Birts Bursary from Montessori St Nicholas (MSN) Charity

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

One aspect of MSN’s public benefit is to support and extend the Montessori Method of education and as such it provides financial support to those students who intend to apply for courses at Montessori Centre International (MCI) or who find themselves in financial difficulties part-way through their course.

Each year the Chief Executive and Senior Staff consider applications for bursaries towards the costs of training as a Montessori teacher. A number of discretionary awards for Birts Bursary are made annually and can range in value depending on defined need and competition for limited resources. Please note that only in very rare and exceptional circumstances will the Bursary cover full fees. 

Male Practitioner Bursary

Since 2016, MSN has allocated an award specifically to male applicants with the intention of attracting more males into early years training. MSN feels strongly that there is a need to have more male role models in Montessori settings and to balance the ratios in a predominantly female profession. The process of applying is outlined below.

The Birts Bursary

The Birts Bursaries are awarded annually in memory of Mrs Bridget Birts who was a student and later lecturer in English Language and Literature at the University of London. Bridget started her career researching into early Tudor comedy but gave this up to become a nurse. After training at the Nightingale School at St Thomas’ Hospital, she studied midwifery at Edinburgh.

With two daughters, Bridget decided to study the Montessori method at the St Nicholas College (the precursor of Montessori Centre International) and was asked very quickly to contribute to evening classes and later she went on to work in local primary, secondary and grammar schools. Eventually Bridget concentrated on her work at St Nicholas College, becoming a full time lecturer in 1978.

Bridget found time to learn  seven languages and played the piano, harmonium and organ as well as singing in her college choir. Her husband, Kenneth, became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Montessori St Nicholas Centre in 1981.

In 1983 Kenneth Birts passed away and Bridget set up a bursary fund to provide for the training fees of a UK graduate from any discipline who wanted to become a Montessori teacher. In 2000, the trustees of MSN joined forces with the bursary fund to create the Birts Bursary. These were enlarged from one per annum to the current  discretionary number of awards each year. The awards are now open to non-graduates too.

Bursary Deadlines and Meetings for 2018 – 2019

Deadline for Receipt of Bursary ApplicationsMeeting DateBursary Session
18 March 201922 March 2019Session 1
05 August 201909 August 2019Session 2

Applications must be received by 12 noon on the deadline date. Late applications cannot be considered.


Birts Bursaries are available for Montessori training only and for applicants holding an unconditional offer of a place for the MCI Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy Birth to Seven (Early Years Educator). Applicants for the Foundation Degree/Cert HE in Montessori Early Childhood Practice may also be considered, but must state clearly in their application why they are ineligible for Student Finance England/Wales loans/grants. Applications will also be considered from those students, who, after starting a Montessori course, find they have financial difficulties.  

Location of Study

Applications can only be accepted from those holding unconditional offers to study at MCI London or students studying via Online Learning who meet the residency criteria. Applications cannot be accepted from students studying at MCI sub-sites or external centres.


To be eligible for a bursary you must be:

  • Settled in the UK on the first day of the commencement of study. Settled is defined as being resident in the UK without immigration restriction on the period for which you may remain.

In order to be settled you must have:

  • Right of abode or
  • Be a British Citizen or
  • Indefinite leave to enter/remain or
  • A certificate of entitlement to the right of abode in the UK


  • Have been resident in the UK for the full three years preceding the first day of commencement of the course (as stated above)
  • The main purpose for you being in the UK during this period was not for the purpose of full-time education. Proof of this will be required.


  • The Charity can only accept one application from each candidate;
  •  Only in exceptional circumstances will the full cost of the course be awarded as a bursary;
  • Any bursary awarded must be taken up within one calendar year of the date of the offer letter. Thereafter the award is void;
  • If a candidate withdraws from the course within three months of the start date, the whole of the bursary must be repaid. If a candidate withdraws after three months the balance of the fees must be paid back to the charity;
  • Your referees cannot be employees of Montessori St Nicholas;
  • The Charity may wish to use the names of successful applicants for publicity purposes. Please contact us if you do not wish us to do this.

The Awarding Process

  • Trustees allocate a budget for bursaries. This can vary from year to year;
  • A shortlist of applicants is drawn up and bursaries are awarded on the basis of merit and financial need based on information provided in your Personal Statement and supporting financial evidence. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the application by letter.


“As a result of applying for a Birts scholarship and attending an interview I was awarded a scholarship to help finance my studies and this made all the difference when it came to my decision to embark on the Diploma course in September 2014.

Two years down the line I have completed (and passed!) the course and have recently started working in the school in Norfolk where I finished my placement this summer.   I simply would not have been able to achieve all of this had I not had this wonderful opportunity given to me by the St. Nicholas Charity.”