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 Post subject: How long to wait?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:33 am
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Apologies for this extended post, but I'm feeling frustrated and somewhat upset after weeks of waiting for a result from two independent schools and wondered if this was a common experience, and whether anyone had any advice?

My son is 10 (young year 6) and we think very bright and creative. I know all parents tend to think that of their offspring, and with two Oxbridge parents he has had a facilitating environment, but he has always motivated himself to learn and create new things.

For instance, he has an extraordinary vocabulary, unnaturally good spelling(!), excellent literacy skills and KS2 level 5a Maths. In the past two years he has:
    * taught himself to use Flash 8 to create animations,
    * used professional level tools such as Fireworks, Audacity and Gamemaker to mix soundtracks and make games,
    * set up, run and changed the look of a Wordpress blog and two websites by himself;
    * written dozens of rather good raps, parodies, short stories and poems;
    * modified elements of the Sims 2 game and uploaded them to forums for others to use;
    * taught himself to play the piano initially, and once he had lessons began composing his own tunes
    etc.

He goes to a good, very small local primary school, where the teachers appear to see that he is getting on ok and so tend to ignore him. He can be a bit shy initially, but once he settles in he is fairly confident and has interesting opinions and a flair for lateral thinking that his teachers seem to find unnerving. Fearing that he would experience the same problems at the local comprehensive we entered him for scholarship exams at two independent schools in the area.

Both schools said they would have the results of the exam and scholarships/bursaries within about 7 days.

After 7 days, the first school sent a letter saying they would be delighted to have him and that he had done well in the exam (but no actual scores). Owing to a range of unexpected circumstances we have a very low income at present so our son would need a bursary to take the place - and we had completed all the forms in advance. After three weeks we contacted them and were told the bursary/scholarship committee had been inundated by applications this year and had not made final decisions. Here we are at 7 weeks and still no word...

After 2 weeks there is no news from the other school.

The waiting and uncertainty are taking a toll on all of us - but I think it is especially unfair to leave a 10 yr old dangling in this way.

There were only 12 children at the first exam and 4 at the second - and these schools are not in London, so it is hard to know what can possibly take so long to decide.

He felt he did quite well on the tests, and from the practice papers we did in the weeks before I imagine his scores were ok.

I feel my confidence in the first school has been completely undermined. If they have so little awareness of the damage to self-esteem that leaving a 10 year old to wait for so long can do, how can I feel sure that they will be aware of his needs if he is at the school?

Has anyone had a similar experience and any advice to give? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
Hi HCO

I agree it must be very frustrating not to have heard and very unusual as most of the schools start offering busaries and scholarships very quickly after the exams to get the children they want.
I wonder if they are having discussions about policy re bursaries at the moment, some schools may be trying to spread the money amongst a great many children who need some help including children who are already at the school and whose parents are now needing financial help to keep them there. The effect of this though is that a large proprtion of these children will still not be able to stay / start at the school as the awards are not likely to be very much (some mention10-30%) Other school may decide to only give a few more generous awards to ensure that certain children get places - however it means then that many will not get anything.
I think if they are having policy discussions at this stage then they have left it a bit late....

Problem I think you may have is even if they come back with a sum of money it may not be as much as you were hoping for.

If you felt able to say which schools you are looking at then it may be that someone on here has a bit more specific info (ie whether they or someone they know has heard / is still waiting etc)

God Luck
Herman


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:24 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:53 pm
Posts: 101
Hi HCO

I agree with Hermanmunster and the problem that you are describing does not have anything to do with the ability of your clever ds and is most likely because the school are unable to award your son a bursary or can only grant a small sum to you.

Now that the situation has become stressful for your son the time has come for you to make an appointment with the bursar.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:45 am 
My DS sat a scholarship exam a couple of years ago and one of his friends did too. Within a day my friend got a call offering her child a 20% scholarship. We didn't hear for 2 weeks. When we did hear the head said that he had achieved the highest marks ever in the scholarship papers and offered us 20%. I was left feeling quite confused as it stated that there was a top scholarship of 50% on offer (so why didn't he offer that?) and why did it take so long to get back to us if DS had got the highest marks ever? :?

What I'm trying to say is that independent schools do exactly what they want and even an individual can have a different experience from another at the same school. Seven weeks does seem ridiculously long though and I would call them and say you have an offer elsewhere but really prefer their school and wonder if they are any closer to a decision. Obviously you don't have to accept it, and it may not be true, but at least you will know the outcome.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:55 am
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Hi HCO,

I think I know how you feel because I feel the same. We are still to hear of our bursary result and the final decision seems to be postponed from week to week. (Counting the hours and stalking the postman has become a routine for the past 2 months :oops: )

Tipsy, your advice sounds great for someone who could do that, but I don't feel I could do it, if I don't really have another offer in hand. That is the disadvantage of applying to only one school.

The waiting is taking its tall on us too, sometimes I feel that all this wait cannot be good news, but as a friend said: no news is good news.

HCO, hang in there, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you too!

Best,

Pencilone


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:42 pm
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We are waiting for bursary news too. Scholarship was awarded weeks ago but we can't make our decision unless we know we are going to receive some financial help. I know that the school was inundated so understand why they are taking their time, but yes I too wait for the postman with anticipation. I feel badly for my child who really wants to know the secondary school they are going to as all their friends do, but as has been said before, no news is good news. Hang on in there!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:20 pm
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I think a school can't decide on bursaries until it knows how much money it has got - ie how many full fee-payers are accepting places, which is usually not until shortly after National Allocations Day. Certainly I know that my DD's school governors Finance Committee is meeting later this week, and I bet bursaries will be an item on the agenda.

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Loopy


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:28 am 
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Loopyloulou wrote:
I think a school can't decide on bursaries until it knows how much money it has got - ie how many full fee-payers are accepting places, which is usually not until shortly after National Allocations Day. Certainly I know that my DD's school governors Finance Committee is meeting later this week, and I bet bursaries will be an item on the agenda.


Hi - reckon you are right - though this is obviously a serious sign of the times!! The school shouldn't be relying on full fee payers to subsidise the bursaries, the bursary money should be coming from endowment / investments. I suspect the income from endowments and investments has plummeted in the last year - they may even be struggling to fund the previously promised bursaries for kids already at the school.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:36 am 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Do you have "an offer" from the local comprehensive or have you not even applied through the LEA? If you have a place for him somewhere in Yr 7 even if you don't intend to take it there would be no dissembling in phoning the school you prefer and telling them you need to make a decision soon - they don't need to know which school is your alternative


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:43 am 
The school may also be inundated with requests from current parents who were paying full fees but have now landed on hard times.


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