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We are all aware that analysing Bursary applications is a time-consuming and expensive process. There are issues as well as cost which Governors and school leaders will wish to consider. We believe that BAL can support schools:

  • Using an independent third party to act on a school’s behalf means that the difficult process of financial investigation, which can often be intrusive and adversely affect the relationship between parents and school staff, can lead to a more constructive relationship between all parties.
  • Our staff have a wide range of employment experience which is shared: accountants, solicitors, Bursars, social workers, school leaders – even musicians! We currently undertake over 8,000 assessments each year.
  • We offer a consistent methodology which allows for cases to be easily compared. Our reports are both objective and subjective. We are always available to hold informal chats with Bursars.

BAL’s application services are available in several forms, tailored to meet your specific requirements:

  • If required, the provision of application forms, branded specifically for your school (based upon the ISBA model). These forms can be issued directly to parents, returnable either to the school or BAL.
  • We can provide our own online application form, again branded specifically for your school, which will route the application straight through to BAL. We also work with several application software companies, developing online applications. We can arrange for separate access to their systems, thereby negating the need for onward transmission of applications to BAL.
  • We can act as a sole point of contact for the parents.
  • We undertake home visits, telephone/Zoom/teams calls, or provide desktop financial reviews.
  • Reports will be supplied to the school through a secure document exchange system.

We feel it is important to hold an initial meeting with the school to discuss how your school currently issues bursaries and your exact requirements and timescales. We consider that we act as an information-gathering and advisory service only and stress that the decision regarding a bursary application always remains with the Governors and staff.

It is our sole aim to ensure that school decision-makers are provided with a balanced and complete report to allow them to make an informed decision regarding Bursary applications.

We are always happy for potential clients to take up references with any existing clients, and would refer to our client list, which is available upon request.

Online points to note:

  • Provides an integrated application process, whether a new or renewal application, which is compatible with all device types
  • Easy to use for applicants: no need for documents to be posted which aids compliance with GDPR
  • Supports all file types, and allows applicants to photograph documentary evidence
  • The system allows for translations into 109 languages
  • Provides an auditable trail for the Charity Commission
  • Allows full Bursary management and provides statistics for forecasting, thereby allowing total financial visibility
  • The system will be fully branded to the school
  • Complete data security: our host RSAdmissions’ systems are PEN-tested (an independent organisation which scans for system vulnerabilities on a monthly basis, providing extra layers of system security).  BAL maintains Cyber Essentials certification, and each assessor is provided with a fully encrypted dedicated laptop: they are not allowed to use their own equipment.
  • Single invoice from BAL for all applications processed every month

Other services points:

  • Pro-bono ‘spot check’ service – BAL will check free of charge an agreed number of applications that have been assessed in-house by the school
  • Policy writing advice
  • Benchmarking
  • Attendance at meetings as required