16-19 bursary fund statement
At Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Academy, we provide 16-19 bursaries for students to ensure they have access to their studies, where they would otherwise be unable to do so for financial reasons. We are committed to closing the attainment gap between students from disadvantaged and more advantaged backgrounds, ensuring that every student participates in, and benefits from, a place in 16-19 education and training.
There are two types of bursaries available: discretionary and vulnerable. Each bursary is allocated based on students meeting the eligibility criteria. The government sets out specific criteria for the vulnerable bursary which entitles students to the funding, whilst the eligibility criteria for the discretionary bursary is determined by the setting. In both cases, the setting is responsible for determining whether a student’s application has been successful.
We are dedicated to:
- Distributing 16-19 bursaries via a fair and equal process that is transparent, accountable and easily understood.
- Ensuring that information regarding the application, award and administration of 16-19 bursaries is available to all.
- Widening access to, and participation in, 16-19 education.
- Ensuring all students who are eligible for funding have access to it.
Students aged 16 or over and under 19 years old on 31 August 2020 will qualify for bursaries. Students aged under 16 will only receive bursaries in exceptional circumstances.
Students aged 19 or over are not eligible for the vulnerable bursary, although the school may decide the student is eligible for a discretionary bursary.
If any student is on an apprenticeship programme, or any waged training, they are employed rather than in education and are therefore not eligible for a bursary.
Young offenders may apply for a bursary provided that either they are serving a non-custodial sentence, they have been released early from a custodial sentence (except on temporary license), or they have been remanded to a non-secure institution.
Where a student’s circumstances change, they can apply more than once. In this case, the student will be reassessed, including a one-to-one interview to determine if there are any exceptional circumstances to consider.
All students will be assessed individually for either bursary. Evidence must be provided to support applications – a full list of supporting evidence is outlined in our 16-19 Bursary Application Form.
To be eligible for a vulnerable bursary, students must meet one of the following criteria:
- The student is in care
- The student is a care leaver
- The student receives Income Support or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves and/or someone who is dependent on them and living with them, such as a child or partner
- The student receives Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments in their own right, as well as Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit in their own right
Any student who meets these criteria can apply for a vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200; this may be reduced where the school deems it appropriate to do so, for example, if a student is undertaking a part-time course. Alternatively, we may decide to allocate more than £1,200 if a student needs extra help to remain in education. There will be no blanket or flat-rate payments without consideration of the student’s specific financial needs.
We are responsible for determining whether a student is eligible for a vulnerable bursary. If a student meets the above criteria, but we believe a bursary is not required as they do not have any financial need and do not need further support, we may decide not to distribute a bursary to this student. This may include, for example, where:
- A student attends specialist residential provision that covers their education costs in full.
- A student undertakes a distance learning programme and there are no financial barriers to participation, e.g. no travel or food costs.
- A student is in LA care and education costs are covered in full by the LA.
- A student is financially supported by their partner.
We allocate discretionary bursaries based on those who are most in need of financial support. Discretionary bursaries may be awarded up to the value of £1,200, and will be reviewed each year the student requires support. Our eligibility criteria for a discretionary bursary includes the following:
- Students who are completing a high cost course of over £2,000 in which specialist equipment and clothes are required
- Students living in a low-income household (outlined below)
- Students who are from a single-parent family or have one or more dependent siblings in their family
- Students who have additional responsibilities, such as being a young carer or parent
- Students who travel greater than eight miles to the institution
Discretionary bursaries may be awarded for students from low-income households. The amount awarded will be dependent on the amount of income, relevant to the following levels:
Applying for a bursary
Students must complete the application form and provide the necessary supporting documentation. All applications should be submitted by 18 December of each academic year.
We do understand, however, that needs may arise throughout the academic year. As such, we do not implement a cut-off date for applications, but wherever possible, all should be submitted by 31 July.
Our application process will maintain the student’s confidentiality.
If an application is successful, we will send an award letter to the student confirming the amount of support, what support will be made in-kind, and the payment conditions.
Conditions for receiving the bursary
All students must meet the agreed standards set by us to be eligible for the funds – these are explained to all students during the application process. Students must continue to meet these criteria after receiving the bursary. We may withhold payments where students breach these conditions.
The conditions are as follows:
- Students must have 95 percent attendance at timetabled lessons, unless the absence is authorised
- Students that are absent due to sickness must present a note from a qualified medical practitioner if their absence is longer than three days
- Students must abide by the Behavioural Policy
Payments will be stopped where:
- A student is absent for a period of four consecutive weeks or more excluding holidays, or if there is evidence that they intend to return.
- A student withdraws themselves from a study programme.
- Money is not being spent for the reasons it was awarded.
- A student breaches any of the conditions for payment.
Receipt of the bursary will not affect the receipt of other means-tested benefits paid to families, e.g. Income Support.
Paying the bursary
Funds will be allocated in-kind rather than in cash where possible, e.g. through travel passes, vouchers or credits for meals, or required books or equipment. All payments will be given to students on a termly basis.
Bursary funds will not be given to students in large lump sums. A percentage of funding will be kept back as hardship funding to respond to any emergencies throughout the year – the total percentage held back is discussed with the student.
In instances where payments in-kind are not possible, we will pay funding by BACS transfer to the student’s own bank account. In exceptional circumstances where the student is unable to manage their own funds, we will consider who will manage the bursary on the student’s behalf.
Using the bursary
Upon receiving a bursary, students will receive help based on their areas of need. An interview will be offered with a financial support advisor to determine the best way to allocate their support.
The following priority areas will be addressed first:
- Travel to college, e.g. bus passes and travel cards
- Equipment costs, e.g. books, stationery, iPads or clothing
- Meals, e.g. free school meals
- Any other educational support, e.g. attendance at university open days and interviews
- UCAS application costs
Students will be allocated a higher amount of funding at the beginning of their course to address the priority areas. Student services will meet with individual students to help them with budgeting and ensure the fund addresses the areas most in need.
We reserve the right to request that, if a student has had books or equipment bought for them through the fund, they return it at the end of their study programme. We may also request that the equipment is kept on the college site.
If students disagree with the outcome of their application, or where payment has been withheld due to not meeting the outlined conditions, they should follow our complaints procedure, detailed in our Complaints Procedures Policy – this is available on the school website.
More information on the use and allocation of 16-19 bursaries can be found in our 16-19 Bursary Fund Policy, available on the school website.