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.
2019 saw 38% students achieving a grade 8 or 9 at GCSE, with 100% of pupils achieving a grade 4 or above in 10 subjects. 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 academic year at the Senior School are £18,215, 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.
Assuming lockdown restrictions will continue to be eased, St Dunstan’s will have a whole college open day on Saturday 25th September, but until then you can check out their virtual tour. They also plan to hold virtual Q&A sessions with headmaster Nicholas Hewitt, which you can find more details of on the St Dunstan’s College 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 £100. Entrance assessments will be held in December, with scholarship assessments or interviews held in January. General interviews are also held in January, with offers being 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 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.
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.
Additionally, every child will experience a taught lesson at St Dunstan’s. During this, they will have to complete a short creative writing task. 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.
St Dunstan’s interview almost all applicants – many more than they will have places for. 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.