How bursaries help students thrive and achieve their potential

Two male students in Tudor school uniform confer over school work at Christ's Hospital, Sussex

Christ's Hospital was established in 1552 and its foundation marked the beginning of the social services in Tudor England. - Credit: ©tobyphillipsphotography

Providing your child with a first-class education doesn’t have to set you back financially. 

Established in 1552, Christ’s Hospital in Horsham is the largest bursary charity in the country, providing 630 of its 900 pupils with either free or heavily reduced fees every year. 

The school is committed to providing an outstanding education to students from all backgrounds, offering eligible parents and guardians means-tested financial support with the payment of school fees.

“The total bursary support given by our school each year is over £18.2 million,” says Clare Phillips, marketing manager at Christ’s Hospital. “We provide 18 per cent of all means-tested bursaries granted by independent schools in the UK." 

We chat with Clare about the process of applying for bursaries, and the advantages of an independent school education. 

Female student drawing a picture on a white table at Christ's Hospital, Horsham

Bursaries at Christ's Hospital are available to boys and girls from any background, and may even result in a discount of up 100 per cent on fees. - Credit: ©tobyphillipsphotography

Q: What is the difference between a bursary and a scholarship?

A: A bursary is means-tested financial support given to help a family who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford some or all of the school fees. Scholarships, on the other hand, reward outstanding achievements and talent in a particular area – for example, academic work, music, sport, art or drama. Scholarships may be offered to provide a discount of up to 20 per cent of the assessment fee level. Pupils may be awarded both a bursary and a scholarship at the same time.

Students raising their hands in classroom and smiling at Christ's Hospital, Sussex

Christ’s Hospital offer means-tested bursaries to students, taking into account the household income to calculate the fee reduction. - Credit: ©tobyphillipsphotography

Q: Do students have to be in a specific year group to be awarded a bursary?

A: At Christ's Hospital, bursaries are offered to pupils entering the school at Year 7, Year 9 or Sixth Form. 

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Q: What is the process for selecting a child to receive a bursary? 

A: Ideally, you should start the process at least 12 months before your child is due to enter the school. For entry in 2023, your registration needs to be with us by Friday 16 September, 2022, if you are going to apply for a bursary place.

Christ’s Hospital is academically selective and there is a two-stage process. First is an initial assessment that uses computer-based tests. The second stage comprises of a residential assessment where further academic tests are carried out, and where we also asses a child's suitability for boarding.

Q: What are the benefits of receiving a bursary? 

A: One of our former pupils, Aiysha, has written a wonderful case study that showcases the impact of receiving one of our bursaries:

"The impact of Christ's Hospital on my education and life experience has been extraordinary. The biggest things I have learnt are the power of resilience and perseverance, teamwork and the importance of enjoying yourself in the moment.

"Being at Christ's Hospital provided me with many opportunities, including participating in a range of sporting activities, gaining work experience with British Airways, challenging myself physically by going mountain biking and experiencing the thrill of flying a glider plane at an RAF base. It's up to you to take these chances and experience as much as you can.

“Without the teacher support, online resources and the external competition, I wouldn’t have believed as much in my ability to achieve my goals.”

Aiysha left Christ’s Hospital in June 2021 and is currently in her first year at Loughborough University.  

Three female students in school uniform walking and chatting at Christ's Hospital, Horsham

The high level of pastoral support at Christ's Hospital, as well as the exciting extra-curricular opportunities, helps pupils to build their resilience and self-confidence. - Credit: ©tobyphillipsphotography

Q: What makes Christ's Hospital a great school to study at? 

A: Through the extraordinary pastoral support and an extensive, broader curriculum, Christ's Hospital ensures that each pupil receives the opportunity to flourish during their studies.

98 per cent of students go on to attend university after leaving, and they take with them the self-confidence and commitment they will need to achieve success in later life.

To book your place on an open day, or to learn more about bursaries, visit or call 01403 211293.