North London Collegiate School

Admissions Guide

How to get into North London Collegiate School

Are you considering registering your daughter for the 11 plus process at North London Collegiate School? Read our full guide to the admissions process and find out how to help her succeed.

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Introduction to North London Collegiate School

North London Collegiate School, or NLCS, is a private day school for girls in Edgeware, London. Founded in 1850, the school prides itself on being the first girls’ school in the UK to offer its students the same opportunities that boys of that day had. Today, it educates girls from a diverse range of backgrounds who commute in from all over Greater London. It is a member of the Girls’ Schools Association.

North London Collegiate School is often hailed as one of the UK’s top girls’ schools. Its place in the league tables and GCSE results achieved certainly do cement this reputation, so it is no surprise that it is highly competitive. NLCS are proud to offer A Levels, Pre-U and International Baccalaureate to its girls entering the Sixth Form. In 2022, 98% of GCSEs achieved at Grade 9, 8 or 7 (A*-A), while 79% achieved at Grade 9. In the same year, 87% of A Levels and Pre-U were achieved at A* or A (or equivalent), while the average point score for IB students was 41. Two girls achieved a perfect IB score of 45 points. Of the 2022 leavers, 20% went on to study at Oxbridge. Others secured places at top international universities including Harvard, Stanford and Columbia.


£7,436 per term for Years 7-13. A deposit of half of one term’s fees is required upon acceptance of a place. This is refunded in full when a girl leaves the school. Fee assistance in the form of bursaries and scholarships is available at 11 plus.

A bursary at NLCS can cover up to 100% of the fees, with 9% of students currently receiving financial support. 

Open Days at NLCS

NLCS hosts a number of taster mornings and open evenings from the Summer to the Autumn term. The dates for the 2023 Autumn open events will be released and available to book via the school website in September. Prospective pupils and parents are invited on a tour of the school and facilities led by a current student. There you will have the opportunity to meet the Headmistress and Senior Staff and hear from current students and alumnae. You will also find out more about the admissions process, learn about academic and extra-curricular life, and have an opportunity to ask questions. NLCS also offer a virtual areal tour of the school grounds on their website.

Before registering your daughter for admission, we recommend that you and your daughter attend a North London Collegiate School Virtual Open Event. This will give your daughter a sense of what life is like attending NLCS and hear from current pupils. We have found girls who attend Open Events are better prepared in interviews and more confident upon entering in September.

You can book a place at the events on the North London Collegiate School website.

young girl smiling and holding a pair of glasses

The 11 plus admissions process to North London Collegiate School

Registration for 2024 entry opened on 26th May 2023 and closes on 15th November 2023. Applications must be placed online via the NLCS website. At 11 plus, NLCS accepts around 60 girls. Approximately 40 additional places will go to girls coming up from the Junior School. There are an additional 20 places available for 16 plus entry. NLCS is highly competitive with around 10 girls applying for a single place, however this number can be even higher. As it is a highly academic environment, North London does not give priority to siblings or family of current or previous students.

The NCLS 11 plus exam

Every applicant to North London Collegiate School at 11 plus is invited to sit the written entrance exam. This is comprised of two papers in English and Maths.

The English exam is 1 hour and 20 minutes long, consisting of a comprehension section and a creative writing section. Candidates should spend around 30 minutes on the comprehension section, where they answer both short and long form questions based on an unfamiliar passage of text. The creative writing section should take around 50 minutes of their exam time. Girls will have to write two pieces, one of which is usually a continuation of the passage given. The other is usually a non-fiction response to a given statement. In the English exam, girls are assessed on their ability to read, understand and respond to a given text. Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are also assessed.

The Maths paper is 1 hour and 15 minutes long and will assess girls’ numeracy, logic and ability to problem solve.

To help your daughter best prepare for these exams, download the NLCS sample papers:

There is an abundance of online resources, as well as our own practice papers which have been designed based on the competitive Independent Schools format. Our 11 plus co-ordinator can help advise you about many routes from reading lists to puzzle games to top revision tips. We have also produced a White Paper which helps to illustrate the many ways you can help your child succeed.

If you want an experienced third party to help with your preparation, our specialist 11 plus tutors have significant North London Collegiate School entrance experience.

The NCLS 11 plus interview

If your daughter is successful in the entrance exam, she will be invited back to NLCS for an interview. These usually take place in mid-January. The interview is one to one with a member of staff and will last approximately 20 minutes. It is an important part of the admissions process and success here is key to getting into North London Collegiate School.

The interview has a friendly and informal tone as the interviewer determines if your daughter will flourish at NLCS. While everyone offered an interview will have sufficiently “passed” the written exam, if a candidate was particularly weaker in one area, she may be given some academic questions on that subject to determine whether she will be able to cope at NLCS.

The thought of an interview can be quite daunting for some girls 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+ scholarships at North London Collegiate

There are a small number of 11 plus Music scholarships at NLCS. Parents must complete the Handel Music Scholar application form and submit it to the 11 plus Admissions Officer via email along with a copy of the latest music exam mark sheet(s) and a reference from the teacher of their first instrument. Potential scholars must have reached a standard equivalent to ABRSM Grade 5 distinction or greater on their first instrument. However, applications are welcome from girls performing at a lower grade on double bass, oboe, bassoon, any brass instrument. Successful applications, provided they pass the entrance exam, will be invited to NLCS for a 20 minute audition. Here, girls perform their instrument, sing unaccompanied, perform a piece of sight reading, perform some aural tests and discuss their music-making. 

Girls will hold the scholarship for 5 years, then will be welcome to apply for a 16 plus Music scholarship. The NLCS Handel Music Scholars are awarded the cost of individual lessons at NLCS in two instruments, worth £1,560 a year. Handel Music Scholars receive an additional £110 per instrument studied (up to 2 instruments) to cover the cost of sheet music and instrument maintenance over the school year.

Find a tutor

To guarantee your daughter the best chance of admission to NLCS, offer her additional support from one of our tutors. Many of our over 200 tutors are experts in the 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 daughter for entry to NLCS.

Over 80% of our tutors are qualified teachers, so they have an in-depth knowledge of 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 references. Wherever possible we will match your daughter with a tutor who has worked at North London Collegiate School.

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

Weekend School for North London Collegiate

We have a Saturday morning school during term time to help year 5/6 pupils prepare for the entrance exams to North London Collegiate. 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 North London Collegiate . It has an excellent track record of success getting pupils into schools like North London Collegiate . 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 North London Collegiate School

As with many of the similar high achieving, ultra-academic London private schools, the school has garnered a reputation as a “hot-house”. NLCS is known for being a high pressure, high achieving environment where girls have to be “tough” to survive. Girls should have a genuine love of learning and enjoy being challenged. Unless your daughter is naturally academically gifted, it is simply not the right school for her. Despite the somewhat fearsome reputation, NLCS is a welcoming community with a fast-improving pastoral focus.

One of the key aims of the Head has been to strengthen the pastoral care offered to girls, which so far has both students and parents singing its praise. The vast open green space gives North London Collegiate School the sense of a lush boarding school in the country, despite its convenient London location. Sarah Clark joined as the Headmistress in 2018, formerly serving 7 years as Head of the Queen’s School, Chester. Clark has been a hugely popular addition to the school as she passionately sets about creating a kinder, and less perfectionist culture.

Life at NLCS

The main entry points at North London Collegiate School are 4+, 7+, 11+ and 16+. The school educates 1,000 girls aged 4-18. In addition to academics, girls are encouraged to develop outside the classroom through the vast co-curricular opportunities on offer. NLCS offer over 50 clubs and societies including Robotics Club, Chess Club, Gardening Club, Young Philosophers, and Engineering Society.

North London Collegiate School buildings

Drama and music flourish at NLCS in the 350-seat fully equipped theatre and the Performing Arts Centre. Girls can devise, direct, write and perform in one of the over 40 in-school productions each year, the drama clubs, studio pieces, workshops and Edinburgh Fringe productions. NLCS provide a wide range of musical opportunities for girls of all levels with around 500 instrumental lessons every week. Girls can also participate in a vast variety of choirs, ensembles and orchestras.

While NLCS is not by any means a “sporty school”, in recent years there has been a reinvigoration of the sports department, encouraging an ethos of “sport for all”. The highest performing athletes are additionally supported in the Elite Athlete Mentoring Program. Girls are welcome to try their hand at Netball, Lacrosse, Swimming, Rounders, Cross country, Gymnastics, Kickboxing, Dance, Water-polo, Fencing, Athletics, Tennis, Zumba, Badminton, Pilates, Self-defence, Skiing, Scuba-diving or Lifeguarding. North London offers a wealth of opportunities that cater to every girl, inspiring her to try whatever is on offer.

Address: North London Collegiate School, Canons Drive, Edgeware, HA8 7RJ

Telephone: 020 8952 0912

Email: [email protected] 

Website: www.nlcs.org.uk 

Local Authority: Harrow

School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 102257

Gender: Girls

Age Range: 4-18

Get in touch

We have many experts on entrance to North London Collegiate 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 daughter gain admission to NLCS 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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