Bursaries mean private schools ‘more diverse’ than grammars

Sally-Anne Huang, head of the £18,000-a-year James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS) in south London, said that pupils at fee-paying schools mix with peers from a range of backgrounds since there are so many pupils receiving bursaries. The Telegraph reports.

She said that 16 per cent of her girls are on bursaries, and the average bursary makes up 85 per cent of the cost of fees. But far from this putting parents off sending their daughters there, it is in fact sought after, she said. 

“My experience is that parents will come to JAGS – fee-paying parents who can easily afford our fees – will tell me that they’ve chosen us over other independent day schools in London because of that,” she said.

Parents do not want their children to grow up in a bubble and would rather they mix with pupils from a range of ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds because that better reflects modern British society, she said. 

Sue Hincks, head of the girls’ division of the £12,000-a-year Bolton School, said: “In a school like ours which offers one in five bursaries, of which the majority are going to children on free school meals, we know we have a very socially diverse population in front of us.

“Those children are selected on ability, but they also come to us because we are offering them a place, including a free school meal.”

She said that proportion of pupils at her school on bursaries compares “very favourably” with local grammar schools, “where many of the children are there because they are able but they are also in the catchment area”.

Private schools are under growing pressure on the country’s most prestigious private schools to step up their efforts to help less well-off pupils.

Read more Bursaries mean private schools ‘more diverse’ than grammars

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