How to get your child into a £42,500 a year private school for free


WISH you could send your child to Eton? It may not be an impossible dream.

Studying there may cost a whopping £42,500 a year but the school offers 90 free places to children from poorer backgrounds – and that’s set to rise to 140 over the next five years.

Bursaries enable children from less fortunate backgrounds to attend private schools

It’s not the only posh school offering means-tested bursaries.

To get one, kids must ace the school’s entrance tests – normally in English, maths and reasoning – and interviews, while parents must reveal their financial affairs.

Here’s what’s on offer from other top schools.

Latymer Upper School, West London


WHAT’S IT LIKE? Lots of super-cool clubs to choose from here, including Ultimate Frisbee, backgammon, origami and aerospace.

There’s also a rock-climbing wall and even a boathouse overlooking the Thames.

Latymer Upper School was attended by Hugh Grant

BURSARIES: Decided on a case-by-case basis, no income threshold.

FEES: £6,945 per term.

APPLY BY: 9am on October 9 for 2021 entry.

ALUMNI: Hugh Grant, Lily Cole, Alan Rickman.

Westminster School, Central London


WHAT’S IT LIKE? Soaked in history. Boys eat in a 14th-century abbot’s dining hall, perform plays in Latin and Big Ben is next door.

BURSARIES: Only for day pupils living in London and they must be UK or European citizens. No income threshold.

Westminster School is located in the heart of London

FEES: £9,603 (day) or £13,869 (boarding) for current term.

APPLY BY: October 15 2020 for 2023 entry (at age 13).

ALUMNI: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Nick Clegg and Louis Theroux.

Eton, Berkshire


WHAT’S IT LIKE? Particularly lavish. There are three theatres, eight organs, 200 acres of playing fields and buildings used as film sets for Casino Royale, Shakespeare In Love and Chariots Of Fire.

BURSARIES: Assessed on family circumstances. No income threshold.

FEES: £14,167 per term.

Eton is a world famous institution

APPLY BY: June 30 2021 for 2024 entry (at 13).

ALUMNI: Princes ­William and Harry, Damian Lewis, and 20 prime ministers, including Boris Johnson.

Bolton School, Greater Manchester


WHAT’S IT LIKE? Offers something different. The boys’ division can take Russian at GCSE and A level and both boys and girls can study Mandarin. Boys have been national water polo champs for years, too.

BURSARY: Families with income of less than £20,000 may get a free place. If income is higher, they might get reduced fees.

Bolton School offers Russian among it’s subject choices

FEES: £4,154 per term.

APPLY BY: Early December 2020 for 2021 entry (at 11).

ALUMNI: Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Janet Smith.

Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, Sussex


WHAT’S IT LIKE? Diverse,with 75 per cent of pupils on bursaries. Tudor uniform – long blue coats, white neck bands and yellow socks. Knee breeches for boys.

Bursaries at Christ’s Hospital are assessed on a case by case basis

BURSARIES: Assessed on each family’s circumstances

FEES: £11,950 per term (boarding), £6,170 (day) for years 7 and 8, and £7,770 per term for years 9 – 13.

APPLY BY: September 17, 2021, for 2022 entry.

ALUMNI: Comedians Mark Thomas and Holly Walsh, actor Roger Allam.

Gordonstoun, Moray, Scotland


WHAT’S IT LIKE? Outdoorsy. Sailing is part of the curriculum and the school has an 80ft training vessel. Only school in the UK with its own fire engine.

BURSARIES: Available for children in eight categories, including Perthshire or sea-fishing families or those who show leadership potential. Decided by interviews and head- teacher references.

Gordonstaun in Scotland has a spectacular setting

FEES: £9,050 (day), £12,750 (boarding).

APPLY BY: Year round.

ALUMNI: Princes Philip and Charles, and Zara Tindall.

Pals know I receive a bursary but don’t treat me any different

SEBASTIAN WADE, from Essex, has a bursary to attend Eton and is in his final year.

Sebastian Wade was able to attend Eton thanks to a bursary

The 17-year-old said: “I love how busy Eton is. There’s always something new to try or a speaker coming in to talk.

“The teaching is brilliant. The school always pushes us to be the best we can be, whether that’s in academics, music or wherever our passions lie.

“For me, this has meant singing in the choir and joining various societies, as well as studying subjects like Politics and Mandarin that I would have unlikely studied elsewhere.

“Most friends know I receive financial aid to attend the school, and I’ve never been treated differently for it.”

Hang up on taxing HMRC scam

Beat the scammers: By Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB

LAST Sunday my breakfast was rudely interrupted by a call from “HMRC” and I was horrified when a robot warned an unpaid tax bill could put me in prison.

Keen to plead my case and avoid a stretch behind bars, I did as it said and pressed 1 to speak with an agent.

A very nice man answered who firmly told me “the system” doesn’t lie and that only a bank transfer would suffice to pay off my suspiciously round £2,500 bill – because I couldn’t be trusted to pay on a card, of course.

After giving me details for what was clearly a non-government account, he kindly offered to wait while I sent the  cash – otherwise the police would come knocking.

I said I’d call him back on an HMRC number when my laptop was ready and he got really annoyed.

The cops were only moments away, he warned.

When I asked if he was a full-time scammer or just on Sundays, he lost it – shouting, swearing, then hanging up. No police turned up.

More than £1 million is lost to bank transfer fraud each day, according to figures released this week.

To avoid scams like this, don’t be rushed. HMRC doesn’t threaten you with recorded messages or demand bank transfer over the phone.

It’s my job to engage with the fraudster – you shouldn’t.

Hang up. If you’re worried about your tax, call HMRC using the number you can find on its website.