The Cost of Boarding School: Bursaries, Scholarship and Military Subsidies

Education is an investment, and boarding school is no exception. But when you consider what your child stands to get out of a boarding school education, it is a worthwhile investment.

At Downside, the value of community, support and the appreciation of talent goes into everything we do. As a result, we understand that many families often need a little extra help when accessing an extraordinary Downside education. This is why we have a range of military subsidies, concurrent sibling discounts, means-tested and completely confidential bursary options and, of course, a range of scholarships that are awarded at the main entry ages; 11+, 13+ and 16+.

This article outlines Downside’s main financial options for those looking for bursary information, scholarship options and the support we offer for military families.

Means-Tested Bursary

As a traditional boarding school, we are proud to be realistic. We appreciate that some families require a little extra help in accessing our education and wider school experience here in Somerset. This is why we are able to award several means-tested bursaries to pupils who are joining Downside at any age. These bursary options are also available to families already in attendance at the school, but whose financial circumstances change unexpectedly.

It is worth noting that all bursary applications are handled with the highest level of confidentiality. No information is disclosed to parties that do not need to be involved. Bursary application forms are held by the Registrar and can be obtained by getting in contact. The annual deadline for these applications is the end of December prior to the year of admission, i.e. the following September.

Scholarship Options

From the start, Downside School’s vision has always been to be a leading Catholic School that is seen as a bright light in the world of education, a light to guide the lives of young people and to inspire service in the world through the experience of a rich Benedictine culture.

This vision has allowed Downside to become a patron of knowledge, the arts, sport, creativity. This focus culminates with the wide variety of scholarship awards that we make available every year. These awards not only carry with them a financial reward but also bestow an enormous amount of prestige and sense of achievement on the scholar selected.

Annually, Downside School awards the following scholarships:

Academic Scholarships and Exhibitions 11+ / 13+ / 16+
All-Rounder Scholarship 13+
Art Scholarships and Exhibitions 13+ / 16+
Choral Exhibitions 11+ / 13+ / 16+
Music Scholarships and Exhibitions 11+ / 13+ / 16+
Product Design Award 13+ / 16+
Sports Scholarships and Exhibitions 11+ / 13+ / 16+

To find out more specifics related to the above awards and how to apply please click here.

Military Subsidies

For those families where parents are involved in the military and regularly posted abroad, boarding school is often the only option. Being a traditional full boarding school with 85% of our pupils boarding, Downside boasts many benefits. For starters, as we do not offer flexi or weekly boarding, your child will never be the only one left in school at weekends – which unfortunately is so common in other schools.

Additionally, Downside has long enjoyed links with the military services, indeed some of our current staff are from military backgrounds. This allows Downside School to offer the best pastoral care for your child, where those on hand can relate to what they may be experiencing. To find out more about Downside’s long military involvement, click here.

From a financial point of view, at Downside School, we go above and beyond for military families. This is because we know the educational, pastoral and spiritual support that we can offer is remarkable. As a result, we can offer additional military concessions to supplement subsidies already in place for some serving military personnel.

Military families who claim the Continuity of Education Allowance will be required to pay only the minimum parental contribution of 10% of the basic boarding fees in respect of each child in the school, as stipulated under the CEA Regulations, plus all extras incurred as a result of the education of their child at the school.    Downside School will cover whatever fee sum remains, once the CEA has been taken into account. 

Military Boarding School


Downside Boarding School Admission Process

If you are thinking of sending your child to Downside Boarding School in Somerset, you may find it useful to visit us either for an Open Day or to arrange a private visit. This will give you and your child the opportunity to find out about life at Downside School, meet the staff and of course the pupils.

Once deciding on Downside as the next step on your child’s journey, the admission process begins by contacting our admissions team. From here you will be required to pay a registration fee and then a final deposit to secure a place. This deposit will be deducted from your child’s final school fee bill.

Contact Us

To read more about out fees, for both day pupils and boarders, please visit our fees page or contact us directly where we would be more than happy to discuss this through is more detail.