Scholarship Success – How to Get A Private Scholarship For Your Child

Whitney Houston believed that the children are our future. That line from the 1986 smash hit Greatest Love of All is as true today as it was then.

As parents, we only want the best for our kids. We are prepared to make sacrifices to give them the best start in life. But sometimes even sacrifices are not enough.

And that’s where private school scholarships come in. An important point to remember here is that good schools want and need able children. Excellence on the sports field, good academic results and success in music or the arts do their reputations no harm at all. Success breeds success, as they say.

Because of that, most private schools are prepared to offer some kind of financial help to parents of gifted youngsters who are unable to afford full fees.

In fact, some scholarships are awarded to exceptional talented or intelligent youngsters without any means testing being carried out. It could be that they are particularly gifted in a certain area such as sport or the arts or music or academic subjects. If this sounds like you, and you are wanting to learn how to get a private scholarship, keep reading to discover for yourself. 

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Can private schools offer full scholarships?

As mentioned above, scholarships for private schools are an increasingly popular way for parents to help their children and ensure they can be accepted into their private school of choice. Available to be offered to students who otherwise would not have the means available to receive such a level of education, there are numerous scholarships available from private schools.

If you are a parent making the decision to send their child to a private school, before applying for a scholarship, first we recommend looking at the different scholarships available to find one best suited for your child. 

With different scholarships and bursaries, many scholarships are mean tested and typically cover 50% of the admission costs. Some private schools do offer full scholarships, but these varey school to school and the schools admission counselors can help.

Do private schools get state funding? 

Although a private or independent school are funded by the tuition fees of students, private schools do also receive funding from the government. Due to this independence from the government, private schools are not obliged to follow the national curriculum. 

Free to teach their children to their own curriculum, private schools must be registered with the government and be inspected regularly. Half of UK private schools are inspected by Ofsted and their reports need to be available online by the inspecting organisation. 

How to get a scholarship for private school UK?

When it comes to how to get a private scholarship, a realistic mindset on your child’s education and their ability to thrive in a private school is required. How talented are they? Are they at the top of their class in their secondary school or are they sitting middle of the class? By asking these tough but honest questions, you can ensure that you can find and apply for the most appropriate scholarship for your child. 

Along with the education understanding of your child, your financial position needs to be taken into account. If you are financially able to send your child to a private school, receiving a scholarship or bursary is unrealistic. 

Here are a few tips to improve your chances of receiving a scholarship for a private school:

Apply on time, don’t leave applying for a scholarship to the last moment. Be honest, by answering all the questions honestly you avoid from being caught out or disappointed in the future. Try to not pressurise your child. We all want our children to do well, but by reliving this pressure you can remove any unnecessary pressure from their exams or interviews that they have to take. 

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How are scholarships awarded? 

When it comes to how scholarships are awarded, as mentioned previously scholarships are often tested. Along with reviewing the financial position of parents and the education level of their children, students might be expected to complete a test or an interview to discover if they are an ideal candidate. 

For many children to receive an academic scholarship they are required to complete an entrance exam. An entrance exam works with those with the highest marks receiving the awards. If you are putting your child forward for a scholarship on a particular subject may have to prove their talents within that particular subject. While pupils applying for a bursary will require their parents proving their requirement for financial aid. This can take the form of evidence of income, details of assets and spending habits. 

On a small number of occasions both bursaries and scholarships can be awarded by the UK Government and independent organisations

Are scholarships easy to get?

If you are looking at how to get a private scholarship and wondering how easy it is to obtain a scholarship, then the simple answer is ‘no’. Children have to sit an examination and go through an interview process before being accepted. Be aware that the competition is fierce. But worth it.

Although difficult to obtain, if you are unsuccessful in obtaining a scholarship when your child is in their early teens, try again a few years later when sixth form scholarships are less in demand.  A bit of determination can go a long way when it comes to scoring a bursary or scholarship.

How long is the scholarship process?

LVS Ascot – a co-educational day and boarding school in Berkshire, originally called the Licensed Victuallers’ School – requests that applications are received a year before children are due to enter Year 7. It then holds examinations soon after.

Applications for sixth form scholarships and awards must be received by the November of Year 5.

How do scholarships benefit students?

Apart from the obvious financial benefit, the kudos of being awarded a private school or boarding school scholarship boosts any child’s confidence. It sits well on his or her CV and proves that an exceptional talent had been recognised and rewarded.

Along with how attending a private school looks on their records, the skills that they can develop are invaluable. From the higher quality of education accessible, the resources at hand, there are many benefits to students who attend a private school

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Where do I find private school scholarships and is there a website that tells you which schools offer scholarships?

If you have a preferred school, go directly to their website. Otherwise, try the Independent Schools Council, which represents more than 1,200 independent schools in the UK and overseas. Visit their website at www.isc.co.uk/schools/ and click on the link against any school name.

There are other websites that you can visit for scholarships and bursaries for your child:

The Good Schools Guide’s Scholarships and Bursaries Service which charges a fee of £200 to £300 can create a personalised service to your child’s need and help you along the process. 

For students who wish to attend a music or dance school, the Government have a fantastic list of schools that participate in the Music and Dance Scheme

For children from the armed forces, the The Service Parents’ Guide to Boarding Schools lists the available schools with bursaries and discounts available. 

These are just a handful of sites, there are many more available to help and advise the best schools and scholarships for your child


When it comes to how to get a private scholarship for a private school, it can often feel like a minefield that you having to negotiate through. By taking the time to review all the options and conduct much needed research, you can prepare yourself for the application process that follows.

Whether you choose to enlist the help of services available at the Good Schools Guide’s Scholarships and Bursaries Service, or go at it alone, research is key to prepare you for this experience.

By being honest and realistic throughout the application process, you can help your child as they apply to take their education to a new level. If, after all this research and application you are unfortunate, determination and hope is required. If you are unsuccessful, try again, applying for scholarships and bursaries takes tough skin and determination.

Our biggest piece of advice above all is to listen to your child, the student. What is it that they want? Do they want to leave their friends and attend a new school, or will they thrive best in their current school? 

Have you gone through the process of finding and applying for private school scholarships? We would love to hear from you and hear your first hand experience. Comment below and share your experience with us and other readers today, as well as any tips that you might have to those parents looking to take this plunge for themselves. 

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