Scholarships are an out-of-date nuisance, says top headmaster

The Times is reporting that a high profile private school head has criticised scholarships as ‘unhelpful baubles that heap pressure on those who win them’.

Tim Hands of Magdalen College School in Oxford, is reported as suggesting that scholarships can set of unhelpful expectations for those who win them and risk becoming “pupils with glorious futures behind them”. 

He also suggests it is helpful for children to sit different entrance exams in different schools and suggests schools might set up a common exam.

Writing in Attain magazine he said:

“It’s pretty clear that modern day scholarships have become a complicated form of nuisance. Each school wants to have its own exam and it therefore has it at a different time from every other… “We should acknowledge that many of these awards really function as baubles; gewgaws which entice.” 

“A scholarship given to the wrong person is a label many a scholar would rather have been without.” 

More at: Scholarships are an out-of-date nuisance, says top headmaster (subscription may be required)


I must confess that I get the impression (as I think Tim Hands is suggesting here) that scholarships are little more than cheap marketing ploys: a very modest discount to prey on parents who then think they must find the balance if their child is so special.

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