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09 Nov 2014

Scholarships and Bursaries – again

Barnaby Lenon

On Saturday at The Independent Schools Show in Battersea, as one of an excellent line-up of speakers, Barnaby Lenon, ex-head of Harrow School and the current Chair of The Independent Schools Council, was in conversation with Charles Bonas, of Bonas MacFarlane Education. He will be discussing bursaries, scholarships, reduced fee admissions to independent schools and look ahead to the academic reforms scheduled for 2015-2020, said the blurb.

Cap in Hand?

In the event, over 100 eager parents found only two minutes were given to the subject of bursaries. We were told that around one third of pupils in independent schools are now on some kind of fee assistance but when they asked how parents find out what financial help might be available to parents, they were told that they had to ask each school individually.

What Is My Child Worth?

But parents don’t know which schools to ask. They have no idea whether their family income – £30,000, £50,000, £75,000 per annum – might qualify their child for anything or everything off the fees and it is, for most people, impossibly daunting to call up a school cold and risk humiliation by asking, even if they do know which schools are out there.

Scholarships and Bursaries Service

The ISC has failed – despite many of its senior heads backing the scheme – to set up any kind of searchable online resource or service for parents. The only such resource is now held and managed by us – our Scholarships and Bursaries Service. This enables parents to discover just what is available, where and on what terms. It is, of course, welcomed by the schools. It is always accompanied by common sense advice and a stern reality check. Fee assistance is most certainly out there but you won’t get it just because you want it.

Judging from the disappointed response to Mr Lenon’s talk, we will be inundated with enquiries this week.



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