Private schools should ‘phase out’ merit based scholarships in favour of bursaries, a leading headmistress says

The Telegraph is reporting that private schools should stop trying to compete for the best students by luring them with scholarships and instead spend the money on bursaries, a leading headmistress has said.

Emma Hattersley, head at the £32,000-a-year Godolphin School in Salisbury, said that scholarships for exceptionally talented pupils should be “phased out” in favour of fee assistance for pupils from less-well off families.

Swapping merit-based scholarships for means-tested bursaries is something that all private schools should consider, Ms Hattersley said.

Her comments come amid mounting pressure on the country’s most prestigious private schools to step up their efforts to help less well-off pupils.

Ms Hattersley said that while she would “love to be able to phase out” merit-based scholarships completely, she is aware that it is a “competitive market” with schools are constantly trying to outdo one another to attract the brightest and most talented pupils. 

She said that scholarships could still exist to denote exceptional talent, but stripped of their financial reward. “Of course if their child is talented that’s brilliant, they should have all the benefits of being a scholar,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.

Ms Hattersley gave a presentation at the Independent Schools Show on Saturday about the affordability of private schools. She said that the cost of school fees is “worrying parents more than ever before”, adding: “All independent schools have noticed a greater fee sensitivity – it is worrying schools too.”   

Read more here Private schools should ‘phase out’ merit based scholarships in favour of bursaries, a leading headmistress says

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