Since its foundation as a charity in 1838 Walthamstow Hall has maintained a strong ethos of making a Walthamstow Hall education accessible to girls with potential whatever their circumstances.
The Senior School offers means-tested bursaries to enable girls from families facing financial limitations to benefit from a Walthamstow Hall education. Bursary applications are examined on a case-by-case basis and offered on a sliding scale dependent on the value of a family’s income and assets, Founders’ bursaries, offering virtually 100% of tuition fees are available for families in the greatest need. Parents whose daughters are in receipt of a Founder’s bursary are asked to pay a nominal fee of £50 per term.
Requests for financial support, in the form of a means-tested bursary usually fall into two categories:
- New applicants to the School where a place has been offered but parents/guardians are unable to fund the tuition fees
- Existing pupils where a change in parents’/guardians’ circumstances has resulted in difficulty in meeting tuition fees and may result in the child being withdrawn partway through a stage of education.
Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis and awarded on a sliding scale up to a value of 100%. The level of award will be determined by the family’s gross income, the value of their property, including any overseas’ property, and other assets and their outgoings.
The Bursary Application Process
Bursaries may be made available to parents/guardians of children entering any year group. They are awarded at the discretion of the Governors and the Bursar is responsible for the management and coordination of the process. The Bursary application process and awarding of bursaries remains strictly confidential at all times.
Families wishing to be considered for a bursary can do so when applying to the School on the relevant section of the Application for Admission of a Pupil form. The enquiry will be forwarded to the Bursar who will contact the family to make an initial assessment of their application. Families should be aware that the assessment is quite intrusive and likely to include a home visit by either the Bursar or his representative.
Parents/guardians seeking a bursary are required to complete an application form which seeks to establish the financial circumstances of the households. The form, which requests details of income and capital and must be accompanied by full documentary evidence. The form and evidence must be submitted to the Bursar no later than the date of the entrance exam in any year for any bursaries to start the following September.
The Bursar assesses all applications in order to establish the likely level of support which will be required in order to allow the child to attend the School. This may involve the Bursar, or his representatives visiting the parents’/guardians’ home to ensure the information has been correctly interpreted and the basis of the financial assessment has been fair.
The Bursar prepares a recommendation.
By the end of the Autumn term preceding entry the parents/guardians will be advised whether their child is to be offered a bursary.
Parents/guardians are then required to sign a letter accepting the place at the School and an acknowledgement agreeing to any conditions relating to the bursary.
The Case for Assistance
The Headmistress and Bursar will consider a number of factors when making the judgement as to the justification for support and the extent of such support. In the main, the child’s suitability for the School is the first consideration in granting support.
In assessing a child’s suitability, attention will be given to the academic assessment result of each applicant but potential will also be considered as well as actual achievement. Bursary funds are limited and those judged most suitable will be given priority as those likely to gain most from the educational provision. Each pupil to whom support is offered must, in the opinion of the Headmistress, be likely to make sounds academic progress following admission and possess the potential to develop the quality of his or her work and benefit from participation in the wider, extra-curricular activities on offer at the School. Bursary applicants must satisfy the School’s minimum entry criteria, passing the Walthamstow Hall entrance exam and interview and receiving a good Head’s report from their existing school.
The amount of bursary award is not influenced by the level of academic ability of the child but by the extent of need. Each case is assessed on its own merits and awards are made accordingly subject to the School’s ability to fund these within the context of what is viable within the context of its overall budget. It is recognised that judgements about what sacrifices a family should make to pay school fees will be personal. However, the School has a duty to ensure that all bursary grants are well focused and so, as well as current earnings, other factors which will be considered in determining the necessary level of grant will include:
- The ability to improve the financial position or earning power of the family. For example, where there are two partners, both would be expected to be employed unless one is prevented from doing so through incapacity, the need to care for children under school age or other dependents or the requirements of their partner’s work.
- Opportunities to release any capital. Significant capital savings and investments would be expected to be used for the payment of school fees as would equity values in houses.
- In cases of separation, the contribution made by the absent parent.
- Contribution to household costs by other, wider, family members, any adults unrelated to the child or by outside sources.
- Where fees are being paid to other schools(or universities) the School’s grant will take into account all of these outgoings.
- Acknowledging that others might have a different view, the School considers that the following would not be consistent with the receipt of a bursary:
- Frequent or expensive holidays
- New or luxury cars
- Investment in significant home improvements
- Owning expensive animals such as ponies
- A second property/land holdings
- Other factors – it is recognised that, in addition to academic ability and financial constraints, there may be other circumstances which should be considered. These include:
- Where a child has siblings at the School.
- Where the social needs of the child are relevant (e.g. may be suffering from bullying at their present school).
- Where a parents/guardian is terminally ill or is unable to secure permanent employment due to poor health.
- Where a separation has resulted in the child having to be withdrawn from the School adding to the stress of coping with parents/guardians separating.
Existing Pupils – Change in Family Circumstances
Within overall budget funding, the School will in normal circumstances set aside each year a hardship fund, for cases of sudden, unforeseen need or where applications meriting bursary assistance are received out of the normal calendar cycle for bursary submission, scrutiny and award. This sum will be set within budgetary constraints. Parents/guardians with a child at the School whose financial circumstances suddenly change may apply for a bursary to the Bursar, explaining their situation. Such awards are subject to the availability of funding and cannot be guaranteed.
Annual Bursary Review
All bursary awards are subject to repeat testing of parental means each year and may be varied upwards or downwards depending on parental circumstances. Current bursary holders will be issued with repeat means-testing forms at the beginning of August each year for return by the end of the month. For those previously in receipt of bursaries, the Bursar, in conjunction with the Headmistress, has the discretion to recommend to the Governors the reduction or withdrawal of an award not only where a pupil’s progress, attitude or behaviour has been unsatisfactory but also where the parents/guardians have failed to support the School, for example by the late payment of any contribution they are making to the fees.
Bursaries are awarded by the Governors and the names of girls in receipt of them remain confidential. The School respects the confidentiality of bursary awards made to families and recipients are expected to do likewise.
Walthamstow Hall was founded as a home and school for the daughters of missionaries. Missionary daughters are educated free of charge where their parents are working in a foreign mission field.
Senior School bursaries may be combined with scholarships and award offered to students who show exceptional promise academically or in art, drama, music or sport.