Sixth Form Bursary

Sixth Form Bursary at KGGS

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund provides financial support to help students overcome the specific financial barriers to participation they face so they can remain in education.

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursaries:
  1. bursaries for defined vulnerable groups
  2. discretionary bursaries which institutions award using policies they set, in line with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) rules

Vulnerable bursaries

Students who meet the criteria, and who have a financial need, can apply for a bursary for vulnerable groups. The defined groups reflect that these students are unlikely to be receiving financial assistance from parents or carers, so may need a greater level of support to enable them to continue to participate. Students should be awarded the amount of support they need to participate based on an assessment of the types of costs they have and must not be automatically awarded the maximum £1,200 yearly award. The defined vulnerable groups are students who are:
  • in care
  • care leavers
  • receiving Income Support (IS), or Universal Credit (UC) because they are financially supporting themselves or financially supporting themselves and someone who is dependent on them and living with them, such as a child or partner
  • receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in their own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or UC in their own right
The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund defines 'in care' as children looked after by a local authority on a voluntary basis (section 20 of the Children Act 1989) or under a care order (section 31 of the Children Act 1989). Section 22 of the Children Act 1989 defines the term 'looked after child'.

A 'care leaver' is defined as:
  1. a young person aged 16 and 17 who was previously looked after for a period of 13 weeks consecutively (or periods amounting to 13 weeks), which began after the age of 14 and ended after the age of 16; or
  2. a young person aged 18 or above who was looked after prior to becoming 18 for a period of 13 weeks consecutively (or periods amounting to 13 weeks), which began after the age of 14 and ended after the age of 16
A young person placed with a foster carer by the local authority, including where the foster carer is on the books of an independent fostering agency, is classed as looked after. They meet the criteria for the 'in care' vulnerable group where they need financial support to participate.

A young person who is privately fostered (in other words, a private arrangement is made between the parent and the person who will care for the child) is not classed as a looked after child and is not eligible for the bursary for vulnerable groups.

KGGS must obtain proof that students meet the criteria for the bursary for vulnerable groups in full. In other words, that they are in receipt of the specified benefits in their own name or that they fully meet the definitions for in care/care leavers. KGGS will ask for evidence from each student and retain copies for audit purposes.

For example:
  • for students who are in care or a care leaver, written confirmation of their current or previous looked-after status from the relevant local authority - this is the local authority that looks after them or provides their leaving care services. The evidence could be a letter or an email but must be clearly from the local authority

  • for students in receipt of UC or IS, a copy of their UC or IS award notice. This must clearly state that the claim is in the student's name/confirm they are entitled to the benefits in their own right. The evidence must not state any conditions that prevent them from participating in further education or training. For students in receipt of UC, KGGS must also see a document such as a tenancy agreement in the student's name, a child benefit receipt, children's birth certificates, utility bills and so on

  • for students receiving UC/ESA and DLA and PIP, a copy of their UC claim from DWP. Evidence of receipt of DLA or PIP must also be provided
UC claimants should be able to print off details of their award from their online account or provide a screenshot to the institution.

Students can also contact their UC Work Coach (or relevant Benefit Office if they are receiving getting IS or ESA) and ask them for help in providing evidence of receiving benefits.

In some cases, a young person might meet the eligibility criteria for a bursary for vulnerable groups, but their financial needs are already met, they have no relevant costs or they do not need the maximum award.

For example a student:
  • attending specialist residential provision that covers their educational costs in full

  • in the care of the local authority whose educational costs are covered in full by the local authority

  • who is financially supported by their partner

In these circumstances, KGGS can refuse the student's application and will explain to the student and/or the student's parents or support worker the aim of bursary funding and that there is no bursary awarded.

Discretionary bursaries

Institutions make discretionary bursary awards to help students with the cost of travel, to buy essential books, equipment, or specialist clothing (such as protective overalls, for example). These are items the student would otherwise need to pay for to participate.

The bursary fund is not intended to provide learning support - services that institutions give to students, for example, counselling or mentoring - to support extra-curricular activities where these are not essential to the students' study programme or provide living costs support.

KGGS set our own eligibility criteria for the discretionary bursary but we must comply with the eligibility conditions and funding rules set out by the ESFA . KGGS must ensure that students are eligible for the discretionary bursary in each year they require support.

KGGS base all decisions about which students receive a discretionary bursary and how much bursary they receive on each student's individual circumstances and their actual financial need. These will vary from student to student, depending on, for example, eligibility based on household income, and their actual financial needs such as the distance they need to travel to school and the requirements of their study programme. KGGS will not make blanket or flat rate/fixed rate payments without considering the actual needs of each student. For example, although many students who had previously benefitted from a free school meal may have financial needs, these will vary depending on personal circumstances so an individual assessment of actual need will be made. It is important to note that all such evidence and any application to the fund will be treated in the strictest of confidence by the administrators.

KGGS  manage the number and size of discretionary bursary awards.

KGGS retain a small emergency fund to support students who face exceptional circumstances during the year due to a change in their situation where this impacts on their ability to participate in education. 

Students must apply for an award and applications should be submitted by the end of the second week in September of each school year. The only exception is if the application is for a change in circumstances in which case the application may be submitted at any time during the school year. 

Each student will be assessed individually and awarded a bursary based on their actual financial need. The assessment must be documented so it is vital that students applying present evidence with their claims. The required evidence is outlined on the application form.

Any student whose total gross household income is less than £30,000 per annum may be eligible for a bursary in order to help them access their post-16 education. KGGS can take into account any benefit payments and unearned income such as shares/investments, savings, pension income and rental income when assessing whether students should receive a discretionary bursary.
Students can apply more than once if their circumstances change. If this happens, they will be reassessed.

Students and their families should be aware that giving false or incomplete information that leads to incorrect/overpayment may result in future payments being stopped and any incorrectly paid funds being recovered. This might also result in a referral to the police with the possibility of the student and/or their family facing prosecution.

KGGS must insist that students only spend the bursary payments they have made to them on the support that has been identified as necessary to help them participate in education. This means students can only use the funds to pay for travel costs and/or a meal during the day, to buy equipment or any other support that has been agreed.

KGGS will make the value of the award and any terms/conditions clear to the student and their parents/carers in their award letter.

Receipts for expenditure and purchases made with bursary funding form part of the audit and assurance of the scheme. They confirm that funding is being used for the reasons it was awarded. For standard weekly costs like travel and food, it may not be practical to collect receipts for every transaction, so costs may be evidenced initially by receipts then paid linked to attendance. Students may be asked to provide receipts. If books or equipment is purchased for a student, they should be returned to the school at the end of their study programme so they can be used again by another student. 

Bursary payments cannot be paid into another person's bank account, except in exceptional circumstances. 

Any student or parent who is unhappy with how KGGS has managed their application for bursary funding should follow the school's normal complaints procedure.

KGGS have decided on two key groups who may be eligible for a bursary award:

Group 1 - Students living in a household where there is a total gross income of less than £30,000 pa. The total will include gross pay plus any benefits or unearned income for all adult members of the household. In this case, evidence of gross salary will be required, such as a P60 or original tax credit award from HMRC/ Self-Assessment Tax Calculation. Evidence of any benefits received into the household or unearned income such as shares/investments, savings and income on savings, pension income and rental income will also be required. 

In the case of Universal Credit, copies of the 3 most recent monthly award statements will be required (for an application made in September, statements from June, July and August are required). The take-home pay figure in addition to the amount of UC after all deductions will be used to calculate a total monthly income. Using 3 months statements will act as a guide to the household income for a quarter of a year and from this assumed income for a full year will be estimated.

Bursary allowance: Monthly payments will be made directly into the student's own bank account. This is to cover the cost of day to day education such as travel costs, books, equipment, stationery, university open days, clothing etc as outlined in the application form. Any additional expenses such as school trips can also be claimed on an individual basis dependent on the nature of the expense and the funding available.

Group 2- Students in exceptional circumstances. Examples of exceptional circumstances that may warrant consideration for an award may include a student's role as a care-giver for relatives, or if a student is in a family where there are a lot of other children. In these cases, the threshold of £30,000 may be increased. The value of the award would remain focused on the removal of specific barriers to the student in completing their 16-19 education with the same opportunities as their peers. Details of items required must be given on the application form.


All bursary payments may be withheld should the following conditions below not be met:

  • At least 90% attendance at school
  • Complete compliance with the terms of the Sixth Form Contract.
  • All progress effort grades achieved to be good or better
  • The provision of receipts on request

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I apply for?

The bursary could help you with any education-related costs that may arise during the school year, including essentials such as books, formal dress; educational visits clothing or equipment for your course, and transport to and from school.

Can the school tell me what to spend my bursary on?

Yes. Your bursary is to help pay for things you really need to stay on at school. We can insist that your bursary is spent on items you require to study your courses.

Can my school stop my payments if I don't attend or if I misbehave?

Yes. We can certainly set conditions on your bursary. These are rules that you will need to stick to, such as attending classes regularly or behaving well. If you do not stick to these conditions, we can stop payments. 

If I can't attend because of illness or an authorised absence will I still receive my bursary?

If you are ill or have been allowed an authorised absence, it will normally not affect your payment, but this is at the school's discretion. It is important to note though, that these payments are designed to ensure students are able to access education.

Once I have received a bursary payment- do I need to apply again?

You need to apply for a discretionary bursary at the start of each year of your sixth form study by the end of the second week in September. 

All awards are reviewed in September, January and April and regular payments may be adjusted as the numbers of students claiming may change. You will be notified in advance of any change in payments. Generally it would be expected that your entitlement is agreed for the full academic year.

If you have additional items to claim for, or your circumstances or household income changes during the year in any way that might affect the assessment of your bursary payment, you must inform the school. 

If at any point during your studies, a lack of funding prevents you from completing them you should inform the school.

Will I get the same amount each year?

The fund will be used by the school to try to support students in their studies across the whole sixth form. It is a fixed amount of money and the amount you receive will be governed by the amount the school has, the number of applicants, and the needs of those students applying.

Will everyone know that I am getting a bursary?

No. We will make sure that you are not singled out in any way and that your application is handled confidentially.

Should I keep receipts?

Yes. Students should be prepared to provide evidence of the ways the money has been used to support their learning.

Can a bursary payment for a student be made into anyone else's bank account?

Not normally, no. Therefore it is important that a student claiming a bursary has a bank account.

How do I know if I am eligible for a Group 2 Special Circumstances payment?

If you believe you may be eligible, please contact the Sixth Form Administrator, Support and Guidance Mentor or the Assistant Headteacher Post 16 Education and Welfare to discuss a bursary payment.

What if I have to pay a large amount for my bus pass for the full year in September?

If you have purchased a bus pass and then are found to be eligible for a bursary, the amount will be reimbursed to your account and will then be deducted from any award you receive. For example, if you are assessed as being entitled to receive a monthly payment of £20 per week during term time, but your bus pass is £500 paid in September, you will receive the £500 as soon as your claim is agreed. This amount will then be deducted from your annual payment. Based on a 38 week year: 38 weeks at £20 = £760, less bus pass £500 = £260. This would result in each week's payment being £6.84.

Who do I see for help and advice or an application form?

See the Sixth Form Administrator, Support and Guidance Mentor Mrs Singer or contact her at or the Mrs Macpherson, Assistant Headteacher, Post 16 Education and Welfare.