Sixth form is without doubt the fiercest entry point, particularly if your child is seeking to move into one of the top independent schools.
Take Eton, for example, which has average four to six places available per year. Nevertheless, an increasing number of children move schools at sixth form, the all-important stepping stone between school and university. More places are available at girls’ schools than boys’, as girls often want to get used to co-ed life before they move on to university.
Registrations should be in by the end of September Year 11 for sixth form entry. For some schools this will include a personal statement and CV, and assessments take place during November. For boarding schools, applicants are often invited to the school and assessed over a period of three to four days. Offers are generally made at the beginning of December Year 11, but will be conditional on GCSE results. Highly selective boarding schools will ask for around 6 A / A* grades or upwards, and mixed-ability range schools will ask for a baseline of GCSE results, though the required grades will be less demanding.
While there is much competition for sixth-form slots, applicants have more to show for themselves in terms of academic records, and anxieties about late bloomers under-performing at 11+ or 13+ will be less of a concern. Many schools will also require tests in the subjects a student intends to take in the sixth form (this includes the IB Programme).