We are able to offer free and subsidised places to help those families who cannot afford to pay full fees at Abingdon. We do this by offering financial help with fees known as a ‘bursary’.

A bursary is distinct from a scholarship in that it is given to recognise financial need whereas scholarships are given to recognise outstanding achievement regardless of financial need.

Bursaries are awarded to pupils who are likely to gain most from an Abingdon education and who will contribute fully to the life of the School.  All candidates must meet the high academic entrance criteria. Bursaries are awarded to the highest performing candidates and the level of need is determined on a case by case basis. Currently, approximately 7% of the school roll receive financial help.

Abingdon does not have a large endowment and therefore the Governors are mindful, when bursaries are provided, that there remains an overall fair balance between those benefiting from bursaries and full fee-paying parents, many of whom are also making significant personal sacrifices to fund their children’s education.

The questions and answers below are intended to address the most common queries about bursaries. If you would like to know more please contact Mrs Clare Butcher by email: [email protected]. If you have queries about the admissions process please contact the Admissions Office by email: [email protected]

What is a bursary?

A bursary is a reduction in the cost of fees charged by the School. The reduction is not available for boarding fees. A bursary reduces the amount the pupil’s parents, legal guardians or fee payers (‘Parents’) pay for the pupil’s education at Abingdon.

What is covered by a bursary?

A bursary can cover up to 100% of day fees. Day fees cover the teaching costs of an education at Abingdon, lunch and the majority of books and materials. Additional charges are made for examinations, travel on the joint bus service, curriculum trips, certain clubs, revision guides, insurances, specialist support and lessons, and various other items. Pupils in receipt of 100% bursary support will be considered for an exemption for some of these charges. Further details can be obtained from [email protected].

Where parents are offered a bursary in excess of 50%, they are entitled to a pro-rata reduction of the deposit (payable on acceptance of a place) in line with the percentage of the bursary awarded and subject to a minimum of £250. There may also be support available to assist with the cost of mandatory curriculum-related trips.

Boarding fees, the registration fee and the cost of additional charges (described above) are not eligible for bursary support (with the exception of mandatory curriculum-related trips for those offered a bursary in excess of 50%).

In which year groups are bursaries available?

Bursaries are available to all pupils at Abingdon School. Pupils in Years 7 and 8 at Abingdon Prep School who have accepted a place at Abingdon School are also eligible.

Who decides on the level of bursary awards given?

A bursary panel meets termly to review and discuss all applications for support. The members of the panel are the Head, the Director of Finance and Operations, the Financial Controller, the Director of Admissions and a governor.

How is the level of bursary award decided by the bursary panel?

Bursary awards are made following a financial evaluation based on a combination of family income and the value of assets and liabilities. A range of other criteria will also be reviewed including ownership of second properties, number of dependents, additional income potential for those parents not in full time employment, lifestyle and holidays, the potential for additional support from family members, pension contributions, and the ability to release capital where assets and property exist.

The School does not disclose specific financial thresholds or detailed criteria used in the financial evaluation. For families where the gross household income exceeds £100,000 it is suggested that you arrange a brief telephone call with the financial controller (email [email protected]) to assess whether an application for support is recommended or not.

What is the process for applicants?

Parents who are seeking bursarial support for a pupil need to complete a ‘Bursary Application Form’. This form requires details of income and expenditure, and of assets and liabilities. Parents of pupils already attending Abingdon should contact the Financial Controller for the form, whilst parents of children who have registered to join the School should contact the Admissions team or tick the appropriate box on their registration form.

Applicants will then usually have a Zoom meeting to discuss their application form in more detail and review supporting documents. The School uses an external company, Bursary Assessment Associates (BAA), to conduct these remote assessments and applicants will be contacted by BAA to arrange a suitable time. This isn’t a test but is designed to produce a fair assessment.

The next step is for the bursary panel to meet, usually once a term, and make a decision which will be communicated as soon as practical. For prospective parents this will usually be at the same time as feedback is given on the offer, or not, of a place at Abingdon.

Reasons for decisions and any BAA reports are not disclosed.

The Financial Controller, Mrs Clare Butcher, can be contacted by telephone, +44 (0)1235 849028, or email, [email protected].

Is there a deadline for bursary applications?

When you register and when you confirm that you want to take the entrance examination, you will also be asked if you are interested in a bursary. The final deadlines for submission of completed bursary applications in the academic year 2024/25 are as follows:

First Year (Yr 7) September 2025:
(entrance exams Saturday 11 January 2025)
11 November 2024 – 9am
Sixth Form September 2025:
(entrance exams 9 – 17 November 2024 and Saturday 1 February 2025)
November test dates: 30 September 2024 – 9am
February test date: 11 November 2024 – 9am
Third Year (Yr 9) September 2026:
(entrance exams Saturday 19 October 2024)
30 September 2024 – 9am
Annual review of existing bursaries: 31 October 2024 – 9am

For applications for other year groups or questions regarding these deadlines please contact the Director of Admissions.

When can I apply/reapply after joining the School?

Parents should note that prior to a pupil’s admission, if a bursary application is not made, or one is made but is unsuccessful, then a further bursary application should not be made for that pupil within their first two years of time at Abingdon School. Applications during this period should only be made if there is a material change in family circumstances.

How often are bursary awards re-assessed?

Bursary awards are reviewed annually when, in the Michaelmas/Autumn Term, the School sends parents a request to update their financial information. Existing bursary holders can expect requests for remote assessments via Zoom from BAA from time to time.

The updated information is then reviewed by the bursary panel and awards can be either increased or decreased according to changes in circumstances.

Continuing bursary support is also subject to a pupil making good academic progress, demonstrating satisfactory behaviour, and contributing positively to school life.

In any event, the School seeks to ensure that bursaries support a pupil through all the critical educational hurdles such as the exam years.

Is my child's application to Abingdon negatively affected by asking for a bursary?

No, applying for a bursary does not affect your child’s application for a place at Abingdon.

Are there restrictions on parents living overseas?

Only UK families are eligible for bursaries. This is not always easy to define but generally a UK family is defined (consistent with our acceptance fee policy) as:

  • A UK national, resident in the UK; or
  • A non-UK national, resident in the UK with UK owned property with material equity value (not rental); or
  • A UK national working abroad on a defined short-term expat basis with significant UK assets

What must I do if my financial circumstances change?

If you are already in receipt of a bursary then you must advise the School of any important changes in your financial circumstances as soon as possible.

What happens to bursaries in cases of death, divorce or separation?

The School will deal with these difficult situations on a case by case basis and parents are invited to contact the school directly and as soon as possible.

Will the same bursary be applied to more than one child from the same family?

In deciding on the level of bursary support that the parents may require and that the School can afford, it is expected that the same level of support will be offered to each child from that family, providing they meet the required entry standards, and having taken into account any revised financial circumstances.

Who will know I have been awarded a bursary?

All bursaries are handled confidentially. Those responsible for assessing and administering bursaries will be fully informed about your bursary but the School does not tell your child. It is up to each family whether they would like to share information about the bursary.