Poorest families fear children will not ‘fit in’ to private schools, incoming Girls’ School Association president says

The Telegraph reports that the poorest families are not applying for private school bursaries because they fear their children will not fit in, the incoming president of the Girls’ School Association (GSA) has said.

A concern among the most disadvantaged families is that their children would be “out of their depth” and feel “uncomfortable” at a private school so are put off applying for a bursary, according to Gwen Byrom.

She said that merely making more bursaries available is not enough, and schools must do more to understand why the poorest families are not putting their children forward for the fee-assistance.

Mrs Byrom, who is also head of Loughborough High School, a fee-paying girls’ school in the East Midlands, said that while all the private school bursaries are being filled, more must be done to ensure they are reaching the most disadvantaged children in society. 

The school leader, who is doing a doctoral qualification based on bursaries and why families do not apply for them, said that research had indicated that parents’ choice of school was sometimes reliant on familiarity.

“Choice for school is sometimes reliant on knowing that there are people like you at the school. So families will go to something that, effectively, is within their comfort zone,” she said.

 “But it is very hard to take a leap into the unknown – particularly if it’s a situation where you feel you are going to feel out of your depth. 

Read more Poorest families fear children will not ‘fit in’ to private schools, incoming Girls’ School Association president says

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Top principals boost students' outcomes, research finds
Alice in Dataland – an original story for Education Guardian by Michael Rosen
Categories: Parenting, Primary, Private Schools and Secondary.


  1. Anonymous

    In my limited experience (and it is limited) I would suggest one avenue for the private schools explore is the extent to which the ‘poor kids’ are allowed to fit in by the much more privileged children in the school/

Let us know what you think...