuff' - feathers, bits of coloured and sparkly sweet wrappers etc, big packs of cartridge paper and sugar paper. Lots of pencils, pens, paints, glue etc and I just let her get on with making things.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Mon 10-Nov-14 12:57:36

I'd take the private/state question out of the equation and focus on the schools themselves.

Plenty of state primaries are capable of providing good national curriculum education which, with a bit of "how to do an exam" and "tricks of reasoning questions" training, is more than enough to succeed in 11+ for grammar or private secondary.

We kept in the state system for primary and DS sat and passed both entrance processes he chose with very modest tutoring (10 hours total) on the above topics.

We tried our best to add the following to school life and I think it has long term benefits beyond the false holy grail of schools and universities,

- plenty of extra curricular activities outside school (sport, music, theatre, etc)
- plenty of wide ranging reading
- doing homework to the highest standard possible
- giving them as much independence as possible
- socialising outside of school peers
- keep them away from screens as much as possible (TV, iPad, internet)

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