Getting in and out of financial difficulties
Attitude to bill-paying and money varies hugely - the best schools are wonderful and increasingly flexible about payment terms; allowing arrangements such as monthly installments. Bursars are expecting this request from cash-strapped parents, no shame attached.
Indeed the bursar has mostly evolved from the enemy, to being the father confessor (with some notable exceptions – best description received: ‘the bursar is a most evil toad’).
A lot will depend on how well funded the school is: it is worth investigating this before you go any further - as we explain...
A few well-funded, rich schools will pick up the tab until further notice if you fall on hard times and your child is a good egg. Most of them will do their very best to see you through exam periods, but most poor schools simply cannot afford to do this for long, however much they may wish to.
Don’t assume that because they are called ‘charities’ that they will be charitable to you. Some may send out the debt collectors. They will hold you to the small print –one term’s payment or one term’s notice to quit really means it. They may well threaten to take you to court – although of course it will be an extremely different matter if your child is especially bright.
Action to avoid 'fee expulsion'
- Speak to the head. Mothers and new fathers may burst into tears at this point - The head will immediately direct you to the bursar.
- Explain your position – as optimistically, positively and realistically as possible.
- Hope for flexible arrangements: monthly payments or deferred payment.
- Have all the scholarships gone? Is there a spare bursary?
- Assess the situation. How vital is it to keep your child in this school? Will the world fall apart if he/she leaves now?
- Can relatives ease the pain? If you really feel it is vital the child stays put, try touching a relation for a loan/gift. Grandparents are still the number one source of school fees. Investigate the possibility of an extra mortgage.
- Look for alternatives - if a fee-paying education is not vital (And there are very many good state schools) start looking for state alternatives.
The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants now holds a unique central source of information on scholarships and bursaries. You may have a gifted child but limited finances. You may want a confidential discussion before going to individual schools to find out what they may be able to offer you. Read more about our Scholarships and Bursaries help.
Some special needs are easy to spot, others are only determined once a child has experienced considerable difficulties, frustrations or social and emotional problems.
Over the years, diagnosis of and provision for SEN have improved, but both can still be a minefield.
Identifying different kinds of special educational needs
Few children fit a condition perfectly – if they do, we tend to say they are a ‘classic’ case. Most will not be straightforward: perhaps a dyslexic with dyspraxia and a touch of ADD, or a child with ASD who also has Down’s syndrome.
Just as special needs are hard to…
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Counties such as Kent or Buckinghamshire are ‘selective authorities’ and most families will have at least one grammar school close to where they live. Elsewhere, for example in Reading or Kingston-on-Thames, there are just one or two grammar schools and competition for places at these is ferocious.
How to find a state grammar school
Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston,…
As proud parents, we all know our children are unique. They're smarter than anyone else's, funnier, certainly more attractive, better behaved and above all bursting with the kind of talent that would leave Daniel Radcliffe, Jamie Bell and Charlotte Church standing. And for some extraordinary - though totally understandable - reason, everyone but us seems blind to our offspring's God-given artistic gifts.
The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants advise parents on everything to do with children and their education
Our service is a personal one-to-one service.You tell us what you want and we tell you how we can help. And then we do! Our education consultants are our most experienced writers. They have visited countless schools. All are parents. You will have your own personal advisor who has the benefit of the combined experience and expertise of the entire team to draw on. All our consultants work as hard for the children of their clients as they do for their own.