Expert advice on the admissions process for some of London's best independent schools.
How do you get into the best independent schools at 11 plus?
We all know children who breeze through exams without a care in the world and other children who are crippled by fear and anxiety before and during their exams. It’s important for your child to realise how much feelings of dread or panic during their exam will slow them down, distract them and cause them to make silly mistakes.
As a parent, you have a major role to play in not making the exams too high stake for your children and praising them for their efforts rather than their achievements. Remind them regularly that the exam is not the ‘be all and end all’ and that you’ll be very proud of them simply for doing their best.
Reassure them that they will end up in the right senior school for them and you mean that sincerely.
Watch what you say in front of them with other adults as children listen in to parents chatting about the senior school entrance and can pick up some very negative, stress-inducing messages from careless criticism of other children and parents.
Teach your child simple relaxation techniques to use if they feel panicked in their exam. Techniques such as slowing down and taking a series of deep, calming breaths can help when anxiety hits. Our school entrance coordinator or your tutor can advise further on developing techniques to steady your child’s nerves. We have detailed guides on admissions for the following London independent schools:
The fees do range significantly but fees of around £6,000 per term for day schools and double that for boarding are not that uncommon. Schools resort to their own bursaries. In some cases these bursary programmes are considerable and many schools will offer partial bursaries to parents earning up to around £100,000. They are able to do this because the British education system is an exportable commodity.
Many schools actively recruit Chinese or Russian students and then use the money from those parents to subsidise British parents through the bursary system. Schools often operate an effective maximum cap on overseas students in order to preserve a sense that it is a British school, rather than a school with an expat feel to it.
However, the 7 Plus entry does not always guarantee entry to the senior school. Schools operate three different systems. Schools like Sydenham High operate a policy that being in the Prep School affords no advantage in the 11+. JAGS state that all children will be entered for the exam but the children will get unconditional offers before taking the exam – thereby turning the exam into a scholarship exam. Dulwich College have children move directly into the senior school at 11 if they have already previously passed their 7+.
Most schools maintain that they set their own exams so that they can pick children who best fit the ethos of the schools. However, these tests are generally adapted from one of two testing companies. Normally the assessments include:
The entrance exam is the most important exam your child will take before their GCSEs. Unlike with GCSEs there are no re-sits. Sitting the exam is not a question of a few weekends preparation. Most successful candidates have had a 12 month campaign, complete with:
Contact us for expert advice about 11+ tuition and the next steps for your child.