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Cost on top of a bursary place at independent school

(28 Posts)
LadyFuschia Wed 11-Sep-19 14:14:06

We’re looking at applying for a bursary place for DD at a local independent school, which could be up to 100% of the fees.

DH is concerned that the school gloss over how much extra cost there would be for us, and I wondered if anyone has any experience? What happens with extra-curricular activities, cost associated with sports & matches, materials for art things etc? Are there potentially lots of extra costs that mean we’d end up spending lots too?

LIZS Wed 11-Sep-19 14:22:34

It will vary. Some might cover lunches , books , bus, course related activities, exam fees - others won't.

QuaterMiss Wed 11-Sep-19 14:29:15

Are there potentially lots of extra costs that mean we’d end up spending lots too?

Potentially, yes, of course. But it’s not inevitable. It depends entirely on the school and what is included in the fees - they may have a very different policy to the next school down the road. (They should be happy to have a frank talk with you and not ‘gloss over’ anything.)

Uniform is likely to be unavoidable. And sports kit / equipment. At many schools only a small minority of pupils will go on any foreign trip - they’re not usually compulsory.

Bear in mind that you might find yourself spending increasing amounts on a lively and ambitious teen anyway, even at state school, if they’re deeply involved in extra-curricular or co-activities, travel, socialising etc ...

Really the biggest costs would come if your son was going to a boarding school. (But the best of those have enormous funds for bursaries.)

NoSquirrels Wed 11-Sep-19 14:31:42

Have you enquired how many full bursaries they offer? Most independents by us seem to do quite a lot of 10-25% bursaries but very, very few greater.

purpleboy Wed 11-Sep-19 14:49:41

As pps said it all depends on the individual school.
At ours I have 1 in 6th form and 1 in the prep school (yr2) most of the extra curricular are free, there are some options which are paid, ie sailing, golf, horse riding in the senior school.
In junior school most of the extra curricular after school are paid dd does gym £45 a half term(approx 6 lessons), cookery £70 Half term, dance £45 half term.
Music lesson are £22 for half an hour. Some children do loads (dd) other children do none.
School meals and daytime snacks are all included.
All sports costs are included.
Any school supplies needed are included.
School uniform is expensive but, it is everywhere.
School trips get more expensive as you progress through the school.
The holiday are a lot longer
8 week summer
2 weeks October half term
3.5 weeks Xmas
1 week feb half term
3.5 weeks Easter
1 week may half term.
This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your circumstances. Holidays are a lot cheaper as you can go outside of regular school holidays, but obviously as issue if you have to arrange childcare.

Comefromaway Wed 11-Sep-19 16:03:08

My kids have been in state and private.

There were very few extra costs for private school. Uniform was more expensive and I opted to pay for music lessons at both state and private schools because both my kids are musical). Textbooks and online resources were all provided. There was one compulsory Year 7 bonding trip but children on a bursary at ds's school got the same percentage as their bursary deducted from the cost.

Since moving ds to state the things I have to pay for include

Yearly D & T/Food Tech contribution
Revision Guides for maths & sciences
English Lit texts
Tickets to music concerts

BoycottBoycott Wed 11-Sep-19 16:07:32

Examination entry fees at secondary.
Duke of Edinburgh expeditions (would also apply in state schools)
Trips with sports teams, choirs etc - though you could probably push for help with the costs if your DC is selected.

ifonly4 Wed 11-Sep-19 20:18:55

DD went into private for sixth form. Bursuries will obviously on your situation and that of the school. DD applied to two schools. One offered a 35% scholarship and no bursary. The other offered us an 80% bursary and 10% scholarship. We specifically asked how much the extras were and they told us the normal maxium was £500 per term. We paid roughly this in term one due to new books/other incidentals for sixth form, but other terms varied from £20-200. You do need to be aware other pupils will some from more prilvaleged backgrounds and not try to keep up with them if you can't afford it. If DD had a friend to stay we'd go for a curry, if she went to stay with a friend they'd paid for a manicure, £200 entertainment ticket. Other girls and parents were lovely though and just accepted circumstances were different.

ImTheCaddy Wed 11-Sep-19 21:02:49

Ours has a compulsory cost of around £80-100 per calendar month on top of fees for lunches and trips. They split the cost of the trips through the year.

100% bursaries at our school do exist but to get that you would need the combination of the 95% bursary and the 5% academic scholarship.

Other than the cost mentioned above, there are very few extras. Uniform is around 10% more than the local state school.

LadyFuschia Wed 11-Sep-19 22:34:20

Thanks all. DH thinks it is a silly idea and that we should use our (perfectly good) local schools, and is concerned i’m overreaching myself.
I’m less bothered by keeping up with the jones’ and this school is very down to earth so would hope attitudes were similar.
I find schools to be cagey re bursaries, but I was frank and explained we’d need a huge one to contemplate it and they remained helpful & friendly. Helpful to know how it works for others.

NoSquirrels Thu 12-Sep-19 08:54:08

I find schools to be cagey re bursaries, but I was frank and explained we’d need a huge one to contemplate it and they remained helpful & friendly. Helpful to know how it works for others.

Near us the independents have criteria like both parents must work full time, net worth must not be higher in total assets than an ‘the cost of an average family house’ fur the area and so on. Bursaries awarded on a sliding scale depending on their financial assessment of your assets. So if you had a lot of equity in your house, for example, then you’d probably be disqualified. It will all be school specific but they should have written guidelines and policy you can read. I’d be surprised if they didn’t.

Solasum Thu 12-Sep-19 08:58:40

At our school, over and beyond fees expenses:

Unavoidable
Uniform about £500 one off
Semi compulsory bake sales £10 a term
Teacher and TA gift contribution £100 a year
Local trips £30 a term

Optional
Music lessons

Zodlebud Thu 12-Sep-19 09:51:23

Bursaries are almost always used to supplement a scholarship achieved by the child. So if, for example, your daughter is awarded a sports scholarship, you should check whether there is a bursary element to cover sports equipment and attendance at matches (late buses home etc). For art, do they provide art materials. Academic do they provide any money to enable the children to attend additional gifted and talented trips.

I used to audit bursary applications and not once was one given to a child not in receipt of a scholarship. You need to look at the combination of both on a school by school basis to work out likely extras.

But uniform. £500-£800 to kit them out.

Comefromaway Thu 12-Sep-19 09:58:52

My dd had a 50% bursary at a school. She was not in receipt of a scholarship but she did pass the entry tests (as did every child who attended the school).

QuaterMiss Thu 12-Sep-19 10:12:08

I used to audit bursary applications and not once was one given to a child not in receipt of a scholarship.

Fortunately that isn’t the case everywhere! I know of at least one Major Public School (boarding) where, once the entrance exam hurdle is passed, bursaries are awarded on the basis of need. There is no requirement to win a scholarship in order to qualify. (Although scholarship holders can also apply for bursaries if needed.)

Zodlebud Thu 12-Sep-19 10:13:38

That’s highly unusual comefromaway but fabulous that your school did this. I always think about the child who comes “second” in scholarship applications - highly worthy of the accolade but someone else just pips then to the post.

Most schools use the receipt of a scholarship to justify additional bursary money - otherwise how on earth do they choose who to give the money to (and more importantly justify it to parents?). Bursary pots, particularly at girls schools, tend to be small and they often don’t have the means to be able to help every child who needs additional financial help.

Zodlebud Thu 12-Sep-19 10:20:27

QuaterMiss - indeed, schools like Eton, Harrow and Radley offer many bursaries. Christ’s Hospital also. These are schools with huge wealthy benefactors from times gone by as well as the present day.

The bursary pots at Wycombe Abbey and Benenden are tiny in comparison to these schools.

The schools I audited were all top London day schools.

southbailey Thu 12-Sep-19 10:35:00

My dd has just moved to a London day school for sixth form. I am divorced, with low income. They wanted her so much (i know sixth form is a different kettle of fish to yr7 but ....) that they gave us a 100% bursary.
Obv there is no uniform requirement - although they are trialling a casual code rather than suits as it was previously - but the need for a smart suit for special occasions is something on top.
I was hit with a termly lunch bill i could not pay - i asked to do it in installments, but they kindly decided she is entitled to this from their discretionary bursary budget.

GinandManic Thu 12-Sep-19 10:38:26

Uniform tends to be more expensive and more if it required for sports etc. But it is generally good quality and has a resale value. Second hand uniform is a thing in private schools. My 4 kids attended 6 private schools between them and new uniform was poo pooed by the kids in all but 1 of them. 2nd hand uniform was actually desired by the kids!!
Schools differs but worst case scantily expect everything else to be an extra. Books, dictionaries, art materials, exams ( GCSE etc), even some sport awards, trips ?music lessons. At one school we had to provide out own hockey stick and tennis racquet too. Mouthguards for sport can be expensive and some schools must have a an annual fitting for them and bill you a shocking amount for the service.
Music lessons can be private 1 to 1 or some schools offer small groups at a lower price byt 20 to 35 an hour seems to be the price 1 to 1. Instrument hire and music exams are extra too. Also, some schools teach music during school lesson time, meaning pupils need to catch up themselves with history, chemistry etc or whatever lesson they missed.
Lunches, elevenses may not be included.
Medical - I've had school bills on with pence added for paracetamol and plasters!!
Some schools have a shop where kids can go in or teachers insist they get the right piece if equioment/uniform.etc from. This is just added to the bill. There is usually a cap of 50 or 100 a term.Where after they phone you to check it's ok to be added to the bill.
I would say expect to be charged for everything bar the air they breathe at school and you won't get any nasty surprises. All private schools differ because they are private and run as they wish pretty much.

Also remember that if you sign up for a school there will be extra fees such as a registration fee and deposit. Registration fee can range from.say 20 to 100. Deposits are larger, usually several hundred and offset against tour final bill at the school assuming your child leaves at the end (it's written in your contract). This means if they stay until the end of the schools end point such as 6th form or end of Yr11 it will be offset against tour final extras bill. If you leave before this you loose it in most cases.

crazycrofter Thu 12-Sep-19 11:10:45

I have one with a 75% bursary in year 11 and a year 9 at a state school. The bursary child (dd) doesn't have a scholarship. They award the scholarships separately by order of merit, looking at all candidates, and many go to prep school entrants. The bursary candidates are then looked at separately - about half of those who take the entrance exam are eligible for a bursary. I believe they then award bursaries by order of merit to the bursary applicants, hence some will have a scholarship too and some won't.

At the private school, all compulsory curriculum related trips are included in the fees (so if you have a full bursary they're free). They also subsidise certain trips, I'm guessing the ones they want to encourage. So, for example, the year 7 residential was only £90, whereas at my son's state school it was around £200. Similarly, D of E bronze was £90 and over £200 at the state school.

Lunches are expensive - £3.50 a day - but only compulsory in year 7. But again, lunches are free if you're on a full bursary, as is uniform and transport - so check what your particular school includes in the bursary.

We've paid for music lessons for both children and this is the biggest difference - about £22 per lesson at the private school and only £10 at the state school. But on the plus side there are way more extra curricular activities at the private school and they're nearly all free. They also have a long lunch hour to enable them to get involved. My daughter uses the school gym, whereas I have to pay for my son's gym subscription!

Comefromaway Thu 12-Sep-19 13:20:10

*Schools differs but worst case scantily expect everything else to be an extra. Books, dictionaries, art materials, exams ( GCSE etc), even some sport awards, trips ?music lessons. At one school we had to provide out own hockey stick and tennis racquet too. Mouthguards for sport can be expensive and some schools must have a an annual fitting for them and bill you a shocking amount for the service.
Music lessons can be private 1 to 1 or some schools offer small groups at a lower price byt 20 to 35 an hour seems to be the price 1 to 1. Instrument hire and music exams are extra too. Also, some schools teach music during school lesson time, meaning pupils need to catch up themselves with history, chemistry etc or whatever lesson they missed.
Lunches, elevenses may not be included.*

Apart from GCSE exam entrance fees these are all costs that I have incurred as ds's current state school.

BertrandRussell Thu 12-Sep-19 13:26:38

It’s quite unusual to get a 100% bursary, and what they cover varies very much from school to school. You really need to talk to the bursar and ask detailed questions.

quissum Thu 12-Sep-19 15:33:04

It depends on the school - but also on what you're comparing it with. Our independent secondary uniform is cheaper than the state grammar even when new, and we got the vast amount high quality second hand, so saved us loads. Lunch is included in the fees (so paid for, but a 'known' cost) - and might be free for bursary kids, I don't know. All exercise books and text books are provided by the school. No need for a laptop/iPad in lower years (unlike a couple of local state schools). All local trips are included, residentials are very much optional. Mouthguard fitting only required for serious sports kids. Only extra so far is music lessons plus the occasional break time cake, but he usually takes something from home. And he can walk there, so no bus pass!

FinallyHere Thu 12-Sep-19 16:00:05

* 2nd hand uniform was actually desired by the kids!!*

absolutely this.

LadyFuschia Fri 13-Sep-19 18:37:03

Thanks all for helpful responses. This is a large co-Ed school which specifically offers separate bursaries to those in need, apart from scholarships to those who gain one.

I am a social worker, DH a teacher so our incomes aren’t crazy low but not high. I’m still p/t with youngest in primary but in a year or so will go f/t. Our house is perhaps an asset they could question as we bought it with money my mum left me when she died, as we knew we’d never be income-rich and didn’t want to fritter it away.

DH still not keen on the idea and it probably is a bit unrealistic esp as it starts in yr 9 so DD will be settled in secondary school which finishes at 3.30, and might not want to move to a school with an 8-6 school day and all new people!

I think I just wonder, but what if... it might offer opportunities we struggle to do in terms of time and money. But it’s a big application fee to gamble with!! Any experience of doing anything similar?

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