Loretto School accused over £50 bursary charge

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PRIVATE Loretto School which promised to accept more pupils from poorer backgrounds by offering 105 per cent bursaries has been accused of charging those who apply £50 per child.

Loretto School, in Musselburgh, had advertised the bursaries after being threatened with losing its charitable status.

But it has been claimed by some parents applying that the school has been asking for a £50 “registration fee” to be paid even though it warns there will be more applications than there is funding available.

Loretto, which charges more than £19,000 a year for senior day pupils and up to £28,590 for boarders, has responded by insisting that those applying for the 105 per cent bursary would not be charged.

One parent who considered applying to the school reportedly said: “The £50 non-refundable, no-guarantee fee seems very high for low-income families and gives false hope for this prestigious opportunity.”

But Jonathan Hewat, director of external affairs at Loretto – the alma mater of former chancellor Alistair Darling and broadcaster Andrew Marr – said: “If it’s felt they qualify for the 105 per cent bursary, then they are not asked to pay £50.”

In October, the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) said Loretto had 18 months to comply with its tests or risk losing its charitable status, which allows tax breaks and rates relief.