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Funds raided to help out

One in five pupils in schools that belong to the Independent Schools Council benefit from scholarships or bursaries, although some awards can be as little as 10 per cent of fees.

Unlike scholarships, bursaries are not based on competitive examinations but are often awarded on a means-tested basis.

However, the ISC guide for 2003 notes: "In recent years schools have used their bursary funds to help parents of current pupils who find themselves in financial difficulties."

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