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How to approach bursary issue after child already has place

(83 Posts)
WayneJohn Sun 15-Dec-19 10:37:12

Hello I'm wondering how to approach this issue?

Basically I earned a very good income from around 2006 or so and sent DS (who is in U6th) and then DD (now Y8) to private school.

For whatever reason everything was in cash so there is no property or whatever that could be sold now that STBXW & I are divorcing.

Anyway, the decree nisi drops in a couple of days and after that the financial agreement can be made. The issue is, well, there is in effect no money left, ok some tens of thousands of pounds but it's essentially an irrelevance given that the cost of DD's remaining education (Y9-Y13) would be ~£100k (she is currently at a prep school and has a place at a different school next year), and that stbx earns minimum wage more-or-less, and has no prospect of even affording her home counties rent and other basic living expenses without government help, let alone being able to make a contribution to private school fees.

As far as my contribution goes, tbh I should have left my wife about 8 or 9 years ago, but only really found a way out after moving to Asia, where I have been resident for 3 years now, and where my income is quite negligible in UK terms due to lower cost of living.

So anyway this is a slightly rambling introduction but as far as I can tell there is not necessarily anything specifically in the divorce paperwork about educational arrangements, but as stbxw is to be on Universal Credit at some point in the future (i.e. after her capital is below £16k) then it seems like we would have to consider that the current school year is the last of paying school fees, which is fine in respect of DS as he is going to university, but not so much for DD as she is 5 years younger.

My question really is how and when to approach the school about this? I feel that DD would be an asset to the school but they perhaps do not know this as they do not know her! She did not do particularly well when she applied to the school, as her grandmother had died the previous night so was quite upset.

What kind of things would they ask for and expect to give out a full bursary (or nearly so, if my parents could make some contribution)?

OP’s posts: |
SurpriseSparDay Sun 15-Dec-19 10:48:59

So, you earned a good enough income until 2016(?) to keep two children at fee paying schools - but now your STBXW will have to apply for UC? And that’s what your children will be living in until they have jobs?

It’s hard not to conclude that you moved abroad and consequently reduced your income in order to deprive your children and their mother of financial support.

WayneJohn Sun 15-Dec-19 10:52:13

The school does have some information about bursaries online, and it says that they focus on Y7 & 6th form entry for new applicants.

It says some reasonable stuff, such as releasing equity from houses (not applicable), both partners contributing as far as possible (I think this is reasonable in that I do not live in the UK), and that you should not be living in a mansion, going off on expensive holidays etc. (DD does come to visit me in the summer, which doesn't really cost any more than staying in the UK).

For existing students it says that bursaries will be focused on students in higher years, not new entrants. So it's not all that promising but one can only ask?

OP’s posts: |
PotteringAlong Sun 15-Dec-19 10:55:19

You cannot afford private school. You have missed the deadline for secondary applications to state schools so you need to make a late application for her to start secondary school in September

SurpriseSparDay Sun 15-Dec-19 11:08:34

Pottering - bursaries exist for people who can’t afford private school. That’s their raison d’être.

However, I don’t think the OP makes a terribly strong case. I daresay the school would be more sympathetic if his wife applied, citing the sudden drop in income owing to divorce.

LoonyLunaLoo Sun 15-Dec-19 11:09:19

No advice, because there isn’t really any other than try for a bursary and see. They’re very unlikely to give 100% of the fees. You have really screwed over your DD tbh. But enjoy your freedom abroad 🤨

icantbecani Sun 15-Dec-19 11:15:35

Bursaries at my children's school are given to the highest performers in the exams generally (assessed together with Financial hardship).

My mum lost her job when I was about to go into sixth form and I was given a 100% bursary for those final 2 years having been on no assistance previously.

Why can't your ex get a job? How can you have no money left? Your wife needs to be the one applying for the bursary on account of the fact that she and the kids have been deserted. I'm horrified at your lax attitude towards your obligations. What a cunty thing to do to your own children.

WayneJohn Sun 15-Dec-19 11:26:30

SurpriseSparDay, DS will be going to uni, so he won't be on UC.

My work circumstances are slightly complicated but I last worked in a traditional 9-5 type job in 2010, and then after that I continued to work from home till about 2015, which also earned a lot of £££, but it was not mentally fulfilling in that my wife had been cheating on me since about 2010, so I was earning money and we were going off one expensive holidays and such like, but all the money didn't seem to have much point because my wife didn't love me and I didn't see a way out in that I was not going to walk out and leave my children behind and she was not willing to leave.

Anyway in 2015 when we were on holiday in her country I had the opportunity to setup a small business, which I did and which I have run since then. It has never really made money but I found it more fulfilling than the previous work I had been doing. After that essentially I spent most of the time in her country while she was in the UK. Initially, i.e. during 2015-2017 this was on the basis that I was building a family business. Eventually it sort of became clear to me that I shouldn't believe a word she told me, as she was going to continue to cheat on me etc. and that at least I had found a way out, even if wasn't what I had hoped for, so we were 'officially' separated from 2018 to now, and soon divorced.

I had never really seen myself living in a flat on my own while my STBXW dropped the children off on weekends, especially as I was the primary care giver when I was working from home (and STBXW was working out of the home). And also because I don't make friends very easily and find the UK a bit lonely in that respect so I am happy to be out of it.

OP’s posts: |
SurpriseSparDay Sun 15-Dec-19 11:30:23

But these are decisions you have made. You haven’t said anything that suggests your daughter’s school should pick up the slack.

IndecentFeminist Sun 15-Dec-19 11:32:36

It also doesn't sound like your daughter is a high flyer they are going to want to keep. 🤷

Namechangeforthiscancershit Sun 15-Dec-19 11:34:10

Honesty, I'm not sure many of us will have sympathy with the idea you can only do a job you're fulfilled by...

IndecentFeminist Sun 15-Dec-19 11:35:42

In another country, leaving your kids behind.

LolaSmiles Sun 15-Dec-19 11:41:10

You can't afford private education.
You've gone off to the other side of the world to be fulfilled.

Personally I'm intrigued as to how you want enough to fund private education, but have no property and then for whatever reason everything was in cash. Were all your assets and income legally declared because it sounds very much like cash in hand with large sums of money.

TrophyCat Sun 15-Dec-19 11:41:44

So you have prioritised having an emotionally fulfilling but low paying job over a job that pays lots of £££ but didn't make you happy. That's absolutely your choice but having the family earn far less money will obviously impact the choices you can make for your children in terms of having the ability to afford to finance then through university and private school.

You have 2 options

Take both DC out of private, explain that it is just not a financially viable option and that their standard of living will go down.

2 return to a high paying job.

Daisydoola Sun 15-Dec-19 11:44:07

The fact you chose to change jobs because it wasn't fulfilling won't make them very sympathetic.

You can ask but I would be looking at other options with a matter of urgency for your DD

WayneJohn Sun 15-Dec-19 12:03:12

> Why can't your ex get a job?

She has a job, I explained that.

The circumstances are not that hard to understand, surely?

NMW = £8.21/hour, or £15k/year.

30th percentile rent for her area for 3 beds is more than £16k/year. LHA is below that because of several freezes under the Tory/Coalition governments.

NI/Income tax is 32%. Universal credit is withdrawn at 65%. Her minimum pension contribution is 5.8%. As I understand it UC is calculated on actual earnings, so her retained income is (1 - 5.8%)* (1 -32%) * (1 - 65%) = 22.4%, i.e £1.84/hour, so if she works 10 more hours a week, that's £957 per year, which makes no dent in school fees.

> How can you have no money left?

See rent above, add in £40k/year school fees, living expenses, no meaningful income since 2015.

> Your wife needs to be the one applying for the bursary on account of the fact that she and the kids have been deserted. I'm horrified at your lax attitude towards your obligations. What a cunty thing to do to your own children.

I didn't desert her, she finally asked me for a divorce after cheating on me for 8 years. She is financially illiterate and speaks English quite poorly, and I think she was poorly advised on the idea of getting a divorce, thinking that it would improve her living circumstances, as she then said something about my pension, which was obviously something a friend had advised her about, which is ironic as she has a financial salary pension whereas I never really made any significant pension contributions due to my work circumstances so hers is better than mine!

Obviously the divorce is in no way going to improve her life which has to date been spending exactly as she pleases without any conception of the true cost of living. But at some point ones decisions have consequences, hers included. I married her when we were 19 years old and I had just started uni so I had basically never lived on my own and really couldn't conceive of it even after she started cheating me, it was only really by accident that I did by starting up a business in her country.

OP’s posts: |
ineedaholidaynow Sun 15-Dec-19 12:11:00

Are you paying any maintenance to your wife?

Why should school pay for your children when you don’t seem to be paying/looking after them in any way?

As others have said bursaries normally go to the ones who do well in the exams, and would go hand in hand with a scholarship.

NancyJoan Sun 15-Dec-19 12:18:11

I work at an independent school which offers bursaries. In these circumstances we would encourage you to apply for a bursary, and if their are funds available, and you/your ex are eligible, you would get one.

It is like filling out a tax return: income, equity in properties etc. Debts do not get taken into consideration. Don't try to hide anything, they will find out. The person who is responsible for the fees fills out the application.

I would ring the Admissions dept tomorrow, and tell them you may need to withdraw your daughter as you are no longer able to meet the fees, but would like to try and apply for a bursary. It happens a lot, they will help if they can. They won't want to disrupt your daughter's education if they can help.

WayneJohn Sun 15-Dec-19 12:19:11

> Honesty, I'm not sure many of us will have sympathy with the idea you can only do a job you're fulfilled by...

That's not the issue here. At the time I set up this business, it wasn't clear how much money I would make from it, and we still had plenty of cash in the bank so it wasn't really a more unreasonable decision than taking an expensive holiday or whatever else. It is a legitimate business and one could earn £££ from, it just turns out that it's not particularly successful. I didn't at any point say 'I'm going to stop earning money and collect beer cans of the world' or something similarly useless, it just happened that as I started pursuing this business I had less time for my previous work and also ended up as a permanent resident overseas.

At this point I have been legally resident in Asia for several years, the work (betting) I used to do in the UK is illegal there, so it's not really a question. Also my former line of work involved betting, and lots of models and assumptions that are not necessarily valid any more, I have no idea as I haven't kept up with it, not to mention capital. I also used to work in IT, which I haven't done since 2010 so I'm not sure how relevant my skills would be there.

OP’s posts: |
WayneJohn Sun 15-Dec-19 12:40:15

> It also doesn't sound like your daughter is a high flyer they are going to want to keep. 🤷

She came top of her year in English & French, she's also good at singing, sport, and is very personable which I guess counts for something.

With our financial circumstances there is some cash which we will have to legally divide, with most going to STBXW. I am not completely sure about the rights and wrongs of the current year's school fees - DS is doing Pre-U and has ASD so I don't think there's really any question other than paying his fees, which would be £15-£16k all in for the remaining two terms..

DD's Easter term fees are due now so that would leave the Summer term at her current school. She has a scholarship and no add-ons so her fees are less than half her brother's so they are not such a big deal.

Anyway I would be able to pay DD's Christmas term fees myself for her new school out of whatever I was left with but I don't know beyond that, so perhaps it would be best just to contact the school now....

OP’s posts: |
Seeline Sun 15-Dec-19 12:45:11

Realistically, you need to contact the new school now. IF they say no, you still have some (but limited) time to try and find a place somewhere else for your DD to start in September. It would be totally unfair on her to start a new school and then have to leave after a term.

You need to contact the local Council relevant to your wife's address to see if any state schools have places for Sept 2020.

I think you have left it too late for private schools. Those that have 13+ places will have already had the entrance exam, or will be having them just after Christmas.

You could ask her prep school for advice?

NorthernLightsInWinter Sun 15-Dec-19 12:49:02

I've read all your posts.

Yes, you've hung your DD out to dry here. Poor girl.

You reap what you sow. I expect your relationship with her will be shit going forward when she realises you prioritised yourself over her well-being.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Sun 15-Dec-19 13:26:53

I am going to rewrite this OP from the mother's prospective.

"I have been left in dire financial straits by my XDH. He never had a proper job the whole time we were married but made a decent living as a professional gambler. We have no assets but spent his earnings putting our DCS through private school. He has now relocated to Asia and my youngest DD is due to start at a new school for Y9 entry in September. It has been a very hard few years for DD since her father has left and I now no longer think that she will be able to join her friends at the private senior school unless she receives a substantial bursary. I work full time on NMW and have no qualification to improve my earnings. This has been a very difficult time for DD, is there any point in asking the school about a bursary?"

Thus phrased most posters would then reccommend that the mother contacts the school and hopes for a favourable response. So OP apply in your X's name and hope that there are some spare bursary funds about. I am refraining from adding to the personal abuse of your behaviour because I am trying to be practical about helping your DD.

PotteringAlong Sun 15-Dec-19 13:27:23

so perhaps it would be best just to contact the school now....

Well yes, because if you don’t get a bursary you need to know now so you can apply for state schools for her for September 2020. And you will need to do that ASAP because the deadline to apply for a state place for September 2020 was last October.

PotteringAlong Sun 15-Dec-19 13:29:01

Sorry, just realised she will be going into year 9, not year 7. So you need to contact the council and they will tell you which schools have places available and you can go from there.

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