Sunday, October 11, 2009

Private schools bursaries - a question

Does anyone know how, if at all, how the awarding of private schools's bursaries is monitored? On what basis are they typically given? To whom? What is the background of those getting bursaries. Are kids tested? How?

If you don't have general knowledge, you may know of particular instances of how bursaries were awarded.

My guess is, they are not really monitored at all. But as this is the main "public benefit" private schools provide for 100 million pounds of public money (in tax), shouldn't it be very closely monitored?

The only kid I know who received a bursary had a father who went to a top public school and a grandfather who is a Knight of The Realm. No academic selection. Just an interview to see if he would "fit in". Which he obviously did.

How many kids from council estates get bursaries, I wonder? Maybe the mechanisms for awarding bursaries are not as dodgy as they appear to me to be, but I'd like to be reassured!

13 comments:

Peter said...

Private education in obviously unjust shocker!

Sam Norton said...

Anecdote: I got one (in the 1980's) given on the basis of academic potential and household poverty (also got 'Assisted Place' help too). I don't plan to go into much detail on the poverty question otherwise we'll get into a 'Four Yorkshiremen' conversation...

Anonymous said...

More anecdotes: my brother got one for the local Public School in the 1980s. My parents had paid school fees for the first few years then were unable to afford it. (I didn't get in the school as I failed the entrance exam at 11; obviously a good indicator, after all I only went on to get an MSc.)

My mother urged me to go for one for my daughter when considering a school for her. It looks like lots of pleading and buttering up the school. Couldn't do it as it would leave too much of a taste in my mouth - and even then you only get 30% off which might be withdrawn at any time.

Ironically, I might have to play the faith school card. It also leaves a taste. I might blog about this sometime.

Chris said...

I was awarded a music scholarship to my secondary (private) school, based upon a combination of my 'talent' and my parents' inability to pay the huge fees required for me to attend.

It was thought that the school I was leaving was not catering for me, either musically or academically, and that this new school could offer me far more.

I remember there were recommendations from my teachers (both musical and academic), and several pretty in-depth interviews for both areas, so I'd like to think there was some empirical basis to the selection and award. My parents ended up paying half the fees as a result, and I consequently excelled and went on to Oxbridge.

Having said that, my parents were well educated middle-class types, but certainly not part of any establishment that might hint at any conspiracy of nepotism as far as I can tell.

SgtSkepper said...

I got one back in 1996 based on academic ability as judged by two entrance exams. However, I was not poor (though not rich either). Socio-economic background was not taken into account in any way.

Hemiola said...

Another anecdote: My son goes to a Steiner school. I was made redundant and asked them for help with the fees so as not to disrupt his education. All their questions were around assets and liabilities. All (visible) criteria were purely financial.

John said...

Are you sure that bursaries represent the main public benefit of private (public) schools? As opposed to education generally, or for the fiscally minded, the massive reduction in state provision (and therefore taxation funding) for those 7% of schoolchildren who are privately educated?

Greg O said...

My home town had a grammar school system without the grammar school - those of us who passed the 11+ were sent to the local private schools (one boys', one girls') alongside fee-paying pupils. Not sure where the funding came from though - i.e. whether the LEA picked up the tab, or the school had bursaries funded out of some other public pot, or what. (They did let plebs in though - we were a working-class family who started out in council housing.)

Hugo said...

I'm with John. If private schools didn't exist, the state would have to pay more, yet the parents of children currently privately schooled would not pay more tax.

In the current system, they pay twice: for the private school, and also for state schooling that they don't use.

What lefty could object to "rich" people effectively paying more tax?

Anonymous said...

Rather than give support to a select few children of low income families, wouldn't it be fairer to give an educational voucher for however much it costs to educate a child in the state sector, to every kid? That way parents could use it at whatever school they wanted and would mean that schools would have to compete for kids (and therefore funding).

Underperforming schools would therefore have to close. Or is it better to create the 'Private school bursary regulation office' and divert money into it that would be better used teaching 11 year olds to read and write?

Stephen Law said...

Private school vouchers fine by me - with no top ups. Parents cannot add to the value of the voucher. Now there's a level playing field -let the market decide.

Of course the free marketeers typically have no interest in that sort of voucher scheme, do they? I wonder why not?

Anonymous said...

On the contrary no top ups is the ideal for the free marketeers. Why can private schools cope without the 'support' of the large central education departments in local authoritities? If the schools have to provide the value for money education, they will.

A large amount of private school fees include the 'extras' that state school kids don't get.

Providing such a level playing field would also remove the stranglehold on education displayed by the teaching unions. Now that would be radical!

Maria Fisher said...

Not sure , if. I can still comment on this post , however my son has recently been refused entry to his private school as we have been unable pay the fees, due to his twin brother being injured at school and having 5 brain surgeries and my husband being unabke to work.
They have given me no options on other monies that maybe available to me,they just advised he wasnot to attend .This was 1st November.Hes still at home with me and his twin brother who is still sick.