How to get your child into a £44,000-a-year private school for free

SENDING your child to a private school may not be as hard as you think.

Studying at Eton may cost a whopping £44,000 a year but the school offers 90 free places to children from poorer backgrounds – and that’s set to rise to 140 over the next five years.

It’s not the only posh school offering means-tested bursaries that assess a family's income.

Kids still need to pass tough entrance tests – normally in English, maths and reasoning – and interviews to get in, while parents must reveal their financial affairs.

Term fees aren't the only costs though.

Parents may also have to stump up for lunches and music lessons.

Here’s what’s on offer from other top schools.

Latymer Upper School, West London

BOYS AND GIRLS FROM 11

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Pupils get a private school education plus super-cool clubs including Ultimate Frisbee, backgammon, origami and aerospace.

There’s also a rock-climbing wall and even a boathouse overlooking the Thames.

BURSARIES: Decided on a case-by-case basis, no income threshold.

FEES: £7,153 per term.

APPLY BY: 12pm on November 19 for 2022 entry.

ALUMNI: Hugh Grant, Lily Cole, Alan Rickman.

Westminster School, Central London

BOYS FROM 13, GIRLS ADMITTED IN SIXTH FORM

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Plenty of history to keep the kids inspired. Boys eat in a 14th-century abbot’s dining hall, perform plays in Latin and Big Ben is next door.

BURSARIES: Only for day pupils living in London and they must be UK or European citizens. No income threshold.

FEES: £9,987 (day) or £14,424 (boarding) for current term.

APPLY BY: 12pm on October 13 2021 for 2022 entry (at age 11).

ALUMNI: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Nick Clegg and Louis Theroux.

Eton, Berkshire

BOYS FROM 13

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Particularly lavish. Eton has three theatres, eight organs, 200 acres of playing fields and buildings used as film sets for Casino Royale, Shakespeare In Love and Chariots Of Fire.

BURSARIES: Assessed on family circumstances. No income threshold.

FEES: £14,698 per term.

APPLY BY: June 30 2022 for 2025 entry (at 13).

ALUMNI: Princes ­William and Harry, Damian Lewis, and 20 prime ministers, including Boris Johnson.

Bolton School, Greater Manchester

BOYS AND GIRLS FROM 11

WHAT’S IT LIKE? A bit different to other private schools. Boys can take Russian at GCSE and A level and both boys and girls can study Mandarin. Boys have been national water polo champs for years as well.

BURSARY: Families with income of less than £20,000 may get a free place. If income is higher, they might get reduced fees.

FEES: £4,237 per term.

APPLY BY: Early December 2021 for 2022 entry (at 11).

ALUMNI: Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Janet Smith.

Christ's Hospital, Horsham, Sussex

BOYS AND GIRLS FROM 11

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Diverse, with 75% of pupils on bursaries. Your loved ones will be dressed in Tudor uniform which includes long blue coats, white neck bands and yellow socks. There are also knee breeches for boys.

BURSARIES: Assessed on each family’s circumstances

FEES: £12,200 per term (boarding), £6,300 (day) for years 7 and 8, and £7,930 per term for years 9 – 13.

APPLY BY: September 17 2021, for 2022 entry.

ALUMNI: Comedians Mark Thomas and Holly Walsh, actor Roger Allam.

Gordonstoun, Moray, Scotland

BOYS AND GIRLS FROM 13 (SENIOR)

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Good for active and outdoor-focused kids. Sailing is part of the curriculum and the school has an 80ft training vessel. It is also the only school in the UK with its own fire engine.

BURSARIES: Available for children in eight categories, including Perthshire or sea-fishing families or those who show leadership potential. Decided by interviews and head- teacher references.

FEES: £9,460 (day), £13,350 (boarding).

APPLY BY: Year round.

ALUMNI: Princes Philip and Charles, and Zara Tindall.

Can you pass entrance exam?

1) I AM thinking of a number. When I subtract the number from 45, I get the same answer as when I double the number. What’s my number?

2) IMRAN notices that when he takes the digits of 652 and multiplies them together he gets 60. How many three-digit numbers are there whose digits multiply to give 60? Write down all the ones you can find.

3) AT what time between 6pm and 6.30pm will the hour and minute hands be exactly 125 degrees apart?

4) SOME bacteria are growing in a dish in a laboratory. Each day the number of bacteria doubles. On February 1 there are 200 bacteria. On what day does the number of bacteria first become more than one million?

5) A FARMER buys some cats and dogs. Two cats and three dogs cost £180. One cat and four dogs is £190. How much is three cats and seven dogs?

(Answers are further down the page)

Pals know I receive a bursary but don't treat me any different

SEBASTIAN WADE, from Essex, has a bursary to attend Eton and is in his final year.

The 17-year-old said: “I love how busy Eton is. There’s always something new to try or a speaker coming in to talk.

“The teaching is brilliant. The school always pushes us to be the best we can be, whether that’s in academics, music or wherever our passions lie.

"For me, this has meant singing in the choir and joining various societies, as well as studying subjects like Politics and Mandarin that I would have unlikely studied elsewhere.

“Most friends know I receive financial aid to attend the school, and I’ve never been treated differently for it.”

Answers to the entrance exam

1) 15;

2) 256, 265, 345, 354, 435, 453, 526, 534, 543, 562, 625, 652;

3) 6.10pm

4) Feb 14

5) £370.

Questions from Latymer Upper School and Christ’s Hospital.

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