Head’s Blog: A Modern Approach to Scholarships

Paul Dwyer BlogBy Paul Dwyer, Head

The impact of COVID-19 has prompted many schools to reflect on how we best serve our current and potential students and work closely with all members of our community. At Redmaids’ High we have been incredibly fortunate in the support received from students, parents and staff alike and it is thanks to the strength of our community that the days beyond COVID offer reasons for optimism, and opportunity for meaningful change.

One change that we are particularly excited about is in our awarding of academic scholarships and our broader approach in developing the skills and talents of all our students.

Redmaids’ High has always been a school that values the scholarship of our students and their passion for building subject expertise, as inspired by their teachers and the wider school community. This will continue to be a core part of our approach, with academic scholarships being offered at Year 7 and at other key points in a student’s academic career.

Our scholars programme will continue to see students receive academic mentoring and be encouraged towards stretch and challenge opportunities both in and beyond school. Scholars will also engage in discussion groups with me and other senior leaders, as well as have opportunities to further develop their subject passions or lead aspects of the Athena programme.

A key change to our Scholarship offer, is in the financial aspects of such awards. From the coming academic year, any fee-remission attached to an academic scholarship will be largely awarded on a means-tested basis, with the exception of a very small number of 25% discounts available for pupils who are truly outstanding in their field. This decision has come about for a number of reasons:

  • Redmaids’ High has always been proud to support students from a range of backgrounds in accessing the opportunities that the school has to offer, and as such, we want to expand the support for bursaries and means-tested scholarship. This is in line with our objectives as a charitable organisation, and indeed the beliefs and values of our founders.
  • We are also keen to move away from a system that places additional pressure on students to perform well on a given day when they are 10 or 11 years old, which can have large financial implications for their family. Achievement at this stage in their life should and will be recognised, but we want to decouple it from having a monetary value.
  • We want all students to be given access to additional funds that could support their passion, talent or individual. As such we are delighted to announce our Development Grants that will be rolled out in the coming years. These grants will be available to all students, in order to allow them to request financial support to further develop a skill, idea or talent at any point in their school lives. This might be money to go towards a language acquisition course or to start music lessons in a new instrument, or to buy equipment that allows them to pursue a passion in sport, technology or science that might not otherwise be possible.
  • In addition to the Development Grants for individual students, we will be investing more heavily in in subject specific masterclasses that every student can benefit from.

Given the strength of the community we serve, we are confident that the changes to our academic scholarship awarding will be to the benefit of all. We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead in the offering of development grants and the opportunities it will open up to all of our students, as well as being open about our desire to lessen academic pressures on students where possible without sacrificing our dedication to the pursuit of individual excellence or academic scholarship.

You can find out more about our scholarship programme here.

 

Date Posted: 2 November, 2021

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