Access Awards

St. Francis' College Access Awards

FOR ENTRY SEPTEMBER 2024

The College is offering four Access Awards as part of our ninetieth anniversary year celebrations. This new initiative is the College’s first scheme offering up to 100% tuition and boarding scholarships for exceptional academically or creatively able students who wish to be full time boarders at the College.

The Access Awards, which will be an automated discount of 60%, plus a means tested further discount of up to 40%, will be offered to bright and ambitious pupils from across the UK who wish to join the College as full-time boarders in Years 7 or 8 from September 2024 until the end of their education in Year 13.

Applications are invited from girls who demonstrate outstanding academic, creative and / or sporting talents and who will benefit from these talents being nurtured.

What is an Access Award?

An Access Award is a recognition of excellence which is being funded by the College and the Inspired Learning Group. It gives parents who have accepted the offer of a place at St. Francis’ College, as a full boarder, a substantial discount to recognise the contribution that their daughter can bring to our existing excellent student body. These are only available for full boarders from the United Kingdom. The Award consists of a full 60% discount and then a further means tested discount of up to 40% on academic and boarding fees. On top costs, such as trips and learning materials are also included. Existing students who will enter Years 7 and 8 in September 2024 are welcome to apply.

What is full-time boarding?

Full-time boarding is where a student stays at the school for each of the academic terms: Autumn Term, Spring Term and Summer Term. They engage in lessons in their days and then sleep and eat at the College in the evenings and at weekends, when a number of activities are provided. During Half Term and full holidays, such as Christmas, Easter and summer, students return to their parents and guardians. Parents and guardians are also welcome, with communication with Boarding staff, to visit at weekends and weekday evenings. Boarders, especially full-time boarders, make lifelong friends and meet people from a vast array of experiences and backgrounds.

What does the Award cover?

The Award will cover or part-cover the school fees, which includes tuition, boarding (full-time fees), games, loan books (which must be returned at the end of the academic year), careers aptitude tests, learning needs tests, certain school publications and breakfast, lunch and supper during term time. It may also cover or part-cover educational trips, training camps, tutorial outings, examination fees, private music tuition and iPads/smart devices where applicable. The Award will not cover school uniform / sports kit costs and textbooks.

Are there any other costs?

Parents in receipt of an Access Award will be required to pay any balance of termly fees, as indicated by means testing, in accordance with the College’s terms and conditions. A deposit is also payable when parents accept the offer of a place, but this may be reduced in the event that a substantial Award is awarded, and no deposit is required for families in receipt of a 100% Award. Any deposits paid are refundable following the pupil’s final year at the school. The Head is more than happy to discuss individual circumstances further.

Why full boarding only?

The Access Awards are to ensure that students who can contribute fully to the College are able to enrol. This contribution extends to not only academic lessons during the day, but also the incredibly important community that exists in our Boarding House. Full boarders have a vital role in creating a dynamic, diverse and exciting atmosphere in the College outside of ‘school’ hours and we are looking for individuals to bring their talents and abilities to further enhance this.

How do I apply?

As with all other entrants, applicants should follow the standard entry procedures as managed by our Admissions Office. On completing the online registration form, please state you wish to be assessed for an Access Award and where your daughter excels (e.g. art, dance, sport, academics). An offer of a place will be made on merit through the entrance exams and interview, and through a positive report from the candidate’s current school. Once a place has been granted, the 60% discount is automatically applied. Parents will then begin the process of means testing for any further discounts up to the remaining full 40%.

When will I be assessed?

We will only assess you for an Access Award as and when your daughter has completed the entrance tests and has been successful in her interview. Assessment will take place either at the College (with travel funds covered for the student and one adult) or at the existing school and online.

How will we be assessed for an Access Award?

You will automatically be discounted the 60% of the day and boarding fees once your entrance tests, reference and interview have determined you are a candidate that the College wishes to enrol.

For the remaining 40%, you will be sent an application form and guidance notes to complete and return. It will ask questions about your household financial income, expenditure and assets/liabilities, details of any investments you hold, your accommodation and your dependants. We require documented evidence to verify the information you provide. The assessment will be carried out through the Inspired Learning Group.

The value of the award granted is based on means-testing, and depending on the parents' financial circumstances it could be between 60% and 100% of tuition and boarding fees. Means-testing will consider applicants’ assessable household income and other assets, including but not limited to full current value of any properties owned, banking, savings, business and digital currency accounts, investments, vehicles and other assets offset by liabilities such as mortgages, loans and credit card balances. Access Awards are discretionary and subject to the student joining in Year 7 or Year 8 as a full-time boarder.

Once the assessment is complete, you can decide on whether to continue to pursue your application. No decision is final until the means testing process has been completed.

When will we find out if we qualify for an Award?

On receipt of a completed application form and full supporting documentation, you will be notified of the outcome of the assessment prior to the Admissions Acceptance Deadline which is Monday 4 March 2024 for entry to the school in September 2024. Late submission will not disqualify you from Access Award assistance but may delay the assessment process.

We recommend early applications for an Access Award as there are a maximum of four Awards that can be made.

We expect significant interest in these Access Awards and therefore, the decision on who to make an offer to will rest with the Head, with all supporting admissions information, once means testing has been completed and applications confirmed.

How will my daughter be assessed for a place at St. Francis'?

At St. Francis' College we support all students in their individual gifts and talents and endeavour to help each one of them to discover their passion and unlock their potential. Offers of a place are given to the best candidates on the basis of performance in the College’s Entrance Examinations which comprise three tests, in mathematics, English and non-verbal reasoning. Examples of entrance tests can be found on the College web site or by contacting our Registrar at admissions@st-francis.herts.sch.uk.

For students who express an excellence in creative subjects, offers will also consider portfolio and/or live practical assessments for talents in art, dance, drama, music or sport.

Can I apply for an Access Award if I am not from the UK?

Only individuals living in the UK, or who hold a UK or ROI passport, or who hold valid UK residency documentation, may apply for an Award.

Does the Access Award last for my daughter’s entire schooling?

Whilst it is our intention for the Award to remain until the end of Year 13, the Access Award is discretionary and the further 40% discount is subject to an annual means-test re-assessment. If your income increases the amount of assistance may diminish and vice-versa. The 60% will remain static for the duration of your daughter’s time at St. Francis’.

Please note, the above is conditional on your daughter’s adherence to existing policies. Failure to uphold these can result in being asked to leave the College.

How can you ensure my daughter will not be treated differently to other pupils?

Your application for Access Award support will not affect your daughter’s academic eligibility. If an Access Award is awarded, only certain senior members of staff and staff on the finance team will be aware of the particulars of the further discount on the remaining 40% of fees. Award recipients and this information is treated with discretion.

The narrative around the Access Awards will be one of excellence and celebration in which the students chosen will be of immense value to the College (as they will be).

How do I find out more about the St. Francis’ College?

Call the Admissions Team on 01462 416232 or email admissions@st-francis.herts.sch.uk. We will be delighted to arrange a visit for you and your daughter to view the College and talk to staff and pupils. If a visit is not possible, we can arrange for you to have a series of Zoom meetings with key staff, including the Head.

Downloads:

To do download an Application Form and the Terms and Conditions please click on the hyperlinks

To download the College Information Booklet and the School Magazine please click on the hyperlinks.

To download the practice papers for entry into Year 7 and Year 9 please click here.