The 16-19 Bursary Fund: financial support for students in 2023-24

The Government introduced the 16-19 Bursary Fund some years ago to support young people in Post 16 education and training. The purpose of the 16-19 Bursary Fund is to assist those aged 16-19 who are in full time education and who face financial barriers to participation because they are from lower income households or are disadvantaged in some way.

The bursary has two elements: a grant or bursary of £1,200 a year for the most vulnerable young people who meet government set criteria and a discretionary fund for schools and colleges to distribute in ways that best fit the needs and circumstances of their students. It is up to the school to determine the assessment criteria for eligibility for the award of discretionary bursaries and the frequency of and conditions attached to payments of such awards. There is no set amount per student and the level of awards made each year depends on the number of applicants.

Accessing the Bursary Fund at The Polesworth School Sixth Form @ Tomlinson Hall

To be eligible to receive a 16-19 Bursary in the 2023 – 24 academic year, a student must be registered on a full-time course at The Polesworth School Sixth Form @ Tomlinson Hall, meet government set residency criteria and be aged 16 or over and under 19 on 31st August 2023. Where a student turns 19 during the programme of study, he/she can continue to be supported until the end of the academic year once an award has been granted.

  • Information about the Bursary and details of how to apply are issued to prospective Year 12 students on our Induction Day and to students currently in Y13 via tutors and/or the Senior Student Support Manager, before the end of the summer term.
  • Application forms are available on our website or a paper copy can be obtained from Mrs Knight, Senior Student Support Manager.

Forms should be returned to Mrs Knight so that applications can be assessed and payments authorised from the end of October. However, we understand that personal circumstances may change and are happy to consider applications at any point during the academic year although the level of any award granted may be lower.

£1200 Vulnerable Student Bursary

For the academic year commencing September 2023 learners from the following groups are eligible for a bursary of £1,200 paid in installments:

  • young people who are looked after (in care) aged 16 and 17
  • care leavers aged 16,17,18
  • young people in receipt of Universal Credit in their own name (formerly Income Support) aged 16,17,18
  • young people in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit and Disability Living or Personal Independence Payments in their own right.

Students in any of the above groups must complete an online application form and provide evidence of their circumstances and/or benefit entitlement.

The Discretionary Bursary

Discretionary bursaries are targeted at students who would find it difficult to stay on in education without financial help for things like transport, meals, books, equipment, trips, costs of attending university open days and/or interviews, basic living expenses. Schools and colleges are expected to assess each student’s actual need for financial help before deciding to make an award and if so how much. They are then expected to document the assessment, collect evidence to support the amounts being claimed and retain it.

For the academic year commencing September 2023 all registered students in years 12 & 13 whose total household annual income is less than £28,999 OR who face other exceptional personal or family circumstances may apply for a discretionary bursary grant from The Polesworth School Sixth Form @Tomlinson Hall Bursary Fund. This includes students already eligible for the mandatory £1200 bursary (detailed above) but who may require additional financial support. As well as assessing household income and making different awards based on levels of income, we take wider family circumstances and individual transport costs into account.

Students should apply for a discretionary bursary grant at the start of each academic year although late applications owing to changed personal circumstances will be considered (see above). The bursary can be paid to support students in their two years of Sixth Form study; only when a student has no other option but to complete an additional year of study will it be considered for a third year.

Students wishing to access the discretionary bursary fund must complete the application form and provide evidence of household income. Such evidence could include:

  • current evidence of benefits
  • Pay Slips
  • P60
  • tax credit award notice
  • free school meal entitlement
  • bank statements
  • evidence of self-employment.

Administering the Bursary Fund

All applications received by Friday 6th October 2023 deadline will be assessed and students informed of the school’s decisions by the end of October. Any appeal against the decision should be made in writing to the Head of School. Students eligible for an award must then provide their bank account details so that any relevant payments can be made directly to them. However, if for any reason this is not possible, students should contact the Director of Post-16 to discuss alternative methods of payment.

In accordance with government guidelines for administering the discretionary bursary fund, we do not make blanket or flat-rate discretionary payments to all students and therefore there is no fixed sum per eligible student; the amount paid depends on the number of applications received each year and varies according to the level of household income, need and family circumstances. A bursary award may take the form of direct payments made to a student on a monthly basis, a one-off emergency payment or a larger payment to cover or contribute towards, for example, the cost of a travel pass or educational visit; some or all of the award may be paid in a different way such as payments to a student’s school account to fund meals in the canteen.

Students granted a bursary will be informed of the decision in writing as soon as possible after the majority of applications have been received and a breakdown of the details of the award will be given.

Payments of any direct financial awards granted will be made on a monthly basis, in arrears, over 10 months either from the end of October or November 2023. Students who apply after the deadline will begin to receive payments as soon as possible following their assessment.

Support from the 16-19 Bursary Fund is to enable students to attend school and achieve advanced level qualifications.  Payments therefore depend on the student meeting certain conditions and upon receipt of the award bursary students will be required to sign a contract accepting those conditions which will include:

  • maintaining outstanding attendance of at least 95% and adhering to the Sixth Form policy on attendance
  • meeting homework and coursework deadlines
  • completing all examinations or other types of assessment associated with their programmes of study at the appropriate times.

If students do not meet these conditions, they will be notified and bursary payments for that month or part of that month will be withheld or may, in exceptional cases, be withdrawn completely. Students will not be paid for the days that they are absent from school for whatever reason once their attendance drops below 95%.  Students who leave the Sixth Form during the year will automatically lose their bursary entitlements.

Completing the application form

Students and parents are asked to complete the application form – available either online or as a paper copy – giving as much detail as possible regarding family or special circumstances and levels of support required with actual and estimated costs. The declaration must then be signed by both student and a parent or carer and submitted together with appropriate supporting and up to date evidence to Mrs Knight, Senior Student Support Manager. Incomplete forms or where the evidence is insufficient will be returned.

Further information about the 16-19 Bursary can be found on the Gov.UK website: which provides helpful information.

Please note that this information is subject to review and the details may change.

Bursary Letter

Bursary Application Form 23-24

16-19 Bursary Fund – Your questions answered