Considering St Dunstan’s College for your child? Learn everything you need to know about 11 plus entrance to the school.
A co-educational day school in Catford, south-east London, St Dunstan’s was founded in 1888. Originally educating boys and girls aged 7-11 from a range of different backgrounds, the school now has over 900 pupils aged 3-18. There’s currently a 60/40 split of boys and girls.
Known for placing importance on its technical curriculum, the school has impressive STEM facilities and a recently acquired 30 acre sports campus, just a short walk from the main school.
Headmaster Nicholas Hewlett has been in his position since 2014. Endeavouring to create a vibrant, diverse environment, he is well liked by parents and has been applauded for expanding the school’s facilities and extra curricular activities.
The school won the Independent School of the Year Award in 2020 for their “renaissance education, their pupil voice and their championing of the individual”. The more relaxed atmosphere (compared to other London independents) and growing reputation attracts a high calibre of teachers. All this means that 11 plus entry is slowly getting more competitive. However, the school is committed to offering many bursaries to give children who otherwise wouldn’t get a place to study at an independent school.
Extra curriculars and sports are a great feature of St Dunstan’s life. Cricket, football rugby, hockey and netball are all well catered for with the school’s Jubilee Ground sports centre. The school is incredibly proud of The Forder Programme, designed to offer more than traditional classroom learning to children’s education. Named after Frank G. Forder, headmaster from 1922-1930, it has over 90 activities for children to participate in, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award. St Dunstan’s describes it as a programme “that gives each individual the freedom to create their own journey”.
It is worth noting that if you’re looking for a senior school where your child can stay on for sixth form, St Dunstan’s may not be the best choice. We’ve noted that many pupils go on to a different school for their A level studies.
Results achieved at the school are, of course, an important factor when deciding if it is right for your child.
2022 saw 69% students achieving a grade 7, 8 or 9 at GCSE. In the same year, 63% of A Levels were achieved at an A* or A. Whilst these results may not fare as better as some other south London independent schools, it is worth considering that St Dunstan’s actively seek to give opportunities to children who normally wouldn’t have access to a private education.
Rest assured, children will be stretched academically no matter what their potential. What’s more, the pastoral and extra curricular focus that the school adopts will mean your child won’t feel overly pressured. Without the hothouse environments that other day schools can be known for, a bright yet anxious child is sure to thrive at St Dunstan’s.
The fees per term at the Senior School are £7,107, due termly. Scholarships are available, starting at 10% of fees, and bursaries covering between 10 and 100% are also available. You can apply for a bursary when completing your 11 plus registration forms – check the relevant box.
Boys and girls considering applying to St Dunstan’s will most certainly benefit from visiting the campus ahead of their exam and interview. Being familiar with the campus and the teachers is sure to ease any nerves they may have on assessment day, and upon starting school in September they will be able to settle in much more quickly. Parents can also use the opportunity as a chance to meet teachers, other parents and find answers to the questions they’re sure to have.
St Dunstan’s hold open events during the summer and Autumn term the year before your child is scheduled to join the school. The next Open Day is scheduled for the 23rd of September and is available to book via the school website. If you cannot make that date, there are a number of virtual Q&A sessions scheduled to take place in the Autumn term. More information on these will be released closer to the time. There is also a virtual tour available on the website.
Students wishing to enter the school at 11 plus are required to:
The deadline for registration is usually late November, with bursary application deadlines a week after. You’ll need to pay a non-refundable registration fee of £160. The first entrance assessment will be held in December, with the second exam and interviews held in January. Offers are made in mid February. If you are made an offer, you must accept by early March.
Typically, almost all Year 6 pupils at St Dunstan’s are offered a place at the Senior School, but this is subject to review by the admissions panel. Priority is given to siblings of current St Dunstan’s students and those with a recent family connection to the school.
St Dunstan’s College requires all their 11+ candidates to sit a series of online ISEB assessments in English, Mathematics, Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning. Your child can sit this either at their current school, if they’re holding the Per Test, or at St Dunstan’s. Taking about 2 and a half hours to complete, the ISEB pre-Test covers the following topics:
Timing is even more important than usual in an ISEB test. Students should work towards a pace broadly consistent with picking up 1 mark per minute. This is difficult for any 10 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 practise guessing multiple choice answers, whilst eliminating as many wrong answers as possible.
The ISEB Pre Test is something that many of our tutors here are experts on. When other independent schools made the last minute change from traditional, written 11 plus exams to this digital format, we were on hand to ease children’s and parents’ anxieties and prepare them for the assessment day. With timing being of particular importance, our tutors improved speed and accuracy, allowing children to fully understand the test format and answer questions with confidence. We have many experts in the full 11+ syllabus – get in touch to find out more.
Those who are successful in the ISEB Pre-Test will be invited to St Dunstan’s for the second part of the 11+ assessment. Candidates will sit a written English and Maths exam at the school in January. The English assessment will include a comprehension and creative writing task, while the Maths paper will test their academic ability up to the Year 6 syllabus.
At this stage, candidates will also experience a taught lesson at St Dunstan’s. This is rather unusual for 11 plus entry, but children and parents should see it as a unique opportunity. Your child can demonstrate their potential, their love for learning and how they thrive in a classroom environment. Meanwhile, you can assess how much your child may enjoy the teaching style and how their abilities will be nurtured.
Those who are successful in both the ISEB and the written exam will then be invited to an interview in late January. St Dunstan’s interview more candidates than they have places for so it is still part of the selection process. However, it is important not to get too stressed out about this stage of the process. The interview is typically a very relaxed affair, with teachers looking for engaging children who can answer questions confidently.
The trick is for your child to master expressing the very best version of themselves, without answers appearing practised or rehearsed. We run individual and group interview practice sessions to help with this. Developing answers and building confidence, we provide children with the tools needed to prepare for their interview in an informal, supportive setting.
Applicants can apply for scholarships in Art, Drama Music or Sports. Additionally, St Dunstan’s offers academic scholarships. All are worth either 10 or 25%.
Getting an academic scholarship to St Dunstan’s requires first outstanding performance in the entrance assessment. The key here is timing. Your child needs to be able to pick up a mark a minute, answering questions accurately and with confidence. Our tutors can work with your child to build up speed, helping your children to become familiarised with the ISEB test format so they can reach the more difficult, scholarship questions. It’s no good if an incredibly bright child completes the test too slowly to display their full ability.
If your child is one of the top performers in ISEB Pre Test, they will then be invited for a scholarship interview. This is held ahead of the general interviews and is a chance for your child to display their unrehearsed, authentic self. They may be asked to demonstrate mental maths skills, discuss their hobbies outside of learning and demonstrate that they can hold a stimulating conversation. Our interview practice sessions can help here.
Our 11 plus entrance tutors have proven results, helping over 90% of our 2020-21 cohort achieve a place at their first choice school. Every child got an offer from either their first or second choice. Our tailored approach and 40 years of experience in the 11 plus mean that you’re in safe hands throughout your journey. We have a dedicated 11 plus coordinator is here to advise you throughout your preparation, and our 12 month programme is ideal for children currently in Year 5, looking to sit their 11 plus in late Autumn.
Our tutors are masters at teaching and developing exam technique. Over 80% of them are qualified teachers, with many being examiners, head teachers or heads of department. All of our tutors have an up-to-date DBS certificate and have been fully reference-checked. Wherever possible, we will match you with a tutor who has taught at St Dunstan’s college themselves.
For more information on our bespoke tuition, contact our team.
Address: St Dunstan’s College, Stanstead Road, London, SE6 4TY
Telephone: 020 8516 7226
Email: [email protected]
Local Authority: Lewisham
School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 100754
Age Range: 3-18
We have many tutors with expertise in 11 plus entrance to St Dunstan’s here at Mentor. Ready to guide you through the process, we can also help you navigate the new entrance format during Covid-19 measures. Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help your child with the 11+, or for more information on getting into top London schools.
If you’re considering St Dunstan’s, you might also find information on other Independent Schools interesting, find a list of other schools below: