McAuley Scholarship Programme

Introduction 

Each academic year, OLA makes available a range of Scholarship awards under the McAuley Scholarship Programme. The programme, which is named after our school founder, Catherine McAuley, recognises and supports students with exceptional talents, both in academic and extra-curricular activities. On this page you will find details of all of our Scholarships. 

All Scholarships must be applied for during the preceding Michaelmas term. Lower Sixth Scholarship by 25 September 2020 and Years 7 and 9 Scholarships by 19 October 2020. Scholarships are not means tested. 

Scholarships Available:

1. Academic Scholarships – Available for Years 7 and 9

OLA is renowned for the ‘value added’ it provides for pupils through its nurturing ethos, small class sizes and exceptional teaching. Results in public examinations have been consistently outstanding, and students regularly proceed to Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group universities.

Pupils in Year 6, whether internal or external, may apply to be entered for the Year 7 Academic Scholarship. External pupils in Year 8 may apply for a Year 9 Academic Scholarship.

Candidates will be required to demonstrate:

• Excellence in written papers
• Initiative, drive and a lively mind
• Good all-round ability with a strong interest in one or more subjects
• The desire and ability to contribute to the ethos and life of OLA

All applicants are required to bring to interview a recent piece of written school work. They should be prepared to discuss this piece of work during their scholarship interview.

As well as the Academic Scholarship, pupils can also apply for the Art, Drama, Music and Sports Scholarships (see below).

The Academic Scholarship award is 10% of school fees and continues until the end of Year 11.

2. Sixth Form Academic Scholarship

OLA 6th offers a broad range of A Level options with all subjects being delivered in small class sizes by expert practitioners.

Students in Year 11, whether internal or external, may apply to be entered for the Sixth Form Academic Scholarship.

Candidates must demonstrate:

​• Academic excellence, particularly in their potential A Level subjects
• Initiative, drive and a lively mind at interview
• A desire and ability to contribute to the ethos and life of OLA

Applicants for a Sixth Form Academic Scholarship are asked to include with their application a piece of written work relating to one of their chosen A Level subjects, for example a piece of GCSE coursework or assignment. Students should be prepared to discuss this piece of work during their scholarship interview.

The Academic Scholarship award is 10% of school fees and continues until the end of Sixth Form.

As well as the Academic Scholarship, Lower Sixth students can also apply for the Art, Design Technology, Drama, Music, Sports and Textiles Scholarships (see below).

3. Art Scholarships – Available for Years 7, 9 and Lower Sixth

OLA has long been renowned for the quality of the art its pupils produce. The main entrance to OLA’s Senior School is always vibrant with GCSE and A Level artwork.

The Art Scholarship rewards artistic excellence.

Candidates are required to:

• Submit a portfolio of work
• Attend an interview where they will be asked to discuss work in a range of media
• Demonstrate a desire and ability to contribute to the ethos and life of OLA

Successful candidates are expected to study art at GCSE or A Level, as appropriate.

The Art Scholarship award continues until the end of Year 11 or, if granted in the Lower Sixth, to the end of Sixth Form.

4. Design Technology Scholarships – Available for Lower Sixth

Design Technology is an extremely important part of shaping the world that we live in. At OLA we encourage pupils to explore their ideas and make them a reality.

The Design Technology Department comprises of two dedicated rooms, one of which is formatted into specialist areas.  Facilities include a well-equipped manufacturing workshop and a separate design area where students can develop their design skills through prototyping. The department has state of the art CAD/CAM facilities including a laser cutter, micro router and a 3D printer.

Design Technology Scholarships awards are offered to help nurture emerging creativity and reward dedication, application and ambition in the subject.

Candidates will be expected to:

• Show and discuss a portfolio of exemplar design work along with a product that they have previously manufactured. Candidates are encouraged to present and discuss work carried out both at the school and in their own time

• Be willing to participate and pursue the subject with dedication and passion while making a significant extra – curricular commitment in a range of areas associated with the subject

• Act as ambassadors for the subject and encourage and inspire other students

• Demonstrate a desire and ability to contribute to the ethos and life of OLA

Candidates must have studied Design Technology at GCSE and are expected to study the subject at A level. They need to demonstrate a passion and dedication for the subject and are expected to become involved in Design Technology opportunities throughout the school year including the summer Design Exhibition. If granted the award will continue to the end of the Sixth Form.

5. Drama Scholarships – Available for Years 7, 9 and Lower Sixth

The Performing Arts programme at OLA provides frequent opportunities for pupils to develop their talents both inside and outside the curriculum. Our impressive drama studio and auditorium regularly stage outstanding works, whether in performances assessed for public exams or for school plays, which have recently included Romeo and Juliet and Hairspray.

The Drama Scholarship rewards students who demonstrate excellence in and passion for the Dramatic Arts. Candidates must demonstrate:

• Superior vocal and movement skills
• An appreciation of the content and style of performance material
• A desire and ability to contribute to the ethos and life of OLA

Candidates are required to attend an audition. If selected, Years 7 and 9 must then go on to study Drama at GCSE. All successful candidates will be expected to participate in the annual school play.

The Drama Scholarship award continues until the end of Year 11 or, if granted in the Lower Sixth, to the end of Sixth Form.

6. Music Scholarships – Available for Years 7, 9 and Lower Sixth

Music is at the centre of all that OLA offers. Pupils regularly go on to study music at university having achieved the highest grades in their public exams. Through our ensembles, orchestra and choirs, pupils have regular opportunities to turn practice into performance.

The Music Scholarship provides help to nurture young talent, reward excellence and support musical potential. Candidates will be required to attend an audition and an interview to demonstrate:

• Innate musical skills
• That they are working towards or beyond the ABRSM standards applicable for the award: Year 7 – Grade 4, Year 9 – Grade 5, and Lower Sixth – Grade 7
• A desire and ability to contribute to the ethos and life of OLA

The Music Scholarship award provides free individual tuition for one instrument at school by one of the school’s visiting music staff. For exceptionally gifted students this may be extended to two instruments. The award continues until the end of Year 11 or, if granted in the Lower Sixth, to the end of Sixth Form. 

7. Sports Scholarships – Available for Years 7, 9 and Lower Sixth

OLA offers an extensive programme of sports that encourages students to excel in their chosen disciplines. In recent years OLA alumni have included an international athlete, a tennis player and a county cricketer. Netball, badminton and swimming are other sports in which OLA students have excelled in regional and national competitions.


The Sports Scholarship recognises sporting excellence, achievement and potential.

Candidates who apply must demonstrate:

• High levels of performance and ability in one or more of OLA’s competitive sports
​• A commitment to all relevant sporting clubs in which the applicant demonstrates potential 
• A desire and ability to contribute to the ethos and life of OLA

The Sports Scholarship award continues until the end of Year 11 or, if granted in the Lower Sixth, to the end of Sixth Form. 

Those awarded the Scholarship are continually reviewed to ensure all requirements are being met satisfactorily.

8. Textiles Scholarships – Available for Lower Sixth

The Textiles department has benefited from significant development and investment in recent years. As a result, pupils can use top of the range facilities and industrial equipment. The department also has its own dedicated Computer Aided Design room where all pupils are taught to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to complement their creativity. 

The Textiles Scholarship rewards students who demonstrate an aptitude and passion for Textiles. Candidates will be expected to: 

• Show and discuss a portfolio of their design work along with a textiles product that they have previously produced. Candidates are encouraged to present work carried out both at school and in their own time

• Demonstrate a desire and ability to contribute to the ethos and life of OLA

If selected, candidates must then go on to study Textiles at A Level.

The Textiles Scholarship award continues until the end of Sixth Form.

9. All Rounder Scholarship – Available for Years 9 and Lower Sixth

All Rounder Scholarships are awarded to current OLA pupils in Year 9 or Lower Sixth on the recommendation of the School’s staff and at the discretion of the Principal.

The All Rounder Scholarship:

• Requires no formal application
• Recognises OLA students who are achieving very well academically and are making substantial contributions to the life of the School

The All Rounder Scholarship award is 10% of school fees and is reviewed annually.


Scholarships Application Key Dates 

School application forms and further details of all Scholarships, as well as the School’s Scholarship Policy, are available on request from Admissions. Key dates for Scholarship applications for entry to the School in September 2020 are given below.

Lower Sixth Scholarships:  Academic, Music, Art, Textiles, Design Technology, Drama, Sports
Closing date for applications:  Friday 25 September 2020
Interviews and auditions:  Monday 12 October 2020

Year 7 and 9 Scholarships:  Music, Art, Drama, Sports
Closing date for applications:  Monday 19 October 2020
Interviews & auditions:  Friday 6 November 2020