The Government is continuing to provide the discretionary Bursary Fund to help 16 to 19 year-olds continue in full-time education, where they might otherwise struggle for financial reasons. The Bursary Fund is intended to help with costs incurred through attendance in education, and may be awarded for the purchase of books, meals, transport, UCAS fees or other expenses incurred, at the discretion of the school.
In order to qualify for Bursary Fund payments students need to be resident in England and aged between 16 and 19. If students do not meet these conditions they may be able to apply for Discretionary Learner Support, or Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for students who are resident in Wales (see www.gov.uk).
In order to best ensure fairness and consistency both with other Sixth Form schools within Cheshire West and Chester, we have decided to apply common eligibility criteria for discretionary awards, these have been mutually agreed and are consistent with past years, consisting of four priority levels as follows:
If you’re in care, a care leaver, on Income Support or Universal Credit (in your own name), or receiving both Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (or Universal Credit in place of ESA), and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name, you can receive a bursary of £1,200 a year.
A discretionary payment of up to £600 per year for those students who are in receipt of Free School Meals. For further information on eligibility for Free School Meals please call 0300 1237039 (option 3) – (08:00-17:30 Monday-Thursday) (08:00-17:00 Friday)
A discretionary payment of up to £300 for students of families in receipt of tax credits and a household income up to £20,817.
A discretionary payment to support students who incur travel costs because their course requires them to travel to another learning site (not within walking distance of the school) for some of their lessons. This will only be awarded to students for whom transport has been arranged by the school.
All Bursary award payments will be subject to the student’s satisfactory attendance, behaviour and attainment. 100% attendance will be expected unless acceptable reason(s) are provided for it falling lower. Students whose attendance falls below 95% will not be eligible for a bursary payment for that week and any subsequent weeks. Bursary award payments will be weighted 50% on attendance and 50% on behaviour/attainment (this will be judged based on SSA grades awarded in lessons where a minimum grade 2 will be considered acceptable). Students will be notified of any deductions and the reason(s) behind them and have the right to appeal against them through the usual appeal channels if they feel they have been unfairly treated.
The allocation of funds and decision on how much will be allocated within each band will be decided once all applications have been processed to ensure fairness and equality. Payments in band 1 only are set and other bands are set as guidance with payments “up to” the maximum amount depending on the number of successful applications as the budget for payment is allocated to the school in advance and is not based on the number of applicants. Payments will be made fortnightly during the academic year (i.e. from September to July) in arrears by the school. Students in Year 13 will cease to be eligible for the Bursary Fund after their last exam in June 2017.
If you believe you qualify for the new bursary scheme please complete the Bursary Application Form below and return to Mrs Scanlon no later than 20th September 2017.
The school will endeavour to assess all applications received at the earliest opportunity with Band 1 and 2 applicants being notified of the outcome by 30th September. Verifying the eligibility of all applicants is an integral feature of the assessment process.
Band 1 Applicants
Will need to obtain original documentation setting out the benefits they receive or written confirmation of their current or previous looked-after status from the Local Authority that looks after them or provides their leaving care needs.
Band 2 Applicants
Verification can be achieved without student involvement as the Local Authority provides the school with confirmation of all students granted Free School Meals.
Band 3 Applicants
The assessment process is likely to take slightly longer as proof of eligibility will be required. The type of evidence required in order to verify household income and receipt of Tax Credits will include recent Tax Credit Award Notices, P60s or recent evidence of self-employed income. Please send copies of this evidence with your application.
Given the limited nature of the Bursary Fund provided to the School by the Government, the amount of payment for Bands 2 and 3 can only be finalised and confirmed once the initial commitments are known.
In year Bursary award applications will be considered, but only 10% of the initial funding allocation will be held as a contingency to cover in-year awards.
We will endeavour to support students who are eligible for Bursary funding with attendance on the school’s transition residential and a visit to the UCAS conference. Details will be included in any letters sent regarding these trips. If you have any queries regarding this process, please contact the finance team, school’s business manager or myself.
Please note that it is essential that any student who is eligible for support via the 16-19 Bursary have their own bank account so that payments can be made. It is not within the government’s guidelines to make payments into the bank account of any other person (including parents/carers).