Annual appeal 2020/21

Named as The Sunday Times Independent School of the Year in 2020, St Margaret’s School for Girls is the oldest all-girls’ school in Scotland, and has been part of the fabric of the city since 1846. Within our school community of pupils, teachers, parents and former pupils and staff, there is a strong sense of being part of the St Margaret’s family, with shared values which create bonds beyond the school walls.

St Margaret’s provides means-tested bursaries as part of our charitable commitments. Pupils from 6 Junior to VI Senior are eligible to apply for bursaries.

"I was fortunate to have been a recipient of St Margaret's bursary during my final 2 years of secondary school. The quality education that the bursary granted me is the reason that I am now studying Economics at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), sponsored by Sir Stelios. The opportunities that the bursary granted me have been steppingstones to my career progression and achievements. I will always be grateful to the donors of these bursaries." Bursary recipient, class of 2019

What is a bursary?

Bursaries are a reduction in the cost of school fees and range in value from 100% to 5%. 100% bursaries can be awarded to pupils whose household income is less than £15,000 annually.

“It is incredibly difficult to see something on offer which you know would be a tremendous opportunity for your child but not be in a position to be able to offer it to them. Being a bursary recipient has opened a door for our daughter into a world where she is nurtured, encouraged and supported to be her very best in all aspects of her education. For this we are all exceptionally grateful.” Parent of bursary pupil, February 2020

Girls who do well in entrance examinations for entry into 6 and 7 Junior and I Senior, and whose families cannot afford the full fees, are eligible to apply for bursaries of up to 100% of school fees. Bursaries may also be awarded to applicants for places in V and VI Senior, based on examination results; and exceptionally they may be offered to other senior year groups. Current senior school fees are £13,958.

Demand for bursaries exceeds what the school is able to provide. In addition, over the last few years the number of applications to the bursary programme has increased. The school has, therefore, focussed our fundraising efforts on generating support for bursaries through our annual appeal.

Why our bursary programme is important?

Our bursary programme extends the opportunity for an award-winning independent education to girls whose families may not otherwise be able to afford it. Bursary pupils benefit from the high academic standards and range of opportunities offered by the school. It is our hope that this will provide them with the foundations for future success and support social mobility within our local community. In turn the school also benefits from a diverse population of pupils from different backgrounds. By working and learning together pupils can support each other and prepare for life beyond school in an outward looking and inclusive environment.

“Independent schools provide a strong pipeline of students to leading universities and the top professions, but they are largely closed to families who can’t afford the fees.” The Sutton Trust, Mobility Manifesto 2019

Speaking about the bursary programme, Anna Tomlinson, Head Teacher, said “St Margaret’s has educated girls since 1846 and we offer the opportunity for a unique independent education to girls in the North East of Scotland. Through our bursary programme we can ensure that this opportunity is extended to families whose daughters may not otherwise be able to attend. At a time when we are acutely aware of the inequalities affecting educational opportunities, generating support for our means-tested bursaries is a priority for the school”.

How are bursaries awarded?

Together with the admissions application, families who wish to apply for a bursary must complete the bursary application form. The bursary application must be submitted together with supporting financial documentation detailing income and expenditure, together with assets and liabilities.

As part of the annual admissions cycle the school holds an assessment day in February for all applicants for the next school year. This is a written assessment under exam conditions to gauge an applicant’s academic ability. IN line with national restrictions, these assessments will be held online.

Following the assessment day, applications for bursaries are considered by the Bursary Committee of the School Council. The decision making process is treated with the strictest confidence.

How are bursaries funded?

Many independent schools have significant endowment funds from which they draw income to support bursaries. St Margaret’s, however, does not benefit from such resources. It is only through careful management of school finances together with kind donations from our community that the school is able to provide means-tested bursaries.

Some donors opt to make a monthly contribution to support bursaries, while others prefer to make an annual donation. With the addition of gift aid they make a significant impact on the level of support the school can extend.

Who are the donors to our bursary programme?

Our bursary programme is supported by donations from many different groups within our community including alumnae, former staff, parents and friends of the school.

“At a time when the teachers and pupils have gone the extra mile to maintain the high standards of education and inclusiveness during the pandemic the least we former pupils can do is support it with whatever we can afford.” Donor, December 2020

In the last school year the school received over 100 gifts, with 88% of fundraising income allocated to bursary provision. Support from our donors makes a significant difference to the bursary programme and the school is incredibly grateful for their generosity.

Our annual appeal

Our annual appeal focuses this year on generating support for our bursary programme. This is a key priority for the school and we ask our community to consider making a donation to our bursary programme. All gifts, of all sizes, are appreciated by the school.

If you would like to read more about our annual fund or have been considering making a donation please visit St Margaret’s Connect or get in touch with us at or 01224 584466.

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