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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:59 am 
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I wonder if anyone can tell me whether it is standard practice, when one is offered a scholarship, to have to sign to stay at the school right until the end of 6th form, and to pay back all scholarship money if you don't? Very unexpectedly, DS has been offered a substantial academic scholarship but we have some small reservations about the school (only applied as a back-up as we are just outside catchment for our comp). Notably, we are concerned about the sixth form - it seems such a long way off and we don't know how we will feel then.

Also, supposing a child was bullied ruthlessly and hated the school, where would you stand then? This is all totally new to me and while we are incredibly proud of DS, we are a bit like rabbits in the headlights now. I would really welcome any advice on the scope of these agreements and whether they are legally binding.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:31 am 
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Location: Warwickshire.
We are in the fortunate position where both children have been offered scholarships.

None of the schools that offered required us to sign anything to tie us into the school. The only thing we were asked to acknowledge was that they could be withdrawn due to excessive absenteeism, poor behaviour, poor effort or grades.

Furthermore, in any of these examples we would be notified that the school was disappointed with any of the above way before the scholarship was actually removed.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:42 am 
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Don't do it Amber, it is not standard practice! Bullying tactics I think! Let them have your DC on your terms not theirs! Don't let them think they're doing you a favour. Sounds like your DC is attractive to them, and you'd be doing them a favour!

Try and avoid school fees if at all possible. We have DS in Independent School (6 years) now leaving as has passed 11+ for CGS. Independent not all cracked up to be, but we have another better indie lined up in case bad news on 1 March. We like you are out of catchment for our 2nd LEA choice. (First LEA choice Grammar - CGS)

Use the latest Good Schools Guide to help make your fallback indie choice.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:53 am 
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Just to be clear, my DD is already at the school and she loves it and is doing very well. I just wondered if it is standard practice and by the sound of this it is not. Eek! Oh dear, whoever said having children was easy? No-one on this forum, I suppose!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:22 am 
If she is already at the school then I suspect they want this tie in because they could offer a scholarship to a new entrant. Why bother offering it to a current pupil if they are already at the school. The scholarship is substantial and is clearly a recognition of how much they want her to remain there but it would be in vain if you left for the sixth form. There are schools that operate similar policies - DCPS being one of them. If DS left at 11 instead of 13 then he would have to pay back his choristership, however he does not have to go onto the senior school. Scholarships are offered because the school wants a prestigious award at the end, whether that be another scholarship to a senior school or Oxbridge entry. It may not be common policy and it may be a difficult decision to ask a parent to make but I do think it is fair. Why should someone get a fee remission if they are not intending to be fully supportive of the school. If you could get some sort of bullying or relocation clause put into the contract then that should be acceptable and is necessary.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:28 am 
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Location: Birmingham
Amber
For what it's worth, I know of schools in Birmingham who stipulate the same thing, even for relatively small academic scholarships of say 10%.

Good luck with the decision!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:36 am 
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Oh I am obviously not making myself clear here. Sorry - am slightly in turmoil over this.

DD is at the school. Loves it, doing well. We did not even think of ticking the scholarship box when she applied, though in retrospect she would probably have been offered something as she is almost top of her year.

DS1 has been offered the scholarship. He is not currently at the school but in a state primary.

The terms and conditions apply to all bursaries and scholarships at this school, not just the one we have been offered.

I apologise if I have confused people who are trying to help me. I hope this makes sense now.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:55 am 
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Amber, I suspect you may be talking about the same school that I was planning to look at for DD1, like you, as a fall back, in case she doesn't pass the 11+. We would need a scholarship or bursary in order to afford the fees and I had noticed too the stipulation that the child stays until the end of the 6th form or pays the money back! :?

Please do keep us updated with what you decide, I haven't decided yet whether to sit my DD for the entrance exam. (OH not keen, but agrees probably better than local comp!) :D


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:59 am 
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It sounds as if you are worried that your child will not like the school. Is is possible for the child to spend a couple of mornings or afternoons there? What does your daughter think about it. Sometimes kids are remarkably astute on whether the school will suit a sibling or not. Is the scholarship agreement legally enforceable? Frankly I don't think it is reasonable to ask you to predict the future. I can't imagine that if your child left the school for one of the reasons you mentioned that the school would dare take you to court. I refused to pay the terms notice after removing one of my children from a private school. I told the school that I was content for the whole story to come out in court with the local press in attendance and they backed down. By the way one of my children had a scholarship to another school but we never had a written agreement at all - very dangerous! Personally, I would never go for another scholarship because it left us in a position where we were completely unable to make any negative comment or criticism, however mild.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:08 pm 
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A friend has children on scholarships at the school and frequently offers 'robust' comments to the Head - I think he handles it pretty well. But you are right, I am worried that the school might not suit DS. DD loves it and it has been very right for her - we can't believe the levels of her achievement now and the opportunities she is being offered. We are in that happy position of feeling that it is definitely The Right Place for her, and we are optimistic that she will be offered a sixth form scholarship if she decides to stay there. There is definitely something to be said for the care and nurturing that an indie school can offer a shy and socially slightly awkward child, as she once was, but is no longer.

DS1 is not DD though, and is very outgoing and confident; also very mature, which is one reason they have given him the scholarship. He missed our grammar of choice by 1 mark, because his mother was too stubborn to allow coaching, I suppose, and we have played with the idea of appealing but decided not to as DS1 did not really fancy the travel anyway.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts on this, so please feel free to say what you think, unless it is what a bad mother I am - I already feel that way just now!


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