Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13



Belhaven Hill School was founded as an educational charity.

The Board of Governors takes this responsibility seriously and has set out to make a Belhaven education accessible to all, regardless of a family’s financial circumstances.

Assistance can be provided through ‘bursaries’ to help with fees in proportion to need, in the form of a discount of up to 100% on fees.

Bursaries are awarded at the discretion of the Governors based on a means-test, which includes a review of a family’s circumstances, income and capital resources.  The School employs independent financial assessors to calculate the level of award needed.  Their report to the Board of Governors is anonymised to preserve the confidentiality of all applications.  Bursaries are means-tested each year and the level of awards may change as a family’s financial situation improves or deteriorates.  

Recognising that no two families are the same, Belhaven welcomes applications in all circumstances, whether from new applicants to the school, where parents are unable to fund the fees in full or in part, or from existing pupils where a change in parents’ circumstances has resulted in difficulty in meeting school fees, or where finances might prevent a child from boarding at Belhaven.  The Board of Governors has determined that, allowing for the School’s budgetary constraints, no child should be forced to miss out on a Belhaven Prep School education, as a day pupil or boarder, because their family cannot afford the fees.

As the School’s small size and limited resources place constraints on the funds available to support bursaries, the Board of Governors has decided that bursarial awards should only be available to pupils in the Prep School.  Pupils moving from the Pre-Prep to the Prep School should apply for bursarial support, if they require it, by 10th January of their final year in the Pre-Prep.

If you would like additional advice or guidance on the process of applying for a bursary, please do not hesitate to contact the Headmaster.

To Apply for a Bursary

Please visit the school at the earliest opportunity to decide if it would suit your child.

If you are interested in seeking a place for your child after your visit, please return the Confidential Statement of Financial Circumstances in support of an application for a Bursary as soon as possible.

Download the Bursary Form as a pdf file here or a Word document here and send your completed form to:

The Bursar
Belhaven Hill School,
East Lothian,
EH42 1NN
Please mark the envelope Private & Confidential.

The application must be completed by both parents or all those with parental rights and responsibilities.  Assessments can only be done where applications are complete and an incomplete application could result in no award being made.

If there are particular family circumstances that are pertinent to your application, please ensure that you outline them in your Confidential Statement or a covering letter enclosed with it.  As with financial details, all personal information will be treated as completely confidential and only disclosed to the Board of Governors in anonymised form.

Applications for the forthcoming academic year must be received prior to 10th January.  Applications received after this date, or applications that are incomplete at this date, may not be considered and could result in no award being made.

How awards are assessed:

All applications will be acknowledged.

The independent financial assessors employed by the school consider all the information presented with each application and apply set parameters determined in advance (by the Finance Committee of the Board of Governors) to the financial information provided.  The amount of a bursary is determined by the extent of need.  Each case is assessed on its own merits.

It is recognised that judgements about what sacrifices a family should make to pay school fees will be subjective.  The School has a duty to ensure that all bursary grants are well focused and so, as well as current earnings, other factors will be considered in determining the necessary level of grant.

These might include;

  • the ability to improve the financial position or earning power of the family. For example, where there are two parents, both would be expected to be employed unless one is prevented from doing so through incapacity, the need to care for children under school age or other dependents, or the requirements of their partner’s work.
  • opportunities to release any capital. Significant capital savings and investments would be expected to be used for the payment of school fees, as would substantial equity value in houses.
  • in cases of separation, the contribution made by the absent parent.
  • contribution to household costs by other, wider, family members, any adults unrelated to the child or by outside sources.

Acknowledging that others might have a different view, the School considers that indications of wealth such as, but not limited to, the following would not be consistent with the receipt of a bursary

  •  frequent or expensive holidays;
  •  new or luxury cars;
  •  investment in significant home improvements;
  •  a second property/land holdings;
  •  valuable works of art.

It is recognised that, in addition to financial constraints, there may be other circumstances which should be considered.

These might include;

  • the social needs of the child (e.g. the personal circumstances of the child mean that the provision of boarding will materially help them);
  • where a parent is terminally ill or is unable to secure permanent employment due to poor health.

Following assessment by the School’s independent advisers, anonymised details of all applications (each marked with a number) are presented by the Chair of the Finance Committee to the Bursary Awards Committee, which decides on the allocation of awards following the recommendations of the independent financial assessors and in accordance with Board policy. The size of the fund available for Bursarial Awards each year is determined by the Finance Committee in the context of the School’s overall budget. Bursary funds are therefore limited and in some years the School will only be able to provide bursaries to a proportion of applicants before its bursary funds are exhausted. Equally, while every effort will be made to make an award sufficient to meet a family’s needs, the funds to do this may not be available and awards may therefore be reduced accordingly.

Applicants will be informed of the Board of Governors’ decision as soon as possible before the end of the Spring term. 

Appeal against decisions

Applicants who have been refused an award, or who feel that the bursary awarded to their child is insufficient for their needs, and applicants whose circumstances have changed dramatically since their application, are invited to appeal to the Chair of Governors directly, by writing to them c/o Belhaven or emailing as soon as they are notified of their award, and in any event, no later than 1st May.

In some years, further funds may become available subsequently to supplement existing awards or to provide additional awards.

Late payment of fees

For the avoidance of doubt, if the proportion of fees charged to the parents of a child in receipt of a bursary award is not paid by the due date, this will be treated as a late payment of fees in line with the Fees Policy.


Should further information come to the attention of the School or its agents, which demonstrates a material non-disclosure of means in an application by a family in receipt of a bursary, and those means would make the pupil ineligible for their award, the School reserves the right to take appropriate action.

In these circumstances, reimbursal of a prior bursary might be sought and/or current awards withdrawn.
Download the Bursary Form as a pdf file here or a Word document here.

The Eagle Fund

The Board of Governors recognises that the cost of a Belhaven education is not limited to school fees.

To help families meet additional costs, the Eagle Fund has been established.  A pupil who is in receipt of a bursary may apply for assistance in meeting the cost of any extra expense so that they do not miss out on any opportunities enjoyed by all their peers.  Such expenses could include (but are not limited to) the following; the cost of uniform, the cost of travel to and from school, extra-curricular activities, school trips, etc.

An application in writing for assistance from the Eagle Fund should be made, in advance of expenses being incurred, directly to the Headmaster, who has absolute discretion (to the extent that the annual Fund allows) as to any offers of help and the amount to be given in each case.

Save in exceptional circumstances, retrospective applications for expenditure already incurred will not be considered.

IAPS Schools Access Scheme

The Independent Association of Prep Schools (‘IAPS’) set up the Schools Access Scheme in 2015.

It is designed to allow children from families who would never have the resources to pay for a prep school education to benefit from the opportunities such an education provides.  It is not aimed at helping middle-income families who cannot afford full fees.   The Scheme supports a child from the time it starts in the lowest year group at a prep school, through to the time the child transfers to senior school at either age 11 or 13.  Belhaven is a member of IAPS and, as such, could help a child who was a beneficiary of the Access Scheme.  Schools are expected to match fund an award by IAPS (normally on a 50/50 basis).  There are more details about the scheme on the IAPS website, and there are brief anonymised biographies of previous applicants which might help clarify the kind of potential beneficiaries they seek -

There is a timetable for applications, which would need to be supported by Belhaven.  Families should approach the Headmaster for information and guidance on the process as early as possible in the Autumn term of the academic year before the year in which their child wishes to start at Belhaven.  He will provide the Application form to candidates whom he feels that Belhaven could support.  Applications have to be made by early January and a decision is communicated in early March.

iTrust Awards

iTrust was formed in 2011 and is IAPS’ own charity.

In addition to funding the Schools Access Scheme, the Trust also makes awards and grants to support the education of children up to the age of 13 and makes awards to relieve the hardship of members or former members of the teaching profession and their families on the basis of a needs assessment. iTrust can also offer bursaries to children aged between 8 and 14, who need financial support to attend certain residential music courses in the UK. For information about Awards, please see

iTrust Bursaries

iTrust awards a small number of bursaries, usually up to a maximum of £2,500 per year per pupil at its summer meeting.

Priority is given to pupils who have already started their education in independent schools and whose families’ financial circumstances have changed.  Any application would need to be supported by Belhaven and all applications are subject to annual needs assessment.  The closing date for completed applications is 30th April each year.  Please contact the Headmaster if you wish to apply for an award for your child.

Grant-Making Trusts

In addition to the School’s own means-tested Bursaries, there are also grant-making trusts set up to help parents meet the cost of school fees at independent schools.

SCIS has compiled a list of such trusts, available to download on their website, which gives eligibility criteria and contact details. 

SCIS has also produced a leaflet on making such an application called, ‘Meeting the Cost of School Fees’, which is available to download on their website, and contains advice on constructing applications to best effect. For further advice and guidance, please call SCIS on +44 (0)131 556 2316.