Schools vary in their admissions processes, and when it comes to applying to a senior school, it’s important to be well prepared.
In many cases, the 13+ application deadline is up to three years prior to entry, and it’s rare for schools to accommodate latecomers (especially in London).
For a high-ranking London day school, it is common to have over 1,000 candidates sitting for 150 or so places. Many schools have entry points at 11+ and 13+, so you will need to determine which would give your child the best chance.
An increasing number of schools are using a pre-test to slim down large numbers of applicants in advance. This is either their own design, or the ISEB Common Pre-test (a list of schools who use this can be found here). The ISEB has been called a ‘pre-pre-test’, as schools like St. Paul’s and Westminster will still conduct their own pre-tests after conducting the ISEB.
11+ tends to be a more straightforward process, in that at many schools you can register during the first term of Year 6. However there is huge variation in the difficulty of assessment tests. Typically, there are exams in Maths, English, Science and Verbal/Non-verbal Reasoning. These are usually taken in the January of Year 6.
The best way to really understand the intricacies of the entry procedures for each school is by talking to the people who know them best - the schools themselves. At the show this year there are over 100 of the UK’s leading senior schools exhibiting, from London and across the UK.
In our theatre sessions leading experts and senior school heads will be discussing all the key issues for senior school entry. I would like to highlight one particular talk, by William Petty, one of London’s leading experts on entry procedures and preparation. His talk ‘Year 5-8 Conundrums' will give you a good strategic overview. It takes place on Saturday at 11.15am and Sunday at 12pm. You can find out more about all the theatre sessions here.