North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2020 North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2021 North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2021

Bursaries and fee assistance

Means-tested bursaries

We offer means-tested bursaries to new pupils who join us into Year 7 or Year 12. Successful applicants must meet both our academic criteria and our financial criteria, to ensure that a wide-range of pupils have the opportunity to attend the school.

Over 90 pupils receive assistance towards their fees ranging from 10-100% with over 40% receiving a full bursary. Bursaries are awarded on a sliding scale of household income and the maximum household income to qualify is £70,000 pa. Most families who apply for a bursary receive free school meals. To enable us to offer support to as many families as possible we are keen to receive applications from families who are seeking a partial bursary.

The table below gives an overview of the bursary bands:

Bursary bands for September 2024 entry
Gross household income Potential bursary award
0-£25k 100%
£25-31k 95-85%
£31-£41k 85-60%
£41-£51k 60-35%
£51-£70k 35-10%

Bursaries are offered following a rigorous means-testing process which includes a financial assessment from an independent financial assessor as well as a review of the applicant’s academic performance throughout our entrance assessments. Whilst our bursary funds are growing steadily, our bursaries are extremely competitive and we typically receive ten applications for every Year 7 bursary and three applications for every Year 12 bursary.

Applying for a bursary in September 2024

The deadline to apply for a Year 7 bursary in September 2024 has now passed. If you would like to apply for a Year 12 bursary please read our bursary policy below and then, if after reading this policy you feel you meet the criteria, please complete the below bursary application form:

Bursary FAQS

At which entry points do you offer fees assistance?
We offer bursaries to new pupils who join us into Years 7 and 12.
What fees assistance do you provide?
We offer a small number of means-tested bursaries.
Do you offer any scholarships?
We offer a small number of music scholarships to pupils who join us into Year 7. These scholarships either offer a 20% fee reduction or free instrumental lessons, depending on the candidate’s musical ability. We do not offer any other form of scholarships.
Who is eligible for a bursary?
Families whose income and savings are below £70k can apply for a bursary, and whose child is academically talented. As a guide, candidates looking for a Year 7 bursary should be on track to exceed expectations in maths, English reading and English grammar, punctuation and spelling at the end of Key Stage 2. Year 12 bursary candidates should be predicted mainly grade 7 and above at GCSE.
How do you decide the bursary value?
All families submit a detailed bursary application form and prior to making an offer they are visited by an independent financial assessor who determines the level of financial support that is required. Bursaries are offered on a sliding scale from 5-100% according to a family’s ability to pay. Please note we offer very few 100% bursaries.
Who funds your bursary programme?
We rely solely on donations for our bursaries and these are generously funded by our alumni, parents, staff, trusts, foundation and the school. We currently spend over £1m per annum on our bursary programme which supports over 120 pupils.
Am I likely to be offered a bursary?
We typically receive 10 applications for every bursary place, so it is a very competitive process. We advise all families to apply to other schools as the chances of being awarded a bursary are very small.
Will I receive a bursary for more than one child?
It is rare that we would award more than one bursary to a family as we want as many families as possible to benefit from our bursary programme.
How long does the bursary last?
Subject to a pupil achieving our academic, attendance and behavioural expectations the bursary will last for the duration of their studies. However, if at any point they do not meet our expectations we reserve the right to remove the bursary.
Will the bursary value stay the same every year?
Not necessarily, all bursaries are reviewed annually to ensure they are helping those who most need support.
Do you provide help with other school costs?
No, our bursaries cover only the school fees so families are responsible for all other costs, eg. uniform, lunches and transport.
Will I have to pay the bursary back?
No but as per all of our students we expect high standards of behaviour, attendance and academic performance.

Will we be offered a full fee place if our bursary application is unsuccessful?
No, if you have applied for a bursary you have indicated that you need financial support for your child to attend the school, therefore it would be inappropriate to offer a full fee place.

Can we apply for a bursary if we already have a child at GSAL?
Yes, if your child attending the school receives a bursary, however, the chances of a family being offered more than one bursary is low as we want as many families as possible to benefit from the bursary scheme. If you are currently paying full fees for a child at the school, you are not eligible to apply for a bursary. The bursary scheme is aimed at families who can’t afford for any of their children to attend without financial support.

What do you expect from bursary students?
As with all of our students we expect excellent behaviour and attendance, to achieve their potential and to make a positive contribution to the school. We also want our students to act as ambassadors for the bursary scheme by assisting at relevant events, writing to donors and supporting different aspects of our fundraising programme.

How do you decide who is offered a bursary?
As we receive approximately 100 applications for Year 7 bursaries each year, all Year 7 bursary candidates sit a shortlisting exam in October half term. We use the Common Pre-Test which is an online adaptive test which includes: English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. We then select the top 20 performing candidates from the Common Pre-Test and invite these candidates to the Entrance Exam which takes place on the third Friday of January the year before entry. All candidates sit papers in maths and English (creative writing and comprehension). In early February following the Entrance Exam candidates are invited into school for an interview. We collate the results from the Common Pre-Test and Entrance Exam, and together with the child’s primary school report, and interview feedback to decide which ten candidates will have a home visit in order to fully assess their financial situation. Following the home visits each of the family’s meet with the Principal and the Vice Principal and Head of Senior School. Bursary offers are issued following these meetings. Sixth form bursaries are based on predicted GCSE grades (we expect bursary candidates to achieve grade 7 and above in the majority of their subjects), personal statement, school report and interview feedback.

Meet some of our bursary parents

This film was made by the Independent Schools Council (ISC).

Further information

This is a recording of the virtual bursary information presentation evening.

Music Scholarships

We have a proud music tradition here at GSAL and music is an essential part of school life. We offer a small number of music scholarships to new pupils joining the school into Year 7 and, depending on the scholar’s musical ability, the scholarship is worth either a 20% reduction on school fees or covers the cost of instrumental lessons.

Music scholarship applications involve an audition and as competition is high we expect applicants to be approaching or at Grades 4 or 5, preferably on an orchestral instrument however this is not essential. Music scholarships are offered to applicants who have satisfied our entrance  requirements, both in the academic examination and at interview.

In order to apply for a music scholarship, please indicate your interest when you apply to the school on our online application form.

We do not offer academic or sports scholarships.

Or, if you prefer to chat to someone please call our admissions team. For Senior School call 0113 228 5121 and for Primary School call 0113 228 5113.