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Private school bursary advice needed

(22 Posts)
BigGirlLittleCity Fri 01-Dec-17 13:07:16

I realise it will vary from school to school, but as a general rule, if a child's parents are divorced, will the school look at both parents' incomes when deciding whether to award a bursary? If the resident parent's income is below the threshold required for a fee reduction, but the child spends a significant proportion of their time with the non-resident parent, will the school look at both parents' incomes, even if the non-resident parent has flatly refused to contribute towards school fees?

NRP is a high earner (well over the threshold for fee assistance) but has made it clear he does not want to pay a penny towards school fees. Child has not been privately educated thus far, and the decision to look at private schools was made after divorce, so I gather that a court is unlikely to order NRP to pay fees.

Is there much chance of a bursary in these circumstances, as a general rule?

billybagpuss Fri 01-Dec-17 13:10:00

From experience all bursaries are looked at on an individual basis, so you can but try, I think if you have custody they should take that into account. Good luck

happygardening Fri 01-Dec-17 13:26:52

There was a mum on here a few years ago asking exactly the same thing I seem to recall most schools look at the incomes of both parents unless here is a non contact order or something similar.
But as billybagpuss says schools assess bursaries on an individual basis so there s no harm in asking.

BigGirlLittleCity Fri 01-Dec-17 13:40:58

I did search the forum before posting, but couldn't find any recent threads about this - will have another look, thank you, happy!

The DC spend 2-3 nights per week with their dad, so I guess that counts as pretty significant contact.

It sounds like I need to speak to the school directly to see if they can exercise any discretion. Thank you.

Zodlebud Fri 01-Dec-17 19:20:42

It will be the income of both parents under the scenario you describe.

Unfortunately it would be looked at that you can afford it but choose not to spend the money (which is effectively what he is doing by refusing to pay). Obviously he can’t be made to pay for something he doesn’t want to.

Sorry, that’s probably not what you want to hear.

You’ll also most likely come across problems even registering your child for private school as the paperwork usually requires both parents to sign, even if they are divorced. He’s probably not even going to sign the form if he feels that strongly about it.

lilybookins Fri 01-Dec-17 21:45:24

No, that’s not correct. In terms of the bursaries I applied for it was ‘household income’ that was as looked at - i.e. the money that comes into MY house. That of course included child maintenance payments by my ex but I was never asked about his income as I do not see any of his income apart from what he pays for his daughter which I declared. I did not include him in the forms as it was my application as a single parent, he was not involved. He does have contact every other weekend. I was significantly below the threshold in terms of my income and we got a near full bursary. But just being low income isn’t enough, your child willl also need to perform extremely well in the exam.

lilybookins Fri 01-Dec-17 21:47:39

Also if you go on the 11* forum, Independent schools you will see a few threads there on bursaries

Viviennemary Fri 01-Dec-17 21:53:56

I have no idea. But perhaps different schools have different policies on this. I should imagine the income of both parents would be taken into consideration in most cases.

Rudi44 Fri 01-Dec-17 22:14:59

It might be worth a try still. I think it would depend on the school, how badly they want your DC to attend (particularly if DC has any special talent, e.g. sports), how under subscribed they may be, and how sympathetic to your situation. Our bursary form had a section for supporting info, a statement from us as to why child deserved the bursary. Also you can often apply for scholarships on top of the bursary.

Zodlebud Fri 01-Dec-17 22:37:40

It’s a fairly common way of trying to get a bursary unfortunately and whilst wholly unfair for those who genuinely need it in circumstances such as yours, you would be amazed at how many people try their luck.

There’s really no way of proving it one way or the other and given the amount of time your children spend with him it appears he would be contributing considerably to their upbringing and therefore his income should be taken into consideration.

I do ALWAYS encourage people to ask the bursar at the school though. As a previous poster noted, if they really want your child then they can use their discretion. Every school is different - my comments are based on four top London day schools I used to audit - competition is fierce for places let alone a piece of the bursary pie. It may well be different in other schools but at those four you would have been considered but then politely declined.

lilybookins Fri 01-Dec-17 23:26:14

My daughter is in Year 7 at one of the ‘top’ London day schools so my experience is very recent. As I said previously I was never once asked about my ex husbands income (and we were offered bursaries at 3 out of 4 schools)
In the case of all the schools I did ask about declaring my ex’s income and was told it was about MY household income, nothing to do with what he earns. My advice is to have a really frank conversation with the bursar, always be truthful and above board about everything. But yes, competition is fierce , not just to get into the school but then to get a bursary too. At times I thought it was pointless but then I thought, ‘well someone’s got to get it - why not my child ?’ But I tried to be honest all the way through and told her that without a (substantial) bursary there was no way she could go to any of the schools.

PissedOffNeighbour Sat 02-Dec-17 08:43:46

I thought both parents were jointly and severally liable for fees?

BigGirlLittleCity Sat 02-Dec-17 11:50:38

If that's true, Neighbour, I imagine Dad will veto it. Thanks for your replies, everybody!

lilybookins Sat 02-Dec-17 12:22:51

Biggirl - you are making the application as a single parent - like you do mortgages, loans, whatever. Talk to the bursar, they are usually really nice and see what they say as

Viviennemary Sat 02-Dec-17 12:44:11

Of course it will be up to the school. But in this case surely it's the responsibility of both parents to finance a child.

BigGirlLittleCity Sat 02-Dec-17 23:09:58

Indeed, Vivienne, but when parents don't agree, it can be tricky sad

Viviennemary Sat 02-Dec-17 23:56:01

Of course it makes things difficult when parents don't agree that funds should be used for private schooling. This could happen when parents are together. The way I see it is that both parents are responsible for paying the fees and if one refuses to pay it's not quite the same as a family who can't afford private schooling and therefore need a means tested bursary.. By all means check with the school to see what their policy is on this.

BigGirlLittleCity Sun 03-Dec-17 14:20:38

It's really helpful to have an idea of likely outcome before speaking to the school, so thank you all for this.

ifonly4 Mon 04-Dec-17 14:41:10

As mentioned before, speak to the bursar and have an open and frank discussion. Is your child particularly academic, musical, arty, sporty and would he/she happily have a go at anything thrown at them in that regard. If so, think about applying for a scholarship. If you have an older child, I'm sure enthusiasm got my DD a long way with her application as she clearly wanted to be involved in the school. If your DC is passionate about going to the school get that point across.

Teddingtonmum1 Sat 09-Dec-17 21:36:30

i was in exactly this position , dad refused point blank to put his name on the school application or pay the fees , the school just wanted my info not his as i was the main carer . Just be honest with the burser .

MissWimpyDimple Mon 11-Dec-17 23:02:57

Usually I would say they just look at your household, however your DC spend a lot of time at their dads.

I had to declare the maintenance my ex gives me as part of my household income but otherwise he wasn't involved.

But yes, eligibility is only one part. The DC have to do very well in the exams generally as only the top performers are offered bursary's

explodingkittens Wed 13-Dec-17 13:52:32

When I applied for ds's school, his father and I were divorced, I was single and I therefore applied for the bursary on the basis of being a single parent. Of course I declared the child maintenance xh paid (a grand total of a few hundred quid in that first year I think) but I was never asked about his income in any other way.

Xh didn't have sign any of the forms, no questions were asked about amount of time spent with ds etc.

A few years on and I now have to declare my dp's income along with mine every year, even though the cost of the fees comes entirely out of my income. It means that the bursary entitlement has reduced significantly, but that's as it should be because the household income in its entirety has increased. However our combined income is still under the bursary threshold so we do still get some fee reduction, just nowhere near what it was before! Xh no longer pays any child support, just as a by-the-by, but I had to 'prove' this in terms of showing extra bank statements etc.

Talk to the school. They all have different rules and criteria; some have a much bigger bursary pot than others and different ways of calculating the applicable income. Best of luck.

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