Senior School Scholarship Applications – How does it work?

SCHOLARSHIPS – ADVICE FOR PARENTS

Dear Parents

As you know, we want to work closely with you to secure the best place and one that is right for your daughter, based on her personality, interests and aptitudes. Many parents choose to apply for scholarships, and these must be done at the point of application to senior schools, there is generally an extra form to fill in which the teachers here will do and give back to you to present to the school. This is different from the Headteacher’s general report which I will write and is sent directly to the school. All the senior schools will have specific information about their scholarships on their admissions pages but below is a brief overview and how we can help.

MUSIC – A music scholar is passionate about music and will spend an increasing amount of her week involved in music. Music scholarships vary from school to school, but the usual expected minimum requirement is that a student is at least Grade 4 on their first instrument and grade 2 on a subsequent instrument. One of these instruments should ideally be an orchestral instrument. They will also wish to see commitment to the full musical life of Cumnor AND have participation in music ensembles or choirs outside of school life. The scholarship audition typically involves performing two contrasting performances, sight-reading, aural tests and a short interview. It is worth noting that when a school offers a scholarship, they are expecting commitment and a return on their investment by the recipient being as fully involved in the musical life of the school as possible, rehearsing and performing with the school’s ensembles will be necessary. If a scholarship is offered, it is usually expected that the scholar will go on to take GCSE music. These scholarships are highly competitive, and places can be very limited, it is therefore essential that you contact the desired school(s) to find out their entry requirements at the earliest opportunity, most information can be found on school websites, and then email Mrs Parsons to discuss your daughter’s suitability for the scholarship. This should ideally be done no later than the end of the Summer Term in Year 5. This means that we can provide timely information, support and references as needed. The sooner you approach us; the more support can be offered. Please contact me on natasha.parsons@cumnorhouse.com if you require any further information.

DRAMA – A drama scholar is passionate about drama and will show creative flair and a commitment to the art form. Drama scholarships vary from school to school, but usually they wish a student to prepare at least 2 contrasting monologues. They will wish to see a commitment to the full dramatic life of Cumnor AND will have an expectation that this will extend well beyond the classroom and that membership of additional drama classes, exams, productions and festivals outside of the school curriculum lessons will have been part of your daughter’s life for at least 2 years. Simply having an interest in drama will not be enough. This is because when a school offers a scholarship, they are expecting commitment and a return on their investment by the recipient being as fully involved in the dramatic life of the school – so participation in school plays and musicals, drama festivals and competitions will be expected. They will also, usually, be expected to take GCSE drama. These scholarships are hotly contested and places can be very limited. It is essential that you contact the desired school(s) to find out their entry requirements and then email Mrs Kimber tam.kimber@cumnorhouse.com to discuss your daughters’ suitability for the scholarship. This should ideally be done no later than the end of the Summer Term in Year 5. This means that we can provide timely information, support and references as needed. The sooner you approach us; the more support can be offered.

PERFORMING ARTS –A performing arts scholar will be passionate about musical theatre and the performing arts and will spend a considerable amount of time ensuring they are a ‘triple threat’. Performing Arts scholarships are not offered by every school, but when they are, they usually combine the three elements of performance: singing, acting and dance. They are usually musical theatre based and require strong performances of all three disciplines. They will require lessons beyond school curriculum offering and will usually ask for at least one song (usually 2 contrasting), monologues and a dance piece. These scholarships should really only be sought if external dance classes are taken, and I would recommend involving your dance teacher in the preparation of the dance element. You will also need to be taking individual singing lessons (in or out of school) and attending additional drama lessons in or out of the school. These will need to have been attended for a period of at least 2 years so that a portfolio of work can be built up. It is also recommended seeing live performance on a regular basis if possible – this gives your daughter a breadth of knowledge and also subject matter to discuss in the interview. It is essential that you contact the desired school(s) to find out their entry requirements and then email Mrs Kimber tam.kimber@cumnorhouse.com. This should ideally be done no later than the end of the Summer Term in Year 5. This means that we can provide timely information, support and references as needed. The sooner you approach us; the more support can be offered.

SPORT – Sport scholarships vary from school to school however the general expectation is that your child will be able to perform three different sports, two to an outstanding level and the third at a consistently good level/standard. The majority of schools will also ask your child to complete mandatory fitness testing to assess their cardiovascular and sometimes anaerobic fitness. In order to qualify for most scholarships children are required to show a high level of fitness, strength and transferable motor skills. The expectation is that your child will have played a key part in the sporting life at Cumnor and should have represented the school in matches and events throughout her time at school. She will have regularly attended training and squad sessions as well as demonstrated strong team work and leadership skills. It is rare that a child is awarded a sports scholarship whereby their only extracurricular sports participation is at school. Successful candidates will have played at club level for several years prior to application and they will have supporting statements from their coaches to enhance their sports profile. Often the strongest candidates will be performing at borough, regional and national standards. If successful, your child will be expected to represent their new school in several sports and as with preparatory level attend all training sessions and fixtures.

If you would like to apply for a sports scholarship on behalf of your daughter, it is essential that you contact your desired schools no later than the Summer Term in Year 5. You will therefore have time to seek support, references and information as needed. Please contact me on james.ob@cumnorhouse.com if you require any further information.

ART

An art scholar is passionate about art, is unceasingly creative at home and her work is outstanding. She will have built up a wide collection of quality art materials and equipment at home and through experimentation and play will be familiar and confident when using them. All work must be carefully preserved.

To apply for an art scholarship your daughter will need to build up a personalised portfolio at home and in her spare time. School work can be included but often the schools want to see more.

The specific requirements for art scholarship applications vary from school to school so if you have a particularly artistic child, please visit schools and gather all necessary information regarding scholarship and arrange a meeting with Mrs Clingan as soon as possible to discuss your daughters’ suitability for the scholarship and so that she can further support and advise you and your daughter – email: Judith.clingan@cumnorhouse.com. This should ideally be done no later than the end of the Summer Term in Year 5.

Applicants generally need to:

  • Assiduously fill quality sketch books with engaging work using a wide variety of art materials
  • Visit galleries, museums and exhibitions to sketch and find inspiration for personal work
  • Know who are their favourite artists and what art their favourite art styles
  • Produce personal work and any specific pieces of work demanded by their chosen destination schools

Potential art scholars are often tested on their ability to draw carefully and expressively from observation so observational drawing skills are paramount. They are interviewed and given an opportunity to talk about their work and the work of their favourite artists and designers, hence the need to research artists and see their work.

We live so near London and many of the public galleries run children’s art workshops in the holidays which can be invaluable.

Many potential scholars attend additional art classes outside of school and this is helpful when building a portfolio.

Potential Art scholars need to attend Mrs Clingan’s Art Club, especially in Year 5 as portfolios take time to build up.

Any questions please do get in touch

Mrs Amanda McShane
Headmistress

020 8660 3445