Private School Scholarships and Bursaries Explained

Navigating the world of private education can often seem like a journey through a land of opportunity, privilege, and significant financial commitment. Private schools, known for their high standards of education, smaller class sizes, and extensive extracurricular offerings, stand as beacons of excellence. However, the financial aspect of securing such an education for one’s child can be daunting. In this blog post, we will delve into the cost of private education and explore the avenues of scholarships and bursaries that can make this prestigious form of education more accessible.

The Cost of Private Education: An Overview

The landscape of private education is one of excellence and exclusivity, but it comes with a price tag that has been on an upward trajectory. Recent data highlights a significant increase in fees, with a 5.1% rise observed in 2022, a jump from the 4% increase noted in the previous year. On average, the annual cost for a day pupil hovers around £20,480, translating to £6,827 per term, while boarding students face a steeper annual fee of £34,790, or £11,597 per term.

It’s important to note the regional disparities in fees, with some areas commanding higher prices than others. The factors driving these fee increases are multifaceted, encompassing rising inflation rates, and escalating energy and food costs, compelling schools to adjust their fee structures.

For families, this financial landscape means that even with an annual income of £100,000, the escalating costs of private schooling can pose a challenge. Beyond the tuition fees, there are additional expenses to consider. These ‘hidden’ costs include annual fee increments, typically around 5%, and the various expenses associated with a well-rounded education—school trips, uniforms, and necessary equipment for sports and arts, to name a few. A prudent approach would be to factor in an additional 10% per year to cover these ancillary costs.

Engaging in private education is, without doubt, one of the most substantial financial commitments a family can undertake, necessitating careful planning and consideration.

Demystifying Scholarships

Scholarships represent a beacon of hope for many, offering a pathway to private education based on merit. These financial awards are typically granted to students who exhibit exceptional talent or potential in various domains, including academics, sports, arts, and music. Scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden of tuition fees, making private education more attainable for talented students.

The process of applying for scholarships varies across schools but generally involves a rigorous selection process. This may include examinations, auditions, or the submission of portfolios, depending on the scholarship’s focus area. It’s crucial for prospective applicants to research and prepare thoroughly to enhance their chances of success.

Understanding Bursaries

Bursaries, on the other hand, are tailored to provide financial assistance based on need. These awards are designed to make private education accessible to students who may not have the financial means but possess the academic prowess or potential to thrive in such an environment. Bursaries are means-tested, requiring families to provide detailed financial information to determine their eligibility.

The level of support provided by bursaries can vary widely, covering a portion of the tuition fees or, in some cases, the full amount. Schools often have a dedicated budget for bursarial support, with the aim of fostering a diverse student body and providing opportunities to those who might otherwise be unable to afford the fees.

Securing Scholarships and Bursaries

The journey to securing scholarships and bursaries begins with thorough research and early preparation. Prospective students and their families should:

  • Start by identifying schools that align with the student’s strengths and interests, and which offer scholarship and bursary programs.
  • Understand the application timelines and requirements for each school, as these can vary significantly.
  • Prepare meticulously for any examinations, auditions, or portfolio submissions that form part of the application process.
  • For bursaries, ensure all financial documentation is accurate and up-to-date to reflect the family’s financial situation.

It’s also advisable to engage directly with schools’ admissions teams to gain insights into the application process and any specific criteria or expectations.

Scholarships and Bursaries at Cambridge School Online

Cambridge School Online recognises the financial challenges that can come with funding a child’s education. In response, we are committed to providing a range of scholarship and bursary opportunities tailored to meet the diverse needs of our student body.

Scholarships: Rewarding Exceptional Talent

At Cambridge School Online, we believe in recognising and nurturing exceptional talent. Our scholarships are awarded to students who stand out as truly remarkable in their academic and extracurricular pursuits. To be considered for a scholarship, students are required to reach out to the school, detailing why they believe they are deserving of this financial award. It is an opportunity for students to showcase their achievements, potential, and the unique contributions they can make to our vibrant school community.

Prospective scholars should note that the deadline for scholarship applications is set for the 30th of November each year, ahead of the intended entry year. This allows the school ample time to assess applications and make thoughtful decisions.

Bursaries: Supporting Access to Education

Understanding that financial constraints should not be a barrier to quality education, Cambridge School Online offers a means-tested bursary programme. This initiative is designed to assist children from lower-income families, making it possible for them to benefit from our outstanding educational offerings. Eligible families can receive up to 50% off the standard school fees, making education at our esteemed institution more accessible.

To qualify for a bursary, families must demonstrate that their annual household income falls below £55,000 and that they own a home valued at less than £300,000. Additionally, parents are required to show that they are capable of contributing towards the fees, either through savings, the ability to borrow funds, or a strong credit score that would support borrowing.

Ideal Candidates

The perfect candidates for our scholarships and bursaries are high-ability pupils who exhibit exceptional talent across various domains, including academics, arts, music, and sports. These students are distinguished by their passion for learning, a commitment to excellence in their coursework, and a willingness to engage fully in school life. Furthermore, successful applicants are expected to remain with Cambridge School Online for a minimum of three years, demonstrating a long-term commitment to their education and the school community.

In return for this financial support, students who benefit from our scholarships and bursaries programmes are encouraged to contribute to the school’s promotional and marketing efforts. This could involve sharing their positive experiences and achievements on the school’s website and across social media platforms, helping to inspire others and showcase the quality education provided by Cambridge School Online.

Academic Excellence and Support

Cambridge School Online prides itself on delivering an education that fosters academic excellence and independence. Our curriculum is thoughtfully designed to cater to each student’s unique learning needs, allowing them to progress at a pace that suits them best. Our impressive track record, with over 80% of our IGCSE homeschooling students achieving A* and A grades, speaks to the quality and effectiveness of our educational approach.

Moreover, all our students who have applied to universities have received offers from some of the world’s leading institutions, underscoring the value of an education from Cambridge School Online. Our dedicated team of tutors provides personalised feedback and support to each student, ensuring they have the resources and guidance needed to excel.

In conclusion, Cambridge School Online’s scholarship and bursary programmes embody our commitment to making high-quality education accessible to a broader range of students. Through these initiatives, we aim to support the development of talented individuals who will no doubt make significant contributions to their communities and beyond.


What are the average annual costs for day and boarding pupils in private schools?

The average annual fees for private day pupils are approximately £20,480, equating to £6,827 per term. Boarding pupils, on the other hand, can expect to pay around £34,790 per year, which breaks down to £11,597 per term. These figures reflect the latest data, which shows a noticeable increase in fees over recent years.

How do additional costs impact the overall expense of private education?

Beyond tuition fees, families should consider additional expenses that contribute to the full cost of private education. These include yearly fee increases, typically around 5%, and costs associated with a comprehensive education, such as school trips, uniforms, and necessary equipment for extracurricular activities. It’s recommended to allocate an extra 10% annually to cover these ‘hidden’ costs.

What is the process for applying for private school scholarships?

Applying for scholarships in private schools involves a detailed and often rigorous selection process, which can vary from one institution to another. This process may include academic examinations, auditions, or the submission of portfolios for areas such as art, music, or sports. Prospective applicants should conduct thorough research and prepare extensively to improve their chances of being awarded a scholarship.

How do bursaries assist families in affording private education?

Bursaries are financial aids designed to make private education more accessible to students from families with limited financial means. These are means-tested awards, requiring detailed financial disclosures from families to assess eligibility. Bursaries can cover a significant portion of tuition fees, thereby easing the financial burden on families.

What steps should families take to secure scholarships or bursaries for private education?

Families looking to secure scholarships or bursaries should begin by identifying suitable schools that offer such financial aid programs and align with the student’s strengths and interests. Understanding the application deadlines and specific requirements of each school is crucial. For bursaries, ensuring that all financial documentation is accurate and up-to-date is essential. Additionally, preparing for any required examinations, auditions, or portfolio submissions is a key part of the application process for scholarships.

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