Bursaries and scholarships - Portsmouth High School

Bursaries and scholarships

The GDST is committed to broadening access to the brightest but most financially disadvantaged girls. Bursaries and scholarships are available to any pupil aged 11 and over and most are awarded pre-entry either for Year 7 or on direct entry to the Sixth Form.

New scholarships for Years  7 and 9 in 2022


Portsmouth High School is delighted to offer separate art and drama scholarships at 11+ and 13+ entry from September 2022.

11+ and 13+ Art Scholarships

Candidates should demonstrate an outstanding ability in art, particularly through their creativity, imagination, strong observational drawing skills and evidence of the appropriate use of specialist language and concepts in the appreciation of art. An Art Scholar will be artistically talented and committed to making a co-curricular contribution to the school through their artwork.

Selected candidates will be invited to attend an informal interview where they exhibit a portfolio of original work showing a range of skills and interests and discuss their ideas confidently.

11+ and 13+ Drama Scholarships

Candidates should be confident actors who are performing at a standard that is higher than expected for a pupil of their age. Applicants may also have experience of being part of theatre groups, performing on stage as part of a school or youth drama group or have taken part in other community theatre activities. This could involve elements of drama, dance and singing. Drama scholars will be expected to attend drama clubs, to be involved in school productions and to represent the school at Open Day events.

Selected candidates will be asked to attend an audition and perform a monologue between one and two minutes in length. The choice should demonstrate clear evidence of how the character has been created through use of at least two physical or vocal skills (i.e., tone of voice, pace, gesture, posture). They should also be able to talk about a production they have seen or been involved with, that has excited or delighted them.  This should be between one and two minutes in length.  The applicant is welcome to bring notes and additional visual aids if they should like to.



Bursaries are awarded only to pupils whose performance in the Entrance Examinations is exceptional. All bursaries are means tested and their value is related to the income and financial resources of the pupil’s family. The maximum value of a bursary can be the full published fees.

We aim to assist as many families qualifying for bursaries as possible. However, given the demand, we are not usually able to offer support to all of those who are eligible. Bursary applications must be made online and completed in the autumn term preceding the year of entry to the school.

Frequently asked questions on scholarships and bursaries can be found at the bottom of this page. Do contact our Admissions Registrar Mrs Charlotte Thomson if you have any further queries via admissions@por.gdst.net or telephone the school on 023 9282 6714.

Scholarships are awarded on merit, irrespective of financial means. Offers are made based upon performance in entrance examinations (for academic scholarships) or outstanding ability demonstrated in disciplines such as music (11+ and 13+) drama (16+) and sport (11+, 13+ and 16+).

Additional Scholarships


If you are interested in applying for any of our scholarships, please complete the relevant sections in the online application form on our website by the end of the autumn term, with a view to sitting the school’s entrance examinations in the spring term prior to September entry.

11+ Academic Scholarships

Each year, we are able to offer academic scholarships to pupils starting in Year 7. These scholarships are not means tested and the small amount of money awarded represents the honour rather than a significant monetary value.

Everyone who sits the entrance examination is eligible to receive a scholarship and it is possible to be awarded a scholarship as well as a bursary. Offers are made based on the results of the entrance examination and a special application is not needed.

Year 7 in British Science Week at Portsmouth High School GDST

13+ Academic Scholarships

Academic scholarships are also available for 13+ entry. Following the examination, short-listed applicants will be invited to the school for an interview.

11+ and 13+ Sport Scholarships

Sport scholarships are available at 11+ and 13+ to pupils who have outstanding ability in one sport or the potential to represent the school in several sports. Scholars are expected to regularly attend training, contribute to the co-curricular programme and make satisfactory sporting progress.

11+ and 13+ Music Scholarships

Music scholarships are available at 11+ and 13+. Candidates should be performing at a standard that is higher than average for a pupil their age and have had a range of experience performing, such as in school concerts and assemblies, carol services, and community theatre. It is usual for applicants to have passed music examinations with merit or distinction and those at higher grade levels are more likely to be successful.

Music scholarships are granted with an understanding that some or all of the amount will be used towards internal tuition on an instrument (or voice). Applications must be submitted by the end of the autumn term. Interviews for these awards will be held immediately after the entrance examinations. Further details and an application form are available from the Admissions Registrar. Scholars will be expected to play a full part in the musical life of the school.

16+ Sixth Form Scholarships

At 16+ we are able to offer Sixth Form academic scholarships to girls who demonstrate outstanding academic potential or excel in particular areas. We also offer Sixth Form scholarships in art, drama, music and sport to girls who excel in these areas of school life.

These scholarships are for the two years of Sixth Form and are awarded following special application and a selection procedure. Applications must usually be submitted by the end of the autumn term and selection takes place in late January or early February.

Further details on selection criteria are available in our dedicated Sixth Form scholarships leaflet available from our Admissions Registrar on request.

Frequently Asked Questions

The key difference is that a bursary is means-tested and a scholarship isn’t. We offer bursaries so that a GDST education is accessible to the best and the brightest girls, including those who are not in a position to pay full fees.

A bursary takes into account academic ability but its value is directly related to the income and financial resources of the pupil’s family.

Scholarships are awarded purely on academic (or sporting, or artistic, or musical) merit, as measured in a competitive entrance exam, and take no account of family income or resources.

GDST bursaries and scholarships are available to any student aged 11 and over at a GDST senior school. Most bursaries and scholarships are allocated on entry either to Year 7 or to the sixth form.

Bursaries range from 30% to 100% of fees; however, the amount of any bursary depends on local demand and the funding available. Sometimes awards of a lesser value may be offered. Pupils who get a full bursary may also get help to meet the cost of their uniforms, lunches and travel.

The values of scholarships vary, but are generally small and more about the honour of the award than the amount given. A scholarship may, however, be supplemented by a bursary.

To assess who is eligible for a bursary we consider a range of objective criteria including the income and capital resources of the families applying. It is anticipated that bursary awards will last for the duration of the student’s time at school. We re-assess every year to take account of significant changes in family income and circumstances. A bursary may go up or down to reflect these. This ensures those most in need receive our support.

For more information on eligibility criteria for bursary applications please see the GDST website at https://www.gdst.net/about-us/fees-and-bursaries/

Very rarely, the school may withdraw a bursary or scholarship if, for example, you provide inaccurate information, or your child’s behaviour or work is unsatisfactory.

Complete a school application form to register your daughter indicating that you would like to apply for financial assistance. You will be required to supply a valid email address.

The school will provide you with logon details to enable you to access the online ‘Declaration of Income & Assets’ form, which you should complete and submit before the closing date advised. You will need to provide proof of your income and assets, such as P60s, payslips, HMRC self-assessment forms, mortgage statements, council tax bills, or recent benefits paperwork. Original documents are required in the first year of application.

You should send the declaration and supporting documents well in advance of the school’s entrance examination. Please send to:

GDST Bursary Department
10 Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DH

and not to the school for which you are applying.

Please ensure you use the correct postage, and send it ‘signed for‘ to increase the chances of safe delivery.

The GDST will assess your eligibility for a bursary. Our staff may also make an appointment to visit you at home. The GDST then lets the school know whether you qualify and the maximum amount of financial assistance we can offer you.