Bursaries up for second year running

28th August 2009 at 01:00

Independent schools are replacing scholarships with means-tested bursaries faster than ever, according to a new report.

Around #163;200 million was handed out in support by fee-charging schools last year, or #163;104 million excluding those institutions with large endowment funds.

It is the second year running that more is being spent on bursaries to help poorer pupils than on scholarships to help the most able. It suggests that schools are responding to warnings that they need to widen access to keep their charitable status.

The Benchmarking Financial Performance In Independent Schools 2009 report by accountant Horwath Clark Whitehill said: "In 2007, for the first time, bursary levels exceeded scholarships and, in 2008, the speed of this switch seems to be increasing."

In 1997, only around 47 per cent of awards were bursaries, but this figure has now increased to just over 54 per cent. However, the report's authors added that the overall amount of money used to support pupils financially had not changed substantially.

"Total concessions are not increasing and, in the current economic climate, schools are unlikely to be able to afford much more," they said. "Switching from scholarships to bursaries is one thing, asking hard-pressed parents for extra money to pay for bursaries for other pupils is quite another."

But Hilary Moriarty, national director of the Boarding Schools' Association, said that schools are able to offer support to pupils through more effective, "professionalised" fundraising.

"It is being more specifically targeted," she said. "If you give a persuasive story, such as asking to donate to fund a free place, you are much more likely to get a response."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today