Independent Junction



A meeting place for parents and prospective parents of children in the independent school sector in the UK

Bursaries at Independent Schools in the UK

If you are considering applying for bursaries to independent schools, the best place to start is by looking to the schools themselves. Independent schools put a great deal of effort to finding suitable candidates for their bursaries, which in many cases can be both numerous and generous. The websites of the schools have a huge amount of information about the bursaries; some even give information about income thresholds. The Admissions Staff and Bursars of these schools have a wealth of knowledge about further sources of funding and may be able to approach funding bodies with your child in mind.
For those looking for bursaries, the following websites may be of interest. Some are the websites for the funding bodies themselves; others are websites which collate information about funding bodies. The descriptions quote from their websites.
We wish to make this list as comprehensive as possible and invite those with knowledge of further sites that should be on this list to contact us.
Also, we welcome those who would be kind enough to share their experiences of looking for a bursary to contribute to the forum in this website.
The entries below are in the following categories:
1.        Websites for searching for bursaries
2.        Trusts, bursary foundations and governmental bursary schemes
3.        Directories of grant-making charities, schools and trusts
4.        Further reading



1.    Websites for searching for bursaries

Fee Assistance at London Schools

This organisation is an alliance of a growing number of London independent schools which actively canvass for suitable bursary applicants.
'The independent schools of London provide some of the very best educational opportunities that are available to children. They are noted not just for their high academic standards, but also for the real breadth of education that they offer.
Access to these schools is not restricted to those families who can afford to pay termly fees.
All the schools listed on this site have extensive arrangements in place to provide fee assistance for children who would not otherwise be able to attend. Each school is proudly different. Opportunities for assistance with fees are variously described as bursaries, scholarships, assisted places or sponsored awards. The impact is always the same: families whose children show that they can benefit from an independent education are helped to make that possible.'

Independent Schools of the British Isles: School Search

This website provides information on schools with Scholarships and Bursaries, using a convenient 'Advanced Search' function.
'isbi lists and updates information on over 6000 Independent, Special, Boarding, Day and International Schools - providing you with a resource that parents have trusted since 1987.
You can quickly search for schools by postcode or name, browse and print individual school’s details, and request additional information.'

Charity Commission


The Register of Charities holds details of organisations that have been recognised as charitable in law.
Searches can be made for charities which provide bursaries by using a keyword search.

The Girls’ Schools Association

The Girls’ Schools Association provides a booklet with details of bursaries and scholarships at independent girls’ schools. It can be downloaded at the link below.


A comprehensive and detailed list of bursaries at girls’ schools can be found at this site.

Educational Trusts' Forum

'The Educational Trusts’ Forum started in the early 1980s as the Joint Trusts’ Liaison Committee. Its membership comprises registered charities that are prepared to consider grants and awards to assist families in need who cannot afford educational or boarding fees. Pupils may be at independent schools or state schools where a boarding fee is charged.'
Our website lists approximately twenty five organisations who are members of the Educational Trusts’ Forum together with a very brief summary of their individual criteria.'

Independent Schools Council, Educational Grants Advice Service

This service offers grants information and advice and can be contacted by phone on: +44 (0)1932 865619 (9am-11am, Monday - Friday)

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2.    Trusts, bursary foundations and governmental bursary schemes

The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation (TSBBF)

'The SpringBoard Bursary Foundation’s objective is to add a powerful, ambitious and innovative approach to the provision of fully funded bursary places at independent and state boarding schools for disadvantaged children. The intention is, over time, to have a profound effect on social mobility and the ethos of the boarding sector.
For many pupils boarding offers an enriching experience because they have the structure and the time to work closely with teachers who have committed themselves to the extra level of intensity which comes from working in a boarding school. For all boarding pupils it offers a strong and engaging pastoral environment, but the high fees for these types of schools means this opportunity is not available to the majority of the population.'

The Buttle Trust

'Our School Fees Programme transforms the lives of very vulnerable children. The young people we help have significant health, emotional, social or family difficulties. By meeting their needs through a supportive and stable secondary education we aim to give them the best possible opportunity to thrive. By funding places within a UK boarding or independent day school we offer these children a potentially life changing experience.
Applications for support with boarding fees are considered where there is a strong case as to why a young person cannot, or should not, stay in the home with a parent/carer.
Applications for support with day fees are considered where the state education system has been unable to meet the young person’s needs, and there is no alternative state school.
We can help children and young people who are aged between 11 and 18, who are either: Adopted; Cared for by grandparents, relatives or friends; From single parent families; With two carers, where one is very severely incapacitated through illness or disability.'

Royal National Children's Foundation

'Royal National Children’s Foundation helps vulnerable children and young people in Britain whose circumstances are seriously prejudicial to their normal development and where no other care is available.
The Charity helps by providing grants and boarding school places for children aged 7 – 18 who have suffered trauma, tragedy or neglect in their young lives.
These are young people who usually have one or no active parents, whose normal development is compromised or threatened by adverse home, school or family circumstances.
This situation can arise through the death or serious ill health of one or both parents, divorce, separation or abnormal home conditions. The child will be aged between 7 to 18 years. The most suitable schooling for the majority of these young people will be at boarding school although day school will be considered as an exceptional alternative for children up to the age of 13.'

The Department of Education Music and Dance Scheme

'The MDS is a small and highly-specialised scheme that provides means-tested fee support and grants to designated centres of excellence for the education and vocational training of exceptionally talented young musicians and dancers. It has been in existence for some 40 years.
The scheme provides support with the fees at eight independent specialist schools, 15 Centres for Advanced Training and 6 Conservatoires for children aged 8 to 18 (11 to 19 for dance) who have outstanding potential to train for a career in dance or music. MDS allows children from low-income families to train for and reach the pinnacle of music and dance performance.
It represents the ‘top of the pyramid’ for performing arts education and training and is the Government’s main vehicle for funding the training needs of such children. Although small (just over 2300 students a year), the scheme, its beneficiaries, its participating organisations and its patrons have a significant impact on the world of classical music and dance.
For aided boarding pupils, any pupil whose parents have a relevant income of around £12,620 (2012/13) or less is entitled to a free place. For aided day pupils, the threshold is around £15,965, below which the pupil will receive a free place.
There is a sliding scale above the thresholds which determines the size of the parental contribution towards the fees charged. Parental contributions are determined only by reference to gross family income and not by reference to the fees charged at the school attended. The higher the parental income, the greater the contribution the parent is required to make. The Department for Education meets the balance of the approved fees for Aided Pupils after any parental contribution.'

The Choir School Association

'Chorister places are generously subsidised thanks to the cathedral, collegiate and choir school foundations. There may well be additional financial help available for the child who sings well, who really wants to be a chorister, and whose parents genuinely cannot afford the fees.
The CSA administers the Government’s Choir School Scholarship Scheme which can provide additional funds following strict means-testing. The Association also has its own limited Bursary Trust Fund.'

The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

The Masonic Trust supports children with exceptional talent in music, sport or the performing arts, and choristers:
'TalentAid helps to support children and young people who are exceptionally gifted in music, sport or the performing arts. The scheme was established in response to our growing awareness that some families were making huge financial sacrifices, or were simply unable to support their child's career ambitions in these fields.
Applications can be considered on behalf of children and grandchildren of Freemasons. In appropriate cases, assistance with school or college fees will be considered. Fees will only be supported for those attending specialist institutions or schools that have a national reputation in a particular field. In most cases where fees are agreed as part of our support, parents will be expected to make a contribution.'
'The Choral Bursary scheme supports choristers at cathedrals across England and Wales. The scheme was closed to new applicants in 2013. Since 1995 we have assisted over seventy talented choristers from low-income families. Recipients of our bursaries are nominated by cathedrals and are not required to have a connection to a Freemason.'

Mitchell City of London Educational Foundation

'The Foundation offers two types of grants for those of secondary education age who qualify for our help. The first is a grant for children of single parent families when the child is over the age of 11 years, is already within independent education and has been at the school of choice for one year.
The second is a bursary for students with one or both parents, where the student is already attending an independent school and is going into the 6th form for A level or IB studies.
Applicants for both types of grant must have the Foundation's City Qualification. That is the child must be attending a City School or either parent must have lived or worked within the City of London, the square mile, for at least five years.'
The charities are able to consider grants towards a number of the costs involved with the education of clergy children in both the maintained and the independent sectors.

Sons and Friends of the Clergy

Available for the education expenses of the children of Anglican clergy.
'The charities are able to consider grants towards a number of the costs involved with the education of clergy children in both the maintained and the independent sectors.'

The Methodist Bursary Fund

'The Methodist Bursary Fund was originally created to provide financial support for Methodist families, to enable and assist them to board at the secondary schools controlled by or associated with the Methodist Independent Schools Trust.
The Awards Committee will consider for an award any pupil of secondary age whose parent(s), whether living or deceased, is or at the time of death was a member of the Methodist Church. Any pupil who is herself or himself a member of the Methodist Church or is about to enter into membership will also be eligible.'


The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers

Bursaries at the Boys and Girls Schools of the City of London:
'The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers has always considered supporting education, at many levels, of considerable importance in its charitable work.
The Pattenmakers have long supported, in various ways, the City of London Boy’s School and the City of London School for Girls and provides two bursaries at each for deserving students. '

Bursaries for seafarers at The Royal Hospital School

'The Royal Hospital School is part of Greenwich Hospital, a Crown naval charity, one of whose charitable objectives, in accordance with its Royal Charter of 1694 and subsequent legislation, is to provide for the education of the children of seafarers. As a result, Royal Navy,Royal Marines, UK MerchantNavyand certain other seafaring families may be eligible for assistance with boarding fees through a limited number of individual Greenwich Hospital bursaries.
Eligibility does not, however, guarantee the award of a bursary, the value of which is assessed on the basis of parents’ financial circumstances and charitable need.'

The Army Sixth Form Scholarship

'If you are over 15 and want to become a Regular Army Officer, you could apply for either a Sixth Form Scholarship or a place at Welbeck, the Army's Sixth Form College. These scholarships gives financial support to students while they study for their A levels, and secures their place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst once they finish school or university.'

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3.    Directories of Grant-making Charities, Schools and Trusts

The MMA Guide to Music Scholarships in the UK

'The MMA is the national association for Music Teaching Professionals. We are one of the longest-established and largest music education member organisations in the UK.'
'The MMA Music Directory is the comprehensive guide to Music Departments in the UK. It details every school wishing to promote its Music department and/or offer Music Scholarships to prospective parents. It gives Directors of Music the opportunity to showcase their department and its unique skills to parents seeking guidance, many of whom may live outside of immediate catchment areas, by comprehensively listing their facilities. For MMA members, the Music Directory is sent complimentary, as part of your membership.'

The following directories provide information about all charitable trusts and grants in the UK. They contain information about bursary funds in diverse areas. Some are very expensive to buy, but may be available in local libraries:
The Educational Grants Directory
The Guide to the Major Trusts
The Directory of Grant-Making Trusts
The Charities Digest

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4.    Further reading

'10 tips for Private School Busaries'
'Private school fees can be subsidised if you know how to get a bursary - we share ten tips to show you how. '

'Private school bursaries: helping talent shine through'
'Many schools find that bursary recipients do perform slightly better, both academically and socially'.

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