The word school is derived from the Latin ‘schola’.  However, in the same way that the word ‘church’ originally referred to a group of people gathered in collective worship rather than to a place of worship, the Latin word ‘schola’ refers to leisure time given to learning rather than to the classrooms in which learning takes place.  The original meaning of the Latin ‘schola’ is preserved in the words scholar, scholarly and scholarship.

It is worth reflecting on the idea that to be a scholar requires devoting your free time to learning, whether it be learning an instrument, a sport or more traditional academic disciplines.  At the heart of what it means to be a scholar is the idea that scholarliness grows from a dedication to something that manifests itself as a willingness, an eagerness even, to devote all the time you can find to pursuing excellence in a particular field.

With this in mind, the decision to apply for a scholarship must be driven by how much a child enjoys art or drama or whatever discipline is being considered.  If a child has only reached Grade 7 on the bassoon under duress, it is unlikely they are going to enjoy the hours that they will be asked to devote to various orchestras, ensembles and choirs as a music scholar.  Similarly, pursuit of an academic scholarship should be driven by a deep love of learning and an eagerness to share ideas and engage in intellectual debate, rather than from a shallow desire to feel superior to others.

At Vinehall, it is our intention to nurture the interests and talents of all our children.  In awarding scholarships, our aim is not to honour attainment, but to recognise those children who are eager to devote themselves to a particular discipline and whose dedication and application are an example to their fellow pupils.  We want the children to understand that a scholar does not distinguish themselves by the badge or tie they wear, but by the way they behave, by the resilience they show when they are struggling and the courage that characterises their pursuit of excellence.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell argues that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any particular discipline is practice – 10,000 hours of practice to be precise.  More specifically it is necessary to practise in the correct way, which generally means having a good teacher.  At Vinehall we do not expect our pupils who are pursuing scholarships to senior schools to have managed 10,000 hours of practice yet, but we do expect them to practise and we also recognise the importance of having good teachers to guide that practice.

Whether pupils are applying for academic scholarships or music scholarships, art scholarships or drama scholarships, sport scholarships or design technology scholarships, we understand that the children need individualised support to enable them to succeed.  We are fortunate to have superb teachers who have the experience and expertise to guide children successfully through the scholarship process.

In recent years, our pupils have been awarded an array of scholarships to some of the leading schools in the country including Tonbridge, Brighton College, Charterhouse, King’s Canterbury, Dulwich College, Gordonstoun, Eastbourne, Bede’s and Uppingham.

Vinehall are now taking scholarship applications for children gifted in academics, sport, art, music and drama.  Please email for further details.

Published in Kudos