John Madejski Academy 6th Form


Guidance to Students and Parents


The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund was introduced in the 2011 to 2012 academic year. It is money provided by the government for schools to support disadvantaged students to overcome specific barriers to participation in education. Significant updates were implemented in 2017 / 2018.

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursary:

  • Vulnerable Bursary of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups.
  • Discretionary Bursary that institutions award to meet individual needs. For example, transport, meals, books and equipment. There are three bands in this type of bursary.

The school is responsible for managing both types of bursary. Students who want to apply for support from the bursary fund should contact Mrs Wendy Bell, Sixth Form Manager. Applications must be made on an annual basis.

To access either bursary, students must be aged over 16 and under 19 years on 31 August 2018 or be a 19+ continuer – this means that they are continuing with a programme of study started when they were aged between 16 and 18 years.

Students must also satisfy the residency criteria, having the right of abode in the UK and having been resident here for the last three years. A student with a Health & Care Plan will also be eligible.

Both types of bursary require adherence to the following standards of attendance and behaviour:

  • There is no unauthorised absence from lessons or registrations
  • Overall lesson attendance is at least 90%
  • Reported levels of Engagement in Learning are good or better in every subject
  • Student Code of Conduct is adhered to
  • All examinations are attended

Students will be required to sign the application form confirming that they will adhere to these standards.

Vulnerable bursary

This is a payment of up to £1,200 a year for young people in any of the following defined vulnerable groups:

  • Students in care
  • Care leavers
  • Students in receipt of Income Support or equivalent Universal Credit (UC) in their own right.
  • Students receiving both Disability Living Allowance or the Personal Independence Payments and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) OR Universal Credit as a replacement for ESA in their own right.

Please note that a student does not have to be living independently of their parents; they can claim ESA or UC in their own right, although parents will not be able to claim Child Benefit for them if the student’s claim succeeds.

Evidence: We are required to see evidence of the status claimed before we are able to authorise a bursary. This may be confirmation of looked after status from the Local Authority, a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) stating which benefits you are entitled to and that you are able to participate in education or training.

Next Steps: If you think you may qualify for a vulnerable bursary, please speak to Wendy Bell, Sixth Form Manager in confidence, contact her on 0118 937 0200 / or complete the Bursary application form, which is located in the Sixth Form office on the school website, returning it to Wendy Bell.

Discretionary Bursary

Discretionary awards are targeted at students who cannot stay in education without financial help for things like transport, meals, books, other requirements of a course, exam re-sits and equipment. The bursary is in respect of actual costs incurred, or to be incurred.

Each application will be considered on its own merit, In accordance with the principles related to each band noted below:

  • Band 1 - Free School Meals
  • Band 2 – Family Income – these student receive a specified amount based upon levels of family income:
  • Less than £21,000 per year
  • £21,000 - £24,999
  • £25,000 - £30,000
  • Band 3 – Young Parent
  • Band 4 – Young Carer
  • Band 5 – Hardship Fund - is for students whose household income is above £30,000 or requires additional help due to unforeseen circumstances, or for circumstances not specified in the other bands

We are required to take into account allowances or other sources of financial support received by a learner; though this does not necessarily exclude a student from receiving the Discretionary bursary. Receipts or other appropriate evidence will be required to support any claims.

Evidence: We must also have evidence of a student’s eligibility for a Discretionary bursary. Some examples are given below, but there will be others:

  • The learner’s household income as evidenced by a Tax Credits forms, a P60, or 3-6 months of bank statements (as evidence of self-employment income).
  • Evidence of the following circumstances will also be taken into account when considering applications for discretionary bursaries:
  • Entitlement to free school meals
  • Exceptional circumstances, such as where a learner is providing care to a sick or disabled relative.
  • The number of dependent children in a household.

Next Steps: If you think you may qualify for a Vulnerable or Discretionary bursary, please speak to Wendy Bell, Sixth Form Manager in confidence - contact her on 0118 937 0200 / or complete the Bursary application form, which is located in the Sixth Form office on the school website, returning it to Wendy Bell.

Paying the Bursary to Students

All students will be required to confirm that they agree with the terms and conditions set out in this document before they are able to receive a bursary payment.

The vulnerable bursary will be paid each half term into the student's personal bank account, as long as all the previously stated conditions of attendance, engagement and attainment have been met. Where a travel pass is required, the cost is likely to be deducted from the bursary payment.

The discretionary bursary will be paid in the most appropriate way. If equipment or a travel pass is required, the school would usually make the purchase on behalf of the students. In other circumstances a receipt / invoice clearly identifying the item(s) purchased, would be used as evidence to support reimbursement to the student. Only in exceptional circumstances would a bursary payment be paid into an account other than that of the student.

Where there are concerns with attendance or behaviour, we would usually talk to the student about the issue. Because receipt of the bursary is conditional on meeting the agreed standards, payments may be withheld.

If a student is absent for a period of four continuous weeks or more (excluding holidays, or if there is evidence of an intention of the student to return), then payments will be stopped.

For students who have made a decision to withdraw from a study programme the school may take back money from students if they have not spent it for the agreed qualifying reason.

The impact of receiving a bursary on household benefits

16 to 19 Bursary Fund payments do not affect entitlement to DWP income-related benefits.

16 to 19 bursaries are paid directly to students in addition to other means-tested benefits paid to families, such as Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit and does not affect them.

However, if the student is getting DLA or Personal Independence Payments and ESA or UC, parents can no longer receive certain household/family benefits for that child, e.g. child benefit. Bursaries are not a substitute for other sources of financial support such as childcare payments made under the Care to Learn scheme, or payments to meet residential costs under a Residential Support scheme.

Complaints or appeals about the bursary fund

Any student who is unhappy about the way a request for bursary funding was handled should follow the School's complaints procedure. The policy can be found on the school website.

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