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We are in the process of moving house and looking at schools in the area where we will live. There is a very good independent school which would really suit DD, we have been informed that whilst there is a place available within her year group it would be full fees and there is no bursary unless we wait for the September 2015 intake (then obviously we apply with everyone else). We have not registered as yet or sat entrance exams for current year - DD is exceptionally bright, in light of this do you think if we go through the registration process and sit the entrance exams now and DD shows her full potential that they may find some bursary support if we then state we cannot afford the full fees? Otherwise it just becomes too complicated having to wait until 2015 and find interim schooling ....
To be honest if they've already said there is no bursary support available at the moment then thats what they mean, it won't matter how brilliant she is. Applications for bursaries are dealt with on a yearly basis and it sounds like they have allocated everything from their bursary pot for this year already. They would only expect you to go ahead with the application for this year in the knowledge that its a full fee place you are applying for.
I agree with inthename
I think it mean the school has already committed all its bursary funds for this year. The upcoming exams will be for new entrants joining in Sept 2015 at normal entry points (usually year 7 or 9). Is your DD joining one of those cohorts? If not, then the won't be running a competitive exam (no-one does, for ad hoc places) and test scores are more for setting than anything else (assuming they test at all, and do not go by reference/interview/taster day).
If the school has told you that there is no bursary money available until next year then I suspect that is what they mean! Generally bursary money for the academic year 2014/2015 will already have been divvied out in the summer term of 2024. I take you've already emphasised her academic ability.
Can you take the place now and pay the whole of the first year fees and then apply for the academic year 2015/2016. Will the school let you do this? Some won't. Could be worth asking. They will then have had your DD for a year and discovered what an asset she is and won't want her to leave.
It's also worth checking if you can apply after she's already started that 1. you meet the schools criteria for a bursary and 2. If you're looking for a substantial reduction that they really do offer them, you need to actually ask the bursar, claims on websites are at best misleading and optimistic at worse blatantly untruthful.
Thank you - they do test and she will have to do an assessment before being offered a place but it is an ad hoc place (obviously this does not concern me). The bursary details are clearly highlighted on their prospectus ... I know they obviously allocate bursary monies 6 months plus ahead of new school year but I also wondered whether its possible that children may leave the school who have a bursary therefore freeing up funds (or is this wishful thinking?).
We've spent 10 years being given substantial bursaries. There is only one consistent rule if you your hoping to get one; speak directly to the bursar. It is his/her job to allocate the money according to the wishes of the governors, he/she know exactly how much money is in the bursary pot, what the policy is on bursaries, what the criteria is. Don't take any notice of what is highlighted in their prospectus, especially if you looking for a substantial reduction (more than 30%) IME it means nothing, most school make very grandiose claims on websites etc but fail to meet them when you actually apply.
It is not impossible that children on bursaries leave the school/are asked to leave the school/or fail to turn up in September having been offered a bursary and that there might be some spare money but you will not know if this is indeed possible until you speak directly to the person who knows: the bursar. If the bursar is the one who's told you that that you would have to wait till 2015 for a bursary then thats what you'll have to do. If this is the case as I said above ask him if they will consider it in 2015 if she joins now.
It's September now, and the pupils on a bursary will have had the funds allocated for the whole academic year, and with a general undertaking that if their circumstances don't change the bursary will continue through to end year 11 or 13.
It's very rare there are unallocated funds, but worth asking. Realistically, I think next academic year is what you should plan on.
You also need to establish what they look for when awarding bursaries. It's not necessarily a straight question of exam performance, but how much they want this pupil. She'll need to interview well and be exactly the kind of pupil they want - can you find out what qualities they're after?
The other piece of information that may be useful is to have a look at the schools accounts on the charity commission website (if they are there - most are). This will usually provide some level of information on bursaries which will give you an idea as to whether the prospectus is over-inflated or not.
As an example of the level of information provided, here is the relevant extract in relation to bursaries from the KCS Wimbledon accounts:
"It has always been the policy of the Governing Body that the distinctive all round education offered by KCS and KCJS should not be restricted only to those families who can afford the full fees.
The Governors positively encourage applicants from diverse religious, ethnic and financial backgrounds and the school aims to maintain its unassuming, non-elitist atmosphere, which is highly valued both by pupils and parents.
KCS and KCJS provide entrance bursaries at ages 7 to 16 (after GCSE) as well as bursaries to those who have a change of circumstances which makes paying the fees difficult. Grants of up to 100% of the fees are available
subject to the candidate meeting the respective School's entrance requirements. To qualify for a bursary parents are required to complete a detailed questionnaire about their income and assets supported by original documents such as salary payment slips, tax returns and bank and mortgage statements. In addition, applicants will be interviewed and
a home visit may take place.
In the year ended 31 July 2013 the Corporation gave fee remission for bursaries to 68 pupils aggregating £787,000 (£651,000 in 2012) which has been shown in these accounts. Included in these figures are 100% bursaries
awarded to 18 pupils.
Funds for bursaries are provided from fee income and by the Corporation's commercial arm (KCS Enterprises Limited). The Old King's Club has frequently contributed to bursary funds though not in this particular year.
The School's wholly owned subsidiary, KCS Enterprises Limited, supervises the letting of the Schools' properties and operates the King's Club, a sports club for those connected with the Schools. The company's profits (over
£248,000 in the year ending 30 April 2013) are allocated to the provision of bursaries in both Schools."
Unfortunately the accounts rarely seem to tall you how many pupils applied for bursaries and were unsuccessful. But the accounts will give some indication as to the overall number and extent of bursaries provided.
Our school publishes an annual report which is sent to all parents not the most scintillating of reads but it does says how many are in the school on bursaries (about 15% I think) the average size (60% off very substantial boarding fees) and the actual numbers on the various reductions. All parents were recently written to suggesting if they were struggling to pay the fees then they should apply for help. The school is very committed to it's bursary policy it wants to be needs blind by 2020 or maybe earlier I can't really remember.
You're right Ladymuck what it doesn't state is how many applied and were unsuccessful, but as my DS's seems to be very generous hopefully not that many.
Trying to say "as my DS's school seems to be very generous".
Yes. It is useful to be able to contrast between such schools and those which claim to offer bursaries, but when you look at the accounts they just gave one family a total of £1,500 off fees of £30k for a one year period after a redundancy.
My DS's school only has one child on a 100% reduction it claims that 100% bursaries are rare and only in very special circumstances. I have to say the fact that the majority get a 60% reduction is an indication of their commitment to bursaries, that's a £21000 reduction, but still leaves £14000 pa to pay plus extras so ultimately many still couldn't afford it.
I had an interesting discussion with a friend about boarding schools offering 100% bursaries to those who are living in abject poverty, in her experience the other children in the school don't care but the child themselves may feel that the contrast between their lives and the lives of there friends is embarrassing and that you are opening up a world to them that they cannot have. We're comfortably off but can't afford 35k a year, my DS was saying we're the only family he knows who don't go skiing in the winter, he's not bothered but some might be. All live in huge houses, most drive expensive cars and have 1,2,3,4, holiday homes.
Thank you ladies - The school is part of a larger group of schools where a Trust is involved - so the Trust is offering reduced fees to pupils at number of schools - I know a few parents who get varying support (one of which is full fee's for both her daughter's). The reduce fees are offered on academic ability with the interview also being taken into account - DD has done some research, she really likes the school and I think she will project herself well - not to confident but she has goals and ambition to achieve her full potential- she's a bit of an all rounder in terms of she play's several musical instruments - good at unusual sports like sailing. The admissions team stated that there was no bursary available hence why I'm considering at least trying to get to test and interview stage... they were keen to invite us to see the head. We could manage if they were prepared to offer some reduction in this year with a review in 2015 - bursaries are given until the end of Yr 11 but obviously reviewed on performance....they will also consider taking her on full fee's now and then review for September 2015.....I'm just going to go for it !
The 2013 accounts for Eton state that 50 boys are receiving 100% fee remissions at the school with an aim to admit 70 such boys in the future - these figures make Winchester seem the more elitist school. I don't think you need to live in abject poverty to not even have a spare £1000 pa - it just means you can't afford an annual holiday.
From reading the thread it is obviously rare to get a bursary at this late stage but not impossible as my ds did . I applied very late in year eight as we had moved house at very short notice and was told all bursary funding for the following year had been allocated and ds could not be considered until September of the following year. However as the Head was interviewing that week and they had entrance tests arranged the following week for a few late full fee paying applicants he was invited along with a view to applying for year 10. A few days later he received a letter offering a full bursary for Year 9 which of course we accepted! I know he did well at both interview and in the tests but he also had an extra curricular talent which may have helped swing it but I would say it's worth a go .
I'm applying for a secondary school bursary. I've been asked to declare all my assets not including property. eg artwork jewellery etc. This is difficult to assess as I don't know the current value of items such as rings paintings etc. In your experience, does anyone have an idea of how much one is allowed?
We didn't have any items that had a large value, so estimated what we thought our contents were worth and backed it up with our insurance policy showing what we were insured for. Likewise, with the car, we got an online valuation and forwarded that.
Every school will have different levels. DD applied for two scholarships. One school offered 40% sholarship, no bursary, the other 10% scholarship and 80% bursary. Luckily for us, the latter was the one she really wanted.
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