Bursary Programme


Social inclusion and accessibility to people on all income streams is an expressed objective of Wicklow Democratic School.

Wicklow Democratic School does not receive state funding through the Department of Education & Skills and so charges membership dues, on a cost sharing basis, to cover all operational costs.

Reduced membership dues, based on a sliding scale of gross household income and subject to a minimum and maximum amount. are offered to families who may not be in a position to pay standard membership dues.

For many families the minimal amount may prove to be prohibitive due to being unaffordable. 



Democratic Education Bursary Programme Policy


The WDS Democratic Education Bursary Fund and Programme have been established to support families who financially struggle to access or stay in democratic education.

Wicklow Democratic School has the goal of 20% of the student body being made up of bursary placements.

Bursary placements are for a full school year.

Families who identify with the school’s vision, values and ethos and would like to send their children to the school but are hindered in this due to financial reasons, can apply for financial support through the Bursary Programme. 

Bursary placements are voluntarily refundable on an honour-bound basis. This refund obligation being honour-bound also means there is no legal obligation to refund. It is the bursary recipients who judge themselves as to whether their circumstances have changed sufficiently to make equivalent refunds in whole or in part possible. It is fully recognised that such improved financial circumstances may only arise some years after the benefiting student(s) have passed through the school. All bursary refunds go directly into the Bursary Fund and so help continue this programme for present and future families requiring such financial assistance.


Programme management and administration

The WDS Democratic Education Bursary Programme is managed and administered by a Bursary Circle in accordance with the below.


Programme Aim

Provision of family financial assistance to make attendance possible for qualified students who would not otherwise be able to do so for financial reasons.


Programme Principles

  1. The programme’s policy and procedures are open and transparent.
  2. Bursaries are awarded or renewed annually on the basis of an annual application evaluation.
  3. Bursaries are refundable by the beneficiary families on a voluntary honour-bound basis.
  4. The Bursary Fund is independent of the School budget.
  5. Bursary applications, renewal evaluations and award decisions are the responsibility of the Bursary Circle.
  6. The Bursary Circle is constituted to be reasonably independent and autonomous of the School’s management and Board of Trustees.
  7. Bursary renewals are subject to availability of sufficient funds in the Bursary Fund.



Bursaries are open to all families with children who are, or about to be, students in the school. Applicant families are requested to review the values and philosophy of the school before making an application. 

In order to qualify for the Programme, applicant families must:

  • Be resident in Ireland
  • Have a Gross Household Income of < €20,000
  • Have submitted an Admissions Inquiry Form (does not apply to re-enrolling students) (Bursary forms are exempt form €75 admin fee)
  • Be familiar with, and in agreement with, the educational philosophy of the school 
  • Not be a relation of an employee or Board member of Wicklow Democratic School (son, daughter, parent, sibling, niece, nephew, or grandchild)


  • Desirable:
    • Have attended an Open Day or Admissions Meeting


Application order of priority

In any year, in line with the programme principles above, families are considered for bursaries in the below order of priority:

  1. Families of students in the school who are already receiving bursaries;
  2. Families of students who are already in the school but whose financial circumstances have changed such that a bursary may be required.
  3. New enrolments


Bursary Application, Renewal, Review, Award Decision, Deadlines and Adjudication


Bursary Programme Application Forms 

Forms can be accessed here.


Bursary Application Process

To apply for a bursary, an applicant family submits a completed Bursary Programme Application Form and forwards the requested supporting documentation in relation to their finances by email to the Bursary Circle ( on or before midnight of 7th July.

Any applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

The Bursary Circle will manage the Bursary Fund and will evaluate, and adjudicate on, all new and renewal bursary applications, and communicate their award decisions to the applicant families. The Bursary Circle will exercise due confidentiality in regard to all applications.


Bursary annual renewal

Bursaries are awarded for one year only, but all bursaries are renewable each year on application. Families seeking a bursary renewal follow the same Bursary Application Process outlined above.



Funding the Bursary Fund

The two main Bursary Fund funding sources are

  1. Voluntary donations from school patrons, friends, alumni and other donors; and
  2. Past beneficiaries of the bursaries repaying the equivalent of the bursary funds they received in part or in whole.

The Bursary Circle welcomes all donations and refunds to the Bursary Fund. To this end, it will stay in contact with these beneficiary families / parents / students through the School’s Secretary in the same way it stays in contact with all school families and alumni.

After a bursary has been offered and accepted, the Bursary Fund Donors for that place are advised on the age of student as well as their anticipated graduation year and requested to consider funding their full term of education in WDS.


Sliding Scale Tuition

Sliding Scale Tuition