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Secondary education

Grants to top up a private school bursary

54 replies

Turri · 02/02/2024 20:23

My daughter has been awarded a bursary for a private school, but it only covers 50% of the fees, leaving £3.5k per term to find. As a single mother working on minimum wages its not something I can cover. Can anyone recommend a grant that might help? I can only find them for children of armed forces, doctors, or those already at the school. Many thanks!

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twistyizzy · 02/02/2024 20:48

No that's what the bursary is for! If you can't afford the remainder of the fees then you can't afford for your daughter to attend. Remember you have to add on top of fees: uniform (up to 1K initial outlay), transport, lunches etc. Most private schools the kids have their own devices ie ipad/laptop too..

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QuaterMiss · 02/02/2024 20:50

Is it too late to apply to any other suitable, bursary awarding schools? A different one might be willing / able to offer more. I realise that might be impractical or impossible at this stage, though.

Is there a reason why you weren’t offered more? Do you have considerable assets or close family in a position to help? Would it actually be impossible for her to attend without more financial assistance?

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Pinkpinkplonk · 02/02/2024 20:52

The Scholarship hub?

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mrsm43s · 02/02/2024 20:58

Bursaries are a mix of "means tested" based on your income and "how much the school wants the child" based on their performance in the entrance exams.

The shortfall is either because your child didn't perform well enough that the school really, really wants them or because you have other sources of income that you could release that you're not prepared to (e.g equity or savings).

If you don't have assets that you can release (e.g house equity), then, unfortunately, you probably just need to accept it's not doable for you.

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Parsley1234 · 02/02/2024 20:59

50% is really generous most don’t offer that much hopefully you can find a way

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Potterinthegarden · 02/02/2024 21:26

I don't think you will find any funding unfortunately.
Private schooling isn't an option for the majority (me included - though I don't mind!). Hopefully you have a reasonable state option.

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QuaterMiss · 02/02/2024 21:36

@Potterinthegarden - why comment when you clearly don’t know anything about the range of grants specifically to help fund private schooling?

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Potterinthegarden · 02/02/2024 22:21

If there are grants available that is great. I hope OP can find something to help.

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eddxc90 · 02/02/2024 22:27

QuaterMiss · 02/02/2024 21:36

@Potterinthegarden - why comment when you clearly don’t know anything about the range of grants specifically to help fund private schooling?

Because it's an absurd question to ask in the first place ?

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Hatty999 · 02/02/2024 22:33

eddxc90 · 02/02/2024 22:27

Because it's an absurd question to ask in the first place ?

Why is it absurd?

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WomensRightsRenegade · 02/02/2024 22:46

50pc isn’t ’really generous’ if a single parent is on minimum wage. Most schools have the option of 100pc bursaries, and many offer something like 110pc to cover uniform, lunches, coach, trips etc

It’s very rare for uniform to cost anything like 1k either. That’s scaremongering. Ours was around £300 all in. There are also lots of second hand sales

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minipie · 02/02/2024 22:50

Deleted post as it’s not relevant sorry. (Pointed to educational grants but looks like they are for age 16+ only).

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twistyizzy · 03/02/2024 06:33

WomensRightsRenegade · 02/02/2024 22:46

50pc isn’t ’really generous’ if a single parent is on minimum wage. Most schools have the option of 100pc bursaries, and many offer something like 110pc to cover uniform, lunches, coach, trips etc

It’s very rare for uniform to cost anything like 1k either. That’s scaremongering. Ours was around £300 all in. There are also lots of second hand sales

It is definitely not uncommon for uniform to cost 1K if you include sports kit as well. DDs came to 1.2K inc 2 x types trainers, hockey sticks, school shoes + bag.

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Parsley1234 · 03/02/2024 08:37

The schools that offer 100% tend to be Eton et al most schools have a 10% scholarship marker plus 50% max bursary contribution unless the child is exceptionally gifted. Disclaimer we received 50% at prep and public which was the max offered

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QuaterMiss · 03/02/2024 08:49

It’s true the possibilities are more limited for girls, as girls’ schools are historically less well endowed.

Our family has recent experience of 100% bursaries at both prep and public school - but that was for boys.

@Turri - you’re likely to find the most generous bursary awards at the wealthiest full boarding schools. And they’re generally keen to bring in promising pupils from single parent / not well off households.

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lolo99 · 03/02/2024 09:25

Parsley1234 · 03/02/2024 08:37

The schools that offer 100% tend to be Eton et al most schools have a 10% scholarship marker plus 50% max bursary contribution unless the child is exceptionally gifted. Disclaimer we received 50% at prep and public which was the max offered

This isn’t true. Although most bursaries will be prioritised for those kids who would
also qualify for scholarships.

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theresnolimits · 03/02/2024 09:30

Ask the school’s bursar to point you in the right direction. This is not an uncommon situation and they will have details of organisations who may offer ‘top ups’

i have direct experience of this and it is certainly possible.

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AnotherNewt · 03/02/2024 09:52

Third party grant giving organisations that will pay school fees are extremely rare.

I know of some that are occupationally linked (clergy) and ones that will pay to the end of a school year (or end of GCSE/A level course) for pupils already in fee-paying schools whose families have major change in circumstance (typically death or critical illness of the main household earner - aim is as much to avoid further distress by precipitate change of school as it is to support education)

I cannot think of any that make grants for the whole school career of a pupil.

If the bursary is not sufficient for you to feel secure that you can make ends meet, then you will have to forego the place. Of course it's always worth asking the school if they can extend the amount of the bursary, but there are of course no guarantees that they will do so. But you lose nothing by asking.

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lolo99 · 03/02/2024 16:02

Are all the comments from should and shouldn't from bursars? Otherwise it's just people's opinion.

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QuaterMiss · 03/02/2024 16:07

@lolo99 if you read my previous post you might see why I feel qualified to comment.

Can’t comment on anyone else’s knowledge but there are quite a lot of independent school parents on MN.

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SaltySeaCat · 03/02/2024 22:14

Have you gone back to the Bursar to explain it’s not enough? They may have more funds available, especially if some bursary places have been turned down.

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WomensRightsRenegade · 04/02/2024 00:02

If schools really only offered maximum 50pc bursary they wouldn’t really be going for social diversity, would they? Just for people who could pay 3k a term instead of 6k. Doesn’t make any sense.

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Turri · 04/02/2024 07:47

I have gone back to ask if there is further funding available. There isn't. 50% is the maximum and they point me in the direction of grants which we don't qualify for e.g. naval families etc. But thanks for the reply.

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QuaterMiss · 04/02/2024 10:01

Oh dear …

Don’t hate me, but did you know 50% was the maximum they would offer when you applied, or do they make higher awards to other pupils?

You haven’t responded to queries as to whether you have assets, investments or close family able to assist - which would all influence the amount you’ve been offered. (You don’t have to - but I hope you’ve been given the reason for this disappointing offer?)

Obviously a day school, at £21k per year, presumably girls or co-ed with 11+ entry? Forgive me if incorrect.

You may still find the right charitable help - but if you don’t, and find you have to withdraw from this application, I think you might be wise to investigate full boarding schools (as opposed to weekly boarding) with 13+ entry. That’s the most likely route to the size of bursary that would make it possible for your daughter to actually attend. Boarding schools are much wealthier and have higher income cut-offs because their fees are clearly very much higher.

(I’m aware that you may not have considered this option - some families / children like boarding, others don’t. It can work exceptionally well for single parents - but it’s a discussion for a different thread, maybe on the Boarding School board here.)

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Turri · 04/02/2024 13:08

Yes, 50% was the maximum when we applied but when I asked about options for the 50% they said that grants often cover the short fall.

However, I've gone through as many charities that give grants etc but have found nothing that we qualify for. Posting here was my last resort to see if there were any options I hadn't come across yet.

And no, there are no rich relatives anywhere otherwise I wouldn't be exploring options!

She is in a state school where she says she is learning nothing and none of the children want to learn, they just want to mess around. We knew this school had a bad reputation but we are in a rural location so only have the option of 2 schools. The waiting list for the other school has not decrease at all this year, hence exploring other options.

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