Highgate School

Admissions Guide

How to get into Highgate School 11 plus admissions

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Are you considering registering your child for entry into Highgate at 11 plus? Find out all you need to know about the admission process, the exam, the interview, and how to help your child succeed.

Introduction to Highgate School

A private coeducational school in the leafy suburb of Highgate, north London, Highgate School educates boys and girls aged 3-18. Suited to bubbly, confident children, Highgate is a slightly bigger school than other private schools in London. With almost 1,500 pupils enrolled, wallflowers may struggle to stand out and anyone lacking in confidence may find themselves overshadowed.

Despite its size, Head Adam Pettitt makes a point of knowing every single student well enough that the school has a much more comfortable feeling than you may first expect. Additionally, although a large number of Year 7 pupils will have been pupils at the Junior School, an external applicant needn’t worry about feeling like an outsider, as there will be almost as many of them!

Pettitt also makes a point of ensuring pupils leave the skill not only with stellar grades and having been happy during their time there, but also being ‘employable’. He is committed to social diversity – with Highgate sponsoring the local state sixth form, London Academy of Excellence in Tottenham.

Highgate Senior School Library


Boasting impressive exam results, 93% of GCSEs were awarded at grades 7-9 in 2023. In the same year, 83% of A-Level grades were awarded at an A-A*. In 2023, 30 of their A level students gained an Oxbridge place. Leavers regularly go on to Russell Group universities. Favourites include Durham, Edinburgh, Imperial, York and UCL.


For the Senior School, it’s £8,830 per term.

Highgate does offer bursaries worth up to 100% of the fees. If you intend to apply for a bursary, indicate this on your application form.

Highgate School Open Day

Highgate host a number of in-person open days in the Summer and during the Autumn term. There is an Open morning scheduled for the 5th of October 2024 for applicants hoping to join Year 7 in 2025. These mornings offer parents and children the opportunity to meet staff and current pupils. We find this is a great help in the 11+ process, particularly for those children who may be slightly nervous. If they’re already somewhat familiar with the school, returning on exam and interview day will be less daunting.

The 11 plus admissions process for Highgate School

At 11 plus, there are about 190 places at Highgate School. Just over 100 of these will go to pupils from Highgate Junior school, with about 80 places awarded to external candidates. Over half of these 80 places will go to children from state primaries, with the rest of the cohort coming from local preps, mostly girls.

Every year, over 500 pupils apply. Therefore, entry to Highgate is incredibly competitive, with many applicants who don’t quite do well enough to receive an offer straight away finding themselves on the waiting list. Unfortunately, as the school makes more offers than they have places for, we find that children on the waiting list will very rarely be offered a place later. It’s also important to accept an offer as soon as possible if Highgate is your first choice school – there’s nothing more disappointing than leaving it too late and finding there isn’t a place left for your child!

Key dates for 11 plus admission:

  • 5th October – Open Day
  • 6th November – application deadline (£150 fee payable upon registration)
  • 3rd December – entrance exams
  • 13th – 17th January – interviews
  • February – offers posted
  • Early March – acceptance deadline (£4,000 deposit payable upon accepting a place)
  • June – transition events for new pupils and their families
  • August – team-building day for all Year 7 pupils.

Highgate does not have a sibling policy.

The Highgate 11 plus exam

All applicants for the 11 plus at Highgate Senior School are invited to sit the entrance exam. This consists of:

  • English – containing a passage to read, with comprehension questions and ones that require a creative response.
  • Maths – based on the Key Stage 2 syllabus, with short, long and unstructured questions. The ability to show reasoning is key. Areas to cover in preparation are number, calculations, solving problems, and shape and space.
  • Non-verbal Reasoning – tests understanding of number patterns and spatial awareness.

To prepare for the Highgate 11 plus exam, we recommend a strategic approach. With a solid 12 month campaign, you can ease the stress of preparing for the exam. Our knowledge of the syllabus, expert tutors and 11 plus resources, such as practice papers, are also invaluable tools on your 11+ journey. Get in touch with one of the team today for advice and practical steps.

How to prepare for the interview

Highgate usually invites back 200 children who perform well enough on the entrance exam for an interview in January. This is not another test of academic ability, but rather a chance for the school to assess how a child would succeed at Highgate and what they would contribute to the school.

The day involves your child taking part in a practical lesson, usually Design Technology. Here, they get to create something to take home with them – it’s a fun activity that can help put them at ease. There is also a more formal group interview that lasts 30-40 minutes, usually of two boys and two girls per group. During this, your child must show confidence, speaking up to be the first to answer a question or to fill a silence, but also showing respect and interest when other children speak. The group interview can also involve some problem solving – a child who can show leadership and diplomacy here is likely to succeed!

A formal interview is a daunting prospect for any 10 or 11 year old. You will inevitably want to prepare your child for the day, but it is easy to over-prepare! If answers come across as rehearsed, this may not reflect well on your child. This is why Mentor runs individual and group sessions to help your child prepare for interview day. Our sessions help your child to build confidence, develop answers and present the best version of themselves. Get in touch to find out more about all of our 11 plus courses.

11 plus scholarships to Highgate

Highgate doesn’t offer academic scholarships upon entry, preferring instead to award these towards the end of Year 7, when they have seen how your child performs throughout their first year. There are usually 12 scholarships on offer, with 6 typically going to pupils who attended the Junior School and 6 going to children who were external 11 plus applicants. Further scholarships are awarded at the end of Years 8, 9 and 10 too. Note that Highgate academic scholarships are honorary and don’t result in any money off your school fees.

However, Music scholarships are worth up to 20% of the school fees. These are also awarded from point of entry into Year 7. Music Award applications need to be submitted by early November, and your child will be assessed in an audition.

We find that it is certainly worth your child applying for a Music scholarship if they do have some ability and potential in this area. Even if they aren’t successful, going through the process shows teachers that they’re a confident and well-rounded child with something to offer the school beyond their academic abilities. Any chance for a child to stand out throughout the competitive admissions process is sure to be a positive opportunity.

Find a tutor for Highgate School

If you’re looking for additional support in your preparation for the Highgate 11 plus admissions process, we can help.

Our tutors are experts in school admissions: with their bespoke one-to-one tuition, they can help children to achieve success at exams and interviews. Couple this with our 40 years of experience and you know that you’re safe hands.

Over 80% of our tutors are qualified teachers with an in-depth knowledge of the 11+ syllabus and the most effective teaching methods. Many have been heads of department, head teachers or examiners and they all come with a wealth of experience and a track record of success. Every tutor has an up-to-date DBS certificate and is fully reference-checked. Wherever possible, we will match your child with a tutor who has taught at Highgate.

For more information on our tutors’ unique approach to preparing children for the 11 plus, contact our team.

Weekend School for Highgate School

We have a Saturday morning school during term time to help year 5/6 pupils prepare for the entrance exams to Highgate School. The school runs from January through to December. You can join at anytime in the year. The course has been designed to target schools like Highgate. It has an excellent track record of success getting pupils into schools like Highgate.

It was designed by a the headmistress of a leading prep school with 28 years experience in getting pupils into the right school. We cover all the key elements of English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non Verbal Reasoning. Our tutor has extensive experience in getting pupils into the leading North London schools.

The course runs on Saturday morning from 9am to Midday. We have a relationship with the leading GDST, school, South Hampstead High School and so we run it from there. It offers excellent classroom facilities.

We also run a similar course for from Clapham. This course operates on Saturday and Sundays.

You can find our more here about both courses and book your child onto them.

More on Highgate School

The school was originally founded in 1565 by Sir Roger Cholmeley. He envisioned a charitable school to give “the most liberal education and instruction of the boys and young men”. Throughout the centuries the school has seen many changes – no longer taking boarders from the early 1990s, before becoming fully coeducational in 2004. Today, the main entry points to the school are 4+, 7+, 11+ and 16+.

Away from ‘traditional’ academic subjects, Highgate is known for its impressive facilities. Regularly hailed by parents for its D&T programme, the school really does place emphasis on subjects other than the purely academic. Offering several scholarships and awards for those with exceptional musical talent, Highgate is the ideal home for a confident child with artistic abilities.

The boys’ main sport at Highgate from Year 7 onwards is football, with additional choices of swimming, cross country running and so on from Year 8. The senior school boasts 22 pathways of sport, including cricket, hockey, gymnastics, rugby, water polo, basketball, etc. What’s more, girls are able to participate in every one of these 22 sports, just as boys can. The school’s 23 acres hold netball and basketball courts, an Astroturf, squash courts, an indoor swimming pool and a strength and conditioning suite.

Co-curriculars on offer at Highgate range from Junior Politics Society, Warhammer Club and Society of Hispanic Studies. There really is something for every child, with one activity per term mandatory. If your child doesn’t spot something that takes their fancy, the school welcomes them to launch their own club or society!

Address: Highgate School, North Road, London, N6 4AY

Telephone: 020 8340 1524

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.highgateschool.org.uk

Local Authority: Haringey

School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 102163

Gender: Co-educational

Age Range: 3-19

Get in touch

Here at Mentor, we have many experts on entrance to Highgate. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help, whatever stage of the 11 plus journey you are at. We have more information on Highgate and the admissions process to all the top London schools.

Unit 6C Hillgate Place
SW12 9ER

020 8883 2519

[email protected]

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