When Westminster was granted its Royal Charter by Elizabeth I in 1560 she mandated that the school “provide for 40 poor scholars”.
Over time this philanthropic ethos has evolved into a programme of bursary support that provides approximately £1.4m each year to pupils at both the Under School and Great School. This allows pupils of exceptional talent and promise to benefit from a high-quality education regardless of their background or financial position.
As with all other entrants, pupils hoping to benefit from a bursary must first gain a place at the school on academic merit: they must do well in the entrance exams and interviews. Once a place has been granted, parents must complete a financial assessment form designed to establish the level of financial support required. If a pupil’s parents are unable to pay some or all of the fees, an appropriate remission of the fees may be applied. When a full bursary is awarded it will cover the cost of uniform, equipment and compulsory school expenditures.
The school acts with the utmost sensitivity with regard to bursary support, meaning that very few members of staff and none of the other pupils will be aware that a boy or girl is receiving financial assistance.