Click here for the 'Bursary Application Form' (PDF)
The Governors of the Ursuline Preparatory School [the School] are committed to broadening access to the School by offering to eligible parents/guardians means-tested financial support with the payment of School’s fees. Such support is known as a Bursary and these may be awarded in the form of a discount of up to 33% of tuition fees payable, depending on the financial or other pertinent circumstances of applicants.
Bursary awards are subject to repeat testing of parental means each year and may be varied upwards or downwards, depending on parental circumstances. Awards are made on the basis of the Ursuline Preparatory Scale, which sets out an award in relation to a family’s financial circumstances. Bursaries reflect individual parents/guardians' circumstances (e.g. their savings, investments and realisable assets, as well as their income, the size of their family, any other persons dependent upon them and similar factors) or other pertinent considerations (i.e. bursaries are means-tested).
Requests for financial support usually fall into two categories:
- New applicants to the School, where a place has been offered but parents/guardians are unable to fund the tuition fees.
- Existing pupils where a change in parents/guardians' circumstances has resulted in difficulty in meeting tuition fees and may result in the child being withdrawn part way through a stage of education.
New Applicants to the School
Information provided by the School alerting the parents/guardians of potential pupils to the possibility of gaining means-tested financial support with the payment of School’s fees is included in:
- The school Information Folder.
- The school website.
- The local press by means of advertisements.
The Application Process
Bursaries may be made available to parents/guardians of children entering Years 1 to 6 of the School. They are awarded at the discretion of the Governors, and the Headteacher and the School Bursar are responsible for the management and coordination of the process.
- Parents/guardians seeking a bursary are required to complete a Bursary Application Form which seeks to establish the financial circumstances of the household. The form, which requests details of income and capital, may be found at Annex A and must be accompanied by full documentary evidence. The completed forms, together with the necessary documentary evidence, are to be submitted to our consultants, Bursary Administration Ltd (BAL), 3 Garland, Goudhurst Road, Horsemonden, Kent, TN12 6AJ.
- BAL will assess all applications in order to establish the likely level of support which will be required in order to allow the child to attend the School. This may involve the School’s representative, BAL visiting the parents/guardians’ home to ensure the information has been correctly interpreted and the basis of the financial assessment has been fair.
- The Headteacher and the Bursar prepare a recommendation in accordance with the School Bursary Policy which is a reduction of one third in fees.
- This recommendation is presented to the School Finance Committee for initial approval. If the application is successful at this stage, it is considered by the School Governors for final approval.
- The parents/guardians are advised whether their child is to be offered a place at the School and of the Bursary offer.
- Parents/guardians are then required to sign a letter accepting the place at the school and an acknowledgement agreeing to any conditions relating to the bursary.
The Case for Assistance
The Headteacher and Finance Committee will consider a number of factors when making judgements for support.
Suitability: In assessing a child’s suitability, attention will be given to the child’s potential as well as actual achievement. Bursary funds are limited and those judged to meet means testing requirements will be given priority as those likely to gain most from the educational provision. Each pupil to whom support is offered must, in the opinion of the Headteacher, is likely to make sound academic progress following admission and possess the potential to develop the quality of her work, and benefit from participation in the wider, extra-curricular activities on offer at the School. In normal circumstances, each applicant should meet the School’s normal requirements. Previous School reports will be consulted for evidence of good behaviour.
Financial Limitations: The amount of the bursary award is not influenced by the level of the academic ability of the child but by the extent of need. Each case is assessed on its own merits and awards are made accordingly, subject to the School’s ability to fund these within the context of what is viable within the context of its overall budget. It is recognised that judgements about what sacrifices a family should make to pay School fees will be personal. However, the School has a duty to ensure that all bursary grants are well focused and so, as well as current earnings, other factors which will be considered in determining the necessary level of grant will include:
- The ability to improve the financial position or earning power of the family. For example, where there are two parent/guardians, both would be expected to be employed unless one is prevented from doing so through incapacity, the need to care for children under school age or other dependants, or the requirements of their partner’s work.
- Opportunities to release any capital. Significant capital savings and investments would be expected to be used for the payment of School fees, as would equity value in houses.
- In cases of family separation, the contribution made by the absent parent.
- Contribution to household costs by other, wider, family members, any adults unrelated to the child or by outside sources.
- Where fees are being paid to other schools (or universities) the School’s grant will take into account all these outgoings.
- Acknowledging that others might have a different view, the School considers that the following would not be consistent with the receipt of a bursary:
- Frequent or expensive holidays.
- New or luxury cars.
- Investment in significant home improvements.
- A second property/land holdings.
Existing Pupils - Change in Family Circumstances
Parents/guardians with a child at the School whose financial circumstances suddenly change may apply for a bursary to the Headteacher, explaining their situation and using the Bursary Application Form. Such awards are subject to the availability of funding and cannot be guaranteed.
All bursary awards are subject to repeat testing of parental means each year and may be varied upwards or downwards depending on changes in parental circumstances. Current bursary holders will be issued with repeat means-testing forms at the end of the Spring term each year for return by the end of the Easter break. For those previously in receipt of bursaries, the Headteacher and the Bursar, in making their recommendation to the School Finance Committee, have the discretion to recommend to the Governors the withdrawal of an award where means-testing have shown necessary.
The School respects the confidentiality of bursary awards made to families and recipients are expected to do likewise.
Other Sources of Bursary Assistance
In addition to the School’s Bursary Fund, there are a number of educational and charitable trusts which provide assistance with tuition fees. In the majority of cases, these are to assist children who are already attending a fee-paying School and due to a change of circumstances may be unable to remain. The Wimbledon Ursuline Preparatory School encourages parents/guardians to apply to these trusts for support where it is felt a good case can be made for assistance.
Further information on how to pursue such assistance may be obtained from the School Bursar and:
The Educational Trusts Forum