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Bursaries and Scholarships

What are school bursaries and scholarships?


Many ISC schools have fundraising programmes so that they can offer more help to hard working families who may not otherwise be able to afford the fees.

ISC schools increased the value of means tested bursaries by 4.8% in 2017 valued at £362 million.

There are 43,000 pupils receiving means-tested assistance, with 43.7% of these pupils having more than half their fees remitted. There are 5,657 pupils at ISC schools who pay no fees at all.

Bursaries are means-assessed on a financial basis and will require a parent or guardian to complete a declaration to establish whether the student meets the necessary criteria. This is usually re-assessed each year that the bursary is required.

A third of pupils at ISC schools are on reduced fees and about 6000 pupils pay no fees at all. Most of these are on means-tested bursaries – sometimes called assisted places. The school looks at what it is reasonable for you to afford and sets a fee accordingly. Some schools have just a few of these assisted places, others have a large number. At Christ’s Hospital school in Sussex, a boarding school, most of the pupils are on greatly reduced fees or pay nothing at all (2018 ISC annual census).

The details of these will always be found on the schools’ websites. If anything is not clear, ring the school’s admissions office.

Some schools require you to apply for a place a long time in advance, others don’t. Again, you need to check the details on school websites.

Schools have different age points of entry such as age 5, 7, 11, 13, and 16. The numbers of bursaries and scholarships on offer vary according to age of entry but tend to be more numerous for older pupils.

For families with low incomes a school will normally have a fund which contributes to the costs of extras such as uniform, books and school trips.

There are 43,400 pupils on means tested assistance at ISC schools.


Scholarships are also available for pupils who are particularly strong either academically, or in music, sport or art. Both scholarships and bursaries can be awarded to children at the same time.

Parents or guardians should contact the admissions department of the individual schools you are interested in directly, as schools will have their own fee assistance programmes. To find schools with financial assistance options please use our School Search. Information about bursaries will be on the Bursaries and Scholarships page, often in the Admissions section of a schools’ website.

Scholarships are also available for pupils who are particularly talented.