Nurturing talent  

September 1, 2018

Independent schools may be deemed out-of-reach for many families but as Kieren McLaughlin, headmaster of Durham School, explains, there is financial support to help promising students to reach their full potential

Choosing the right school for your son or daughter is one of the most difficult decisions parents can make. For parents who look at the independent sector, the commitment of school fees can often feel intimidating and off-putting. What is less well-known, perhaps, is how much fee assistance is available for parents to make a first-rate education affordable.

At Durham School, we have two main ways in which we can provide financial support for parents: scholarships and bursaries. In common with many independent schools, we use means-testing much more frequently now when assessing the level of support we are able to give; this enables us to target our funding much more effectively and help families that need the assistance to access a Durham School education.

Scholarships are available at Durham Scool in a variety of areas: academic scholarships are available at 11+, 13+ and 16+ level. These are awarded based on performance in specific tests and in an interview with senior members of staff at the school. What we are really trying to assess in the process is not necessarily previous success, but the potential to thrive in our environment.

At Durham School, we are very proud of the value that we add to each pupil; we know that through the combination of small class sizes, close monitoring of progress and, most importantly, excellent teaching, pupils go on to achieve very highly at our school. We are looking therefore for a willingness to learn, an ability to think analytically and a ‘can-do’ attitude. Those criteria are the best for assessing future academic success.

Scholarships are also available in other areas of school life, too: namely, music, drama, sport, art and design. Awarding for these scholarships is done through a combination of pupil portfolio or reference and assessments over a number of days. We are looking clearly for natural talent but also the ability to develop and flourish in our scholarship programmes.

We promise to improve the ability of the pupil in their chosen area, and our track record of professional sports contracts, drama school entry and university scholarships is enviable.

From a financial point of view, all of our scholarships carry an initial flat £1000 fee remission. However, this award may be augmented up to 100 per cent of the school fee on a means-tested basis. Most pupils at Durham School in receipt of a scholarship will have some additional funding provided to enable parents to send their son or daughter to the school.

The second way in which financial assistance is provided is through means-tested bursaries. Durham School is a registered charity and takes that charitable responsibility seriously.

Through a mix of fundraising and other revenue streams, we provide funds to enable pupils who aren’t able to afford the fees to come to the school. We particularly look to do this for pupils who would benefit from both a day and a boarding education. We accept direct applications for bursary support, but also work with partner organisations to widen the net as far as we can.

Durham School can provide a life-changing experience for your son or daughter. If you are interested in learning more about our scholarship or bursary programme, please get in touch by emailing or by telephone 0191 7319270 or why not come to our next Open Morning on Saturday October 6, 2018.

Durham School

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