Alleyn's School

Admissions Guide

Alleyn's School Admissions Alleyn's School

Are you looking into Alleyn’s Senior School for the next step in your child’s education? Find out everything you need to know about the admissions process, and how to help your child succeed.

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The admissions process for Alleyn’s School

Registration for 11 plus and 16 plus entry opens on 1st September the year before admission and typically closes towards the end of November. Registration for September 2022 entry will open in September 2021. The school requires you to complete a form detailing basic information about your child and yourself, any current connection with Alleyn’s (eg. a sibling that is already in attendance) and any scholarship or bursaries that you are applying for. The registration fee is £150, which you’ll need to pay when you submit your form.

Once you submit your registration, Alleyn’s will request a report from your child’s current school and any letters from an educational psychologist if applicable.

In Year 7, Alleyn’s admit about 150 children into their Senior School – a third of these admissions will be children already attending the Alleyn’s Junior School, with the remainder made up of children from a variety of state and independent schools.

In the Alleyn’s Upper School, they admit a small number of pupils into their Sixth Form – there will be a great deal more applicants than existing places, making the entrance exam crucial to your child’s success. The majority of pupils admitted to the Alleyn’s Sixth Form do come from their Senior School.

One of our many experts in the school entrance exams can help guide you through the process and ease any worries that you or your child may have.

How to get into Alleyn's Senior School, by visiting the building of Alleyn's shown.

Senior School Admissions

Following successful deployment of the ISEB Pre Test during Covid-19 restrictions, Alleyn’s have made the decision to proceed with this again for 2022 entry. These tests take place online and will be the first stage in the Alleyn’s assessment process. The written entrance exam will then take place on 7th January 2022.

Taking about two and a half hours to complete, the ISEB Pre Test covers the following topics:

  • Verbal reasoning: covering areas such as common words, antonyms, word combinations and letter transfer.
  • Non-verbal reasoning: this topic tests areas including shape analogies and horizontal codes.
  • English: reading comprehension, spelling, punctuation and sentence completion.
  • Mathematics: content for this is in line with the National Curriculum topics taught up to the end of Year 5.

This new test for the Alleyn’s entrance exam may sound daunting; however, Mentor has years of experience in preparing children for the ISEB which has been used by UK boarding schools for many years. It is very different from the long form written exams Alleyn’s usually set and it is very much worth tailoring your efforts towards this specific exam. For example, there is no creative writing element to the exam and all answers are multiple choice.

A young girl working at a desk in her classroom

Timing is even more important than usual in an ISEB test and students should work towards a pace which is broadly consistent with picking up 1 mark per minute. This is difficult for any ten year old and requires lots of practice. Exam technique is also particularly important with an ISEB test as unlike with a written exam, the pupil cannot go back at the end to tackle questions they found hard.  They will also have to practice guessing multiple choice answers, whilst eliminating as many wrong answers as possible. 

Tailored tutoring could be the key to helping your child to stand out – from academic support to exam technique, our tutors can work with your child to provide them with the knowledge and self-confidence to tackle the online test. Find out more about how Mentor can help your child prepare for the Pre Test.

Sample exam papers

Find sample past papers for the Alleyn’s written exam below.

Admissions interview

Children who score highly enough on the written entrance exam will be invited for an interview at Alleyn’s, some time in January.  Each child typically has a group assessment followed by an individual interview.

The Alleyn’s interview is a very important part of the selection process and not just a box ticking exercise. Academic ability is a given but personality and a ‘have a go’ attitude is key.  

An example of a recent group assessment would be three candidates with one Alleyn’s teacher planning a survival trip with a group discussion about what to take in terms of resources and what to leave behind.  There are no right or wrong answers, and all resources could be argued for example, bottled water, sun cream, fishing rod but the group must collectively pick three items out of a larger group of items. Important considerations for your child to think about include the ability to work well as part of a team, listen to other children, listen to instructions carefully and be able to argue logically for their own choices.

Following the group session, candidates have an individual interview with a member of staff. Alleyn’s is known for its challenging interviews, which test critical thinking skills and are difficult to prepare for. Notorious questions have included:

  • Would you rather come to school on an elephant or a giraffe and why?
  • Explain yellow to a blind person?

Children will really benefit from having tackled this sort of question beforehand, so they are not thrown on the day. It is important for candidates to grasp that there is no right or wrong answer to these sorts of questions and interviewers are just trying to see how they think and if they can articulate their ideas well. Candidates are also often shown a mysterious object and asked to work out what it might be. 

From experience, we believe it is clear that Alleyn’s don’t just interview for very bright children, but also ‘normal’ kids who are happy and friendly and behave in an age appropriate way. The teachers pick children they would like to teach.

Preparing your child for this sort of interview can feel like something of a minefield – you want them to have done enough work to feel ready for it, but not so much that their responses appear rehearsed. The thought of an interview can also be quite daunting for some children who find it harder to express their views, which is why confidence is key!

Every year Mentor run individual and group sessions to build confidence. Focusing on interview prep and what to expect, we encourage children to develop answers and present their best self by instilling that sense of self-assurance and confidence.

16+ admissions

Students wishing to study for their A levels at Alleyn’s will have to sit three papers:

  • Qualitative Reasoning: testing mathematical skills, this non-calculator paper consists of multiple choice questions that range in difficulty, but should be accessible for students studying Maths at GCSE.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: this paper tests skills in analysing written information and data such as graphs or tables, with multiple choice questions.
  • Critical Thinking: students will write a short essay on a general question, with details given on how to structure their answer.
help your child get into alleyn's at 16+

Although your child will have to perform well in all three of these papers, Alleyn’s will primarily assess scores in the two papers that are most relevant to the A level subjects that they have chosen to study. Work out the strengths of your child’s knowledge and identify any gaps they may have with help from one of our experts in Alleyn’s 16+ entrance. Our tutors can create a tailored study plan and practice papers suited to your child’s level and existing skills.

16+ interview

If your child performs well enough at their 16+ entrance exam, they will be invited for interviews, due to be This will involve:

  • An interview with teachers from the Upper School to discuss your child’s subject choices and why they want to attend Alleyn’s
  • Three separate interviews in your child’s three A level subject choices. The interviewer will focus on why your child wants to study that subject and ask them questions to assess their potential to achieve in that subject.

The Mentor team can help advise you about many routes from reading lists to puzzle games to top revision tips, and we have also produced a White Paper which helps to illustrate the many ways you can help your child succeed. 

Meet our tutors for Alleyn’s School

If you’d like an experienced third party to help you stay on track with your preparation, see below our range of specialist school entrance tutors with significant Alleyn’s entrance experience. 

With more than 40 years of experience in tutoring children to gain admission to some of London’s most competitive independent schools, we at Mentor have a wealth of knowledge on how best to prepare your child for Alleyn’s entry. 

Over 80% of our tutors are qualified teachers, so they have an in-depth knowledge of their subject, the syllabus and the most effective teaching methods. Many have been heads of department, head teachers or examiners and all come with a wealth of experience and a great track record of success. All have been reference checked and have up-to-date DBS certificates. Wherever possible we will match your child with a tutor who has a track record at Alleyn’s themselves.

For some information on our tutors’ unique approach to testing children in preparation for exams, contact our team.

More on Alleyn’s School

A coeducational day school in Dulwich, South London, Alleyn’s recently celebrated 400th anniversary of the founding of the Dulwich Schools, along with Dulwich College and JAGS.

Whilst academic achievement is key for Alleyn’s, the school ethos is very much focused on enabling pupils to become well-rounded individuals through their more nurturing approach, instilling self-confidence, leadership qualities and social skills. They do also have a sibling policy, meaning candidates with siblings already at Alleyn’s will be given priority admission where possible, provided that they perform well enough in the entrance exam and interview (no mean feat!). The school is undoubtedly very tough to get into, especially given their stellar results when it comes to higher education and university admissions. 14% of pupils go on to attend Oxbridge, with 43% of GCSEs achieved at grade 9 and 30% of A Levels at A*. 

Although diversity is generally not well represented in the Independent School sector, Alleyn’s are making genuine efforts to improve this. Gary Savage’s reign saw great changes to the student body which now represents children from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. 10% ten of Senior School pupils receive a reduction in fees – with 70% of these being fully funded. In fact, the Alleyn’s bursary scheme is considered to be one of the most transformative in the country. 

The school has entry points at 4, 7, 9, 11 and 16, with over 1,250 pupils aged 4-18, split almost 50/50 between boys and girls. With over 200 weekly clubs and activities, over 26 acres of land and a sports programme of including water polo, cricket and football among many others, extra-curricular life at Alleyn’s is easily as rich as the academic offering. Surprisingly for such a highly academic co-ed school it punches well above its weight in many sporting categories, with many teams competing in (and winning) National and Regional competitions. The past few years has seen great advancements in girls sport in particular, a highlight being a national win (ISFA) for the girl’s u18 football team.  

The incoming head of Alleyn’s, Jane Lunnon, will be starting in January 2021. Voted Tatler’s Best Head of a Public School 2020, Lunnon is nothing short of a Superhead and her fantastic reputation precedes her, with highly regarded tenures as Head at Wimbledon High School and Senior Deputy Head at Wellington College.  Taking over from Gary Savage, who was head at Alleyn’s for ten years, she has described the opportunity as an “enormous privilege” and is sure to bring a dynamic approach to her leadership at the school.

Open Days

Before registering your child for admission, we recommend that you and your child attend a school Open Event. Our tutors note that pupils who have experienced the school themselves come across as better prepared at interview and indeed more settled upon beginning their school career at Alleyn’s. 

See this year’s Virtual Open Day for Alleyn’s Senior School and their Upper School.


£6,950 per term for Years 7-13. Year 7 children have compulsory school lunches (£220 per term) and children in Year 8 and above can buy school lunches for around £3 a day.


Many of our Tutors have had great scholarship success and are experienced with pushing the boundaries of learning for exceptional students. Alleyn’s offer academic scholarships worth up to £5,000 a year based on performance at the entrance exam, as well as scholarships in music, sport and art.

Contact details for Alleyn’s School

Address: Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, London, SE22 8SU

Telephone: 020 8557 1500

Email: reception@alleyns.org.uk

Website: www.alleyns.org.uk

Local Authority: Southwark

School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 100864

Gender: Co-educational

Age Range: 4-18

Get in touch

We have many experts on entrance to Alleyn’s here at Mentor and are ready to guide you through the new entrance format during Covid-19 measures. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help your child gain admission to Alleyn’s, or for further information on admissions into the top London schools.

Unit 6C Hillgate Place
SW12 9ER

020 8883 2519