You have a bright or talented child but money is tight. You want an independent education for your child and you feel pretty sure he or she – and you as a family – may qualify for some kind of financial assistance from a good school.
How? Where? How much?
But how do you find out what might be available to you? And at which school? And how much might you get? And for how long? And would it cover just the tuition or might it stretch to boarding fees and even instrumental fees or help on school trips? And what might be the procedure for the means-testing or the auditioning or the academic testing if you are to have a chance of such assistance? And are there really such things as State Boarding Schools where you only have to pay boarding fees?
These are serious and very important questions. Frustratingly, many schools do not make it easy to get answers. Sometimes, there is very little information on their websites and you have no option but to call up and, perhaps, tell more about yourselves than you feel ready to with so little information.
New and unique information resource for parents
However, there is now a real drive to ensure that fee assistance goes to children who deserve it and the schools are keen to make sure that the information reaches as many parents as possible.
Scholarships and Bursaries Advice and Support
Hundreds of independent schools with money for fee assistance have sent us the details of what they offer. This is updated annually. We have amassed information on scholarships and bursaries to create a central resource for parents.
We also know about charities which support children in genuine need of a subsidised education. If you call us, we should be able to tell you what your options may be at any given school in The Good Schools Guide and in many other good schools as well.
We won’t be able to tell you exactly what – in raw financial terms – a school might offer you in terms of bursarial help as this will depend on many things eg your income, your financial commitments, the number of children you have etc – but we will be able to tell you the school’s criteria for scholarships and bursaries, how they select their recipients, how many awards they have to offer and, most importantly, their special awards eg for particular skills or talents – sports, arts, music etc. Read more common sense advice about scholarships and bursaries here.
Regrettably, we do not - except in exceptional cases* - take on overseas families in search of bursaries. Few schools accept bursary applications from overseas families. In the case of exceptional ability eg in music, we may offer help in search of scholarships.
* Exceptional cases could mean eg a child who is orphaned and who would clearly adapt to and benefit from a UK boarding education.
The whats? and the hows?
We should be able to give you a rough idea of what your income needs to be to qualify for bursarial help of some kind. We can also advise you on how to approach a school and when. We will be able to explain to you how a scholarship might be topped up by a bursary and answer any other questions you may have. We also know of odd and unusual awards eg for skills in eg chess, dance, golf or for the children of clergy, sailors or children whose parent has died. We even know of one for vegetarians!
This is a fee-paying service as the search can take some time but we keep our fees as low as possible. For example, if you want a list of top senior schools in Greater London which offer, potentially, 100% of fees for a bright child, we would charge around £180-£360. The charge would include details of the schools’ criteria for awarding the assistance eg exams and interviews/auditions and in fact, as much information as we hold ourselves along with individual advice. For a wider range of schools or a greater number of possible locations we would normally charge £280 - £400. Seldom more.
All enquiries will be treated individually. You tell us the information you want and we will tell you how much our search would cost before there is any commitment.
NB There is money available and most good schools take immense care to ensure it is wisely spent on the most deserving children. However, there are always far more children applying for financial assistance than even the most generously-endowed schools can support. You may be in dire straits financially and have a bright child but no school owes you a bursary. Do your homework and approach this with hope and with realism but remember, success can never be guaranteed.
NB2 We have heard recently of schools who demand the return of monies paid as part of financial assistance if parents withdraw their children from the school sooner than planned. A term’s notice of withdrawal is normal; occasionally, schools expect a year’s notice or they attempt to impose a financial penalty. Most schools are honourable and do not add to family pressures if they arise. However, others take a different stance. We would strongly advise anyone who accepts a bursary from a school to ensure they have read and understood all the terms on which the bursary is offered, especially when it comes to withdrawing a child from a school early.
The Scholarship and Bursary enquiry service is arranged by our administrator, Shari Lord. You may be certain of absolute confidentiality.