In only four years, The Good Schools Guide has transformed the approach of both schools and parents in relation to Scholarships and Bursaries. When we began, parents had no way of knowing what kind of fee assistance might be available at any individual school - or from the sector in general. The only possibility was to contact each school out of the blue - something many parents feel reluctant to do without any information about their eligibility.
So, we started to talk to the schools and to their representative bodies about how to make the information more easily available to parents. While we received great enthusiasm from the actual schools, we were frustrated by the lack of cooperation from their professional associations.
Knowing that parents needed and wanted this information, we launched our own Scholarships and Bursaries Service.
Each child is an individual
And how things have changed! More than 700 schools now, annually, eagerly supply us with their information. "We are so glad you are doing this," one wrote to us recently. "We do like your approach," said another. And from one school this week: "I listened to the talk at the ISS Battersea in November and was very impressed with what you are doing...whilst you have all the information at your fingertips, you do also treat each application on its individual merit."
So - what do we do?
We keep an up-to-date information bank of which school offers what, how the applications process works and the criteria each school employs to determine who gets what. Some schools give us loads of detail, others are more reticent. But we understand this. We know that these decisions can be heart-breakingly hard. One bursary of 100% fee remission to one pupil, or four offers of 25% fee remission or 10 of 10% off the fees?
Parents come to us, tell about their child, their circumstances and the help they need. We research according to their criteria and let them know where, when and how to apply. We charge for the time it takes to maintain the information and conduct individual researches. Our reports to parents are detailed, accurate and comprehensive.
Just as schools applaud our work, parents are touchingly grateful. We are always scrupulously open and honest. We give sound, practical advice and never take on cases which have no chance of success. And we are rewarded by the parents who write to us with a place and a bursary at the school of their dreams. It can't always happen but without information it never will.
The Good Schools Guide Scholarships and Bursaries Service: www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/advice-service/scholarships-and-bursaries-service.