City of London School

Admissions Guide

How to get into City of London School

Are you looking into City of London School for the 11 plus? Find out everything you need to know about the admissions process, and how to help your son succeed.

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Introduction to City of London School

City of London School is a high achieving private day school for boys on the banks of the Thames next to Millennium Bridge. Approaching its 580th anniversary, CLS has long upheld a reputation for academic and co-curricular excellence, wonderful pastoral care, and a diverse and enthusiastic pupil body.

City of London aims to fully prepare respectful, optimistic and inquisitive boys to meet the demands of the world as the best versions of themselves. Aspiring to provide an education in the broadest sense, the school takes an outward-looking and forward-thinking approach to education. City of London is highly competitive, considering its outstanding results when it comes to higher education and university admissions. In 2022, 96% of GCSEs achieved at Grade 9-7 (A*-A), and 66% achieved the top grade 9. In the same year, 91% of A Levels were achieved at A* or A. Of the 2022 leavers, 26 went on to study at Oxbridge.

CLS is known for its high academic status and exceptional exam results. However, while that status usually goes hand in hand with a “hothouse” reputation, CLS has generally avoided that, despite being known as academically demanding. City of London is known for being a grounded, welcoming and down to earth school. Pastoral care is a high priority; there is an intense focus on student welfare and a highly praised PHSE programme. City of London prides itself on being a culturally, socially, and economically diverse community. Alan Bird has served as the Headmaster at City of London since 2018, previously Deputy Head at Brighton College for five years.


£7,019 per term for Years 7-13. A deposit equal to one term’s school fees is required upon acceptance of a place. A portion of this is offset against the first term’s fees, and the remainder taken off your final school fees payment.

11 plus open days at City of London

Before registering your son for admission, we recommend that you and your son attend a City of London Open Event. This will give your son a sense of what life is like attending City of London, the facilities it offers, and offers a chance to meet members of staff and current pupils. We have found boys who attend Open Events are better prepared in interviews and more confident upon entering in September.

City of London usually host two Open Events in late September to early October that are available to book on the school website here. For applicants aiming to join Year 7 in 2024, Open events are scheduled for the 28th of September and the 4th of October 2023. There is also a virtual tour of the school available all year round.

children studying for the 11+ exam

The 11 Plus admissions process at City of London

Applications for 2024 entry to City of London are now open and will be until the 3rd of November 2023. Typically, applications for 11 plus at City of London are open from April when your son is in Year 5 to the beginning of November of his Year 6. Candidates must pay a non-refundable registration fee of £150 upon completing the online form.

There are 40 to 44 places available for 10 plus entry into Old Grammar, City of London’s Year 6. Entry registration for the Old Grammar closes in the November of a boys Year 5.

At 11 plus, City of London accept 55 to 60 boys into the Senior School. There are usually around 40 available places for 13 plus entry and approximately 12-15 available for 16 plus entry. Around 800 to children apply at the 11 plus. Year on year however, this number is subject to change. This means the odds of securing a place is usually around 1 in 13 but can be as high as 1 in 20. While City of London welcomes applications from family of existing or previous students, there is no preferential consideration given.

11 plus exam content at City of London

All applicants to City of London will sit the initial entrance exam in the December of their Year 6. Everyone will be invited to the school to sit written papers in Maths and English. Those who perform the best in that exam will be invited back to the school later in the month to sit written papers in Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. These papers are generally very challenging, with many boys finding the technique and time management especially difficult so it is vital to prepare in advance. City of London provides sample papers for the English and Maths as well as a content checklist for Maths on its website. Candidates applying for a 2024 place will initially be examined on the 1st of December 2023. Invitations for the second assessment will be sent out on the 7th of December to be sat on the 13th of December.

The Maths exam is 1 hour long, requiring boys to work at picking up a mark a minute. The exam will test boy’s arithmetic and problem-solving skills. They will need to work creatively and logically to solve unfamiliar problems.

The English exam is 1 hour long. Half of this should be spent on the comprehension section, and half on the creative writing section. In the comprehension section, boys are given a passage of text and have to answer challenging multiple choice questions based on it. The passage is generally quite long, containing complex sentences, unfamiliar vocabulary, and lengthy paragraphs. In the creative writing section, boys may be asked to continue the story told in the passage. Boys will be assessed on spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and ability to read, understand and respond to a given text.

Candidates will also sit challenging Reasoning papers. Often, primary schools do not teach Reasoning. This is an important discipline that plays a big part in 11 plus success, particularly at City of London. Children will have a natural ability level at Reasoning, but practice definitely helps, and confidence grows with familiarity.

If you want an experienced third party to help you stay on track, our specialist tutors have significant City of London entrance experience.

11 plus interviews at City of London

Those who perform well in the first entrance examination are invited to City of London for an interview as well as a second exam. The interview will take place in late January in the year your child is expected to enter the school and will last around 20 minutes. It is one-to-one with a teacher at City. The interview is an important part of the admission process and success here is key to get into CLS. It aims to explore a candidate’s interests, academic character, personal qualities, and aptitudes. Boys may be asked to demonstrate their academic ability in the interview. Previously, boys were given a passage to read and discuss, or maths problems to solve.

Teachers are looking for enthusiastic, confident boys who they will enjoy having at the school, and who will make the most of what the school has to offer. It is important your son can engage and respond during a discussion. To do well at the interview he must be able to clearly articulate himself and answer the question given – rather than meander around a point. At City of London, they prefer not to have boys appear over practised in the interview. If your child’s answers come across as rehearsed or planned, they will be less likely to get offered a place.

The thought of an interview can be quite daunting for some boys who find it harder to express their views. So, every year Mentor runs 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.

11 plus scholarships at City of London School

Many of our tutors are experienced with pushing the boundaries of learning for exceptional students, achieving great scholarship success. All applicants at City of London are automatically eligible for an academic scholarship. Those who perform exceptionally well on the entrance exam will be expected to demonstrate that they are of high academic calibre and potential during the interview. Academic scholarships are awarded to those who perform exceptionally well in both the exam and interview. All scholarships are worth £250.

City of London also offer Music and Sport scholarship at 11 plus. Music Scholarships are awarded on the basis of an audition and interview. Music Scholars will receive free tuition on two instruments at the School, or the equivalent monetary value towards external tuition in addition to the monetary value of a Scholarship. Sports scholarships are awarded based on your son’s performance in a sports trial. In addition to the monetary value of a Scholarship, Sports Scholars are eligible to receive funding from the Sports Scholarship Fund to support their personal and team sporting development. All candidates must also satisfy City of London’s normal academic entry requirements.

Find a tutor

To guarantee your son the best chance of admission to City of London, offer him some additional support from one of our tutors. Many of our over 200 tutors are experts in the City of London 11 plus and with bespoke one-to-one tuition, they can help children to achieve success at exams and interviews.

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 son for entry to City of London.

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 up-to-date DBS certificates and are fully reference-checked. Wherever possible we will match your son with a tutor who has a track record at City of London themselves.

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

More information on CLS

The main entry points at City of London are 10+, 11+, 11+, deferred 13+ entry, and 16+. The school has over 900 boys aged 10-18. CLS belongs to a family of schools associated with the City of London Corporation, and enjoy particularly strong links with its sister school, City of London School for Girls.

In addition to its high achieving academics, City of London offer a broad range of co-curricular opportunities for boys. Great effort is made to exploit its iconic location, museums, art galleries, theatres and academic institutions are visited regularly and with ease. Boys are also offered the opportunity to travel the world on an impressive range of educational trips, forming part of City of London’s commitment to developing culturally and socially aware young men. During lunch and after school, boys attend a wide variety of clubs that cater to every interest including Robotics and Programming Society, Zoology Club, Chinese Culture Club, and Cheese Appreciation Society.

The major sports at City of London are Football, Basketball, Cricket and Water polo, while sailing, fencing, karate, athletics and kayaking are just some of the options available as minor sports. City of London School has outstanding facilities both on site and at Grove Park, a twenty acre, privately owned sports ground in south-east London. Drama is encouraged, and boys regularly take part in productions in the 170-seat state of the art Winterflood Theatre, whether that be onstage acting, costume design, or sound and lighting. Music is central to life at City of London, continually impressing boys with opportunities to perform choral, orchestral and chamber music at a high standard. All boys who arrive at CLS learn an instrument. If they already play something, they can choose another orchestral instrument to learn.

City of London School with St Paul's Cathedral in the background

Address: City of London School, Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 3AL

Telephone: 020 3680 6300

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.cityoflondonschool.org.uk

Local Authority: City of London

School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 100003

Gender: Boys

Age Range: 10-18

Get in touch

We have many experts on entrance to City of London School 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 son gain admission to City of London at 11 plus, or for further information on admissions into the top London schools.

Unit 6C Hillgate Place
SW12 9ER

020 8883 2519

[email protected]

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