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Secondary School Scholarships(21 Posts)
DD going into year 5 at local independent prep. Due to our work circumstances changing soon, I sadly won't be able to continue an independent education for secondary. Her year 4 teacher has advised us she definitely has potential to get into grammar. The local grammar school is single sex. DD wont entertain the prospect of an all girls school as she tends to get on better with boys than girls. Although she'd do fine academically, I agree that a single sex environment wouldn't work for her. Our local state secondaries don't have the best of reputations so I'd like to try and get her into one of the local independents on a scholarship or part scholarship. Has your DD or DS gained entrance under a scholarship to an independent secondary? What special talent/s of theirs helped ? DD plays trumpet at grade 2 level, piano grade 1, has recently received a distinction at grade 2 solo acting at trinity college and speaks French (as I'm from france so excuse my English !). All 1s or 2s at school subject wise. So although we are totally happy with her progress, not sure if it's enough to clinch a scholarship. Do you think we have a chance or should I just start looking at the local state schools?
You should read the online prospectuses very carefully - but most scholarships offer only a tiny, token reduction in fees. Surely what you’d be looking for is a means-tested bursary? (It may be the case that winning a scholarship opens the door to a bursary award - but they may be entirely separate.)
I’m slightly surprised that your prep hasn’t offered any advice on possible schools with generous bursaries. Perhaps your earnings and assets are too high for you to qualify at your local independent schools? Or perhaps the best bursary options near you are at single sex schools?
Sounds like a bursary application could be more appropriate than a scholarship, which usually only covers a small percentage of the fees (London and SE - between 10 and 20% ish...you will sometimes read on mumsnet about kids given loads of scholarships so that fees become negligeable but that is, at very best, exceedingly rare if it happens at all). They can sometimes also come with certain responsibilities and even be reviewable depending on ongoing performance so if the scholarship were vital financially you could be taking a risk. Also depends where you are looking. In London and South East, in music, most schools are looking for around Grade 5 level minimum (no need to have taken an exam but need to be able to perform at that level) on first instrument and preferably a level higher than grade 1 on second instrument. Academic scholarships are a bit of a punt as they depend on performance on the day and also how strong that year's cohort is, so again, that's a risk if the 10% (or whatever) off fees is vital as you won't know til the offer comes through whether you've got it so not much time for financial planning. Read all prospectuses very carefully. I understand that Registrars will deal with bursary queries and that you understandably have to give a lot of information and proofs about personal circumstances. As to scholarships, everything you need to know will be in the prospectus.
Ditto re prospectus. DS received sports scholarship and bursary. He attended a state primary and starts Y7 in September.
He plays rugby for a club but also enjoyed swimming and martial arts. Just have supporting references with your application for your school.
How much can you get depends...The best I’ve personally know of was 100% bursary from JAGS (but that’s a single sex school and the girl is now at Oxbridge), 50% Academic from Colfe’s (this year) and others were smaller ie from
Not sure what you mean by 1s and 2s subject wise, but if she has the potential to get into a grammar then I see no reason why she wouldn’t do well with independent schools. Good luck and I’m sure someone will advise re music scholarships.
It sounds like you have a chance. The bad news is that many schools have very small bursary pots - which they often prioritise towards the very top academic (=admission test) achievers among the bursary applicants, so it sounds like your DD will have a fair chance given that she is bright/doing well. It also depends on how competitive/selective the independent schools you apply to are. (As a rough guide, the schools with the best GCSE results also have the most selective intake at 11).
To eliminate the fear of ending up without a place, you should therefore also apply for state schools - you will sleep better at night! Even if you apply to several independent schools, you really can not take for granted that a bursary will be offered - and even if one is offered, the school may want you to pay a higher proportion of the full fees than you feel you can afford. Good luck!
PS: I am not sure if you would consider boarding, but be aware that some boarding schools, e.g. Christ's Hospital (co-ed), have large bursary pots. If you indicate roughly where you are geographically, people can perhaps help steer you towards "generous" schools.
@Which6thform thank you for this, we are based in Chelmsford, Essex !
Can I throw in another option? There are state boarding schools, you pay but only for the boarding, the education is paid for by the state.
If you and your dd would consider boarding then you don't need to stick to local schools.
Sorry, but I am clueless about that area
music/drama scholarships (unless at a specialist school) are usually nominal & often only cover free lessons etc. I’d expect children to be around Grade 4/5 in an instrument or Grade 3 LAMDA.
DD did get an independent school scholarship offer but it was minimal and so we did go the all girls grammar route. However she does a sport that is predominantly boys plus other outside clubs that have lots of boys.
The school day, whilst important, is just a short part of their lives so we went with a school that was a best fit and filled in the bits that didn’t fit outside of school - would that be an option for your DD?
Our experience was that a school lower in the league tables offered a 50% scholarship based purely on exam results, while the higher ranked schools did not. So worth investigating those types of schools near you, which want to attract the most academic pupils and fear losing them to higher ranked schools.
As ever (this is also true of Oxbridge colleges) the oldest and richest schools will have more bursaries available - so good to include those on your list, if there are any within striking distance (or if you’re prepared to consider boarding).
My daughter had academic scholarship from Kingston Grammar school(50%) and Guildford High School (30%) this year so its possible. I dont know about Essex though unless you’d like to move. With regard to music scholarship, it really depends on how the auditions go and how competitive per each school, my daughter didnt have music scholarship even she plays pieces at G7 (violin) and G8(piano), there must be many of the kids who are much more talented.
GHS was 1/3 so technically around 33%
we are based in Chelmsford, Essex
Several of the comprehensive schools in Chelmsford are quite good, actually. Presumably you are in the priority admissions area for poor, benighted Hylands, though? Although believe it or not, some people even choose it for their DC.
Tbh, you are really allowing your DD to cut off her nose to spite her face in agreeing not to consider CCHS. Only five years of only being able to talk to the KEGS boys on the bus, then she can move over there anyway for sixth form.
All of our DC had at least as many friends of the opposite sex as of their own at primary school and all three managed to cope with single sex secondary schools, keeping up with their friends out of school. The fact that their (grammar, not Chelmsford but not a million miles away) schools were single-sex was certainly not a reason for choosing them, but not a reason to discount schools which were otherwise a good fit for them, either.
sashh I agree. My dd went to an excellent state boarding school.
@CitadelsofScience @sashh I've looked at Hockerill (closest state boarding school) but intake is tiny and preference is, I believe, military families who frequently change locations for work. Hockerill have an amazing language department so could have suited us well.
@MarchingFrogs yes, our catchment is hylands - I'm sure some would send their DC there, however it's just not for us. There is the Anglo European in ingatestone but we are miles out of catchment area, but, as DC is bilingual we might try our luck ! Thank you for your earlier advice, it's really appreciated !
Boarding fees at state boarding schools are still in the region of £12-13k per year (and at Hockerill they go to £16k for sixth form) so surely still a big financial commitment?
I know several children who have gone to Hockerill on a weekly boarding basis and are not military families. All of them come from bilingual families and aced the language aptitude test. Definitely worth looking at if you can afford the boarding fees. Hockerill is a bit different to a lot of other state boarding schools as they have a lot of boarders. I think it’s 50 something per year versus St George’s in Harpenden which has 10.
Around here grade 5 for a music scholarship.
It sounds like you need a bursary rather than a scholarship which are usually only 10% or so.
I would revisit the grammar. They will have an intake of 90+ so surely she can find like-minded children among her cohort?
If you’re aiming for a scholarship there are three things you should know.
- Make sure the school you want a scholarship from knows you are being offered places to other state or private schools, it increases the competitiveness and they are more likely to give it to you to keep the child at their school.
- if the scholarship process includes an interview then the interview might include knowing about current affairs and reading an article from a news paper and describing your feelings about it.
- people from other primary schools are often coached and tutored within and inch of their life for how to get in and tips and tricks, so maybe get a tutor and revise very hard.
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