Whitgift School

Admissions Guide

How to get into Whitgift School 11 plus admissions

Are you looking into Whitgift School for the next step in your son’s education? Find out everything you need to know about the 11 plus admissions process, and how to help your son succeed.

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Introduction to Whitgift

Whitgift School is a private day and boarding school for boys aged 10-18 in South Croydon. Founded over 420 years ago by Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift, Whitgift School has flourished as a community that allows academic, sporting, musical and artistic talent to reach its fullest potential.

Whitgift strives for, and achieves, academic excellence. It also aims to equip every boy who comes through with the confidence and resilience needed to embrace new challenges, an open mind, emotional maturity and moral grounding to be a force of good when they enter the wider world. Whitgift was named the Independent Boys School of the Year in 2020. They proudly began offering International Baccalaureate qualification alongside A Levels in 2005. In 2019, 82% of GCSEs achieved at Grade 9, 8 or 7 (A*-A), while 33% achieved at Grade 9. In the same year, 64% of A Levels were achieved at A* or A. Whitgift is the top boys’ school in the UK for IB, with an average 39 Point average. Of the 2020 leavers, 70% went on to study at Russell Group Universities.

Whitgift is known for its academic and sporting success. Whitgift does not have the same reputation as a “hothouse” as similar schools such as King’s College School or Latymer, however it is not as academically focused or successful as those school, rather directing its holistic approach on developing well rounded individuals. Being both a larger school and part of the John Whitgift Foundation, Whitgift prides itself on its diverse intake. Of the three schools in the John Whitgift Foundation, 47% of boys receive financial support in the form of bursaries and scholarships. They accept boys from all over London and surrounding areas creating a culturally, socially and economically diverse community. Chris Ramsey has served as the Headmaster at Whitgift since 2017, previously serving as Headmaster of King’s Chester for 10 years.

The main entry points at Whitgift are 10+, 11+, 13+ and 16+. There are over 1,600 boys aged 10-18. Whitgift prides itself on its vibrant and diverse co-curricular program that enables pupils to broaden their horizons and develop new passions. Sport is at the heart of Whitgift, as they aim to have every boy proud of their sporting achievements, through mass participation, there is a space for every boy to get involved regardless of ability. Cricket, football, rugby, archery, golf, fencing and judo are a few of the sports available to Whitgift boys.

Life at Whitgift

In the past 10 years, Whitgift boys have won over 300 national titles across a range of sporting activities, cementing a reputation for Sporting excellence. Whitgift offers active, adventurous activities for boys including CCF, mountain biking, climbing and windsurfing. Live music is never too far off at Whitgift, with concerts taking place every week. The huge range of vocal and instrumental ensembles that gather at Whitgift ensure boys of all abilities and stylistic preferences have a place to perform.

Whitgift is home to an extensive Drama programme, encouraging pupils of all ages to develop their talents and perform to professional standards throughout their school life. Its co-curricular programme fosters creativity, innovation, curiosity and excellence, encouraging boys to make the most of the facilities Whitgift has to offer. If they find the time between all that, boys can get involved in clubs including bee-keeping, STEM, Japanese and clay club. 

Fees at Whitgift

£6,880 per term for day school pupils. The fee for weekly boarders is £11,027 per term and £13,380 for full time boarders. An acceptance deposit is required upon entry of £800 for day students and £2,500 for UK boarders. This will be refunded in full, less any balance owed to the school, when your son leaves Whitgift.

Open days at Whitgift

Due to current guidelines surrounding Covid-19, Whitgift is unable to invite parents and prospective students to visit. However, it has produced a series of videos touring the school and giving you a taste of what life is like for boys at Whitgift. These are available on the school website. Whitgift has run a series of Virtual Open Events over the summer and autumn. At these Open Events, prospective parents and students hear from the Headmaster and current students, virtually tour the classrooms and ask the Admissions Team any questions. You can watch a recording of one of these Virtual Open Events on the school website. We have found boys who attend Open Events are better prepared in interviews and more confident upon entering in September.

At these Open Events, prospective parents and students can hear from the Headmaster and current students, virtually tour the classrooms and facilities, and ask the Admissions Team any questions. You can watch a recording of one of these Virtual Open Events on the school website. We have found boys who attend Open Events are better prepared in interviews and more confident upon entering in September.

children studying for the 11+ exam at Whitgift School

11 Plus admissions to Whitgift School

Applications for entry in September 2022 will open in September 2021. Application for Whitgift opens in the beginning of September in your son’s Year 6 and closes in late November. The registration form requires you to pay a fee of £120. 11 plus applicants will be required to submit copies of their last two school reports.

At 11 plus, Whitgift accepts around 120 boys. 60 additional places will go to boys coming up from the Junior year, while the rest will come from a variety of state and independent schools. Usually, Whitgift receives around 600 applicants 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 5 but can get much higher in years with a bigger cohort applying. Whitgift does not give priority to siblings of current students.

Whitgift School 11 plus exam content

Due to the guidelines around Covid-19, Whitgift set the ISEB Pre Test for their 2021 Senior School admissions, rather than the usual 11 plus exams to avoid large groups of children attending the school for their entrance exams. These tests take place online and were brought forward to November/December 2020 rather than January 2021.

Taking about two and a half hours to complete, the ISEB Pre Test covers the following topics:

  • Verbal reasoning: covering areas such as common words, antonyms, word combinations and letter transfer.
  • Non-verbal reasoning: this topic tests areas including shape analogies and horizontal codes.
  • English: reading comprehension, spelling, punctuation and sentence completion.
  • Mathematics: content for this is in line with the National Curriculum topics taught up to the end of Year 5.

This new test for the Whitgift 11 plus entrance exam may sound daunting; however, Mentor has years of experience in preparing children for the ISEB which has been used by UK boarding schools for many years. It is very different from the long form written exams Whitgift usually set. You should tailor your efforts towards this specific exam. For example, there is no creative writing element to the exam and all answers are multiple choice.

Timing is even more important than usual in an ISEB test. Students should work towards a pace that is broadly consistent with picking up 1 mark per minute. This is difficult for any ten year old and requires lots of practice. Exam technique is also particularly important with an ISEB test. Unlike with a written exam, the pupil cannot go back at the end to tackle questions they found hard. They will also have to practice guessing multiple choice answers, whilst eliminating as many wrong answers as possible.

Tailored tutoring could be the key to helping your child to stand out – from academic support to exam technique, our tutors can work with your child to provide them with the knowledge and self-confidence to tackle the online test. Find out more about how Mentor can help your child prepare for the Pre Test.

If possible, Whitgift will likely return to its usual entrance exam for 2022 applicants. For entrance into Whitgift at 11 plus, boys sit a Maths paper, two English papers and a Verbal Reasoning paper in the January of his Year 6. The Maths exam is 1 hour and tests arithmetic, problem solving and numerical reasoning. The first English paper is a 55 minute essay, while the second is a 45 minute comprehension assessing grammar, syntax, punctuation, vocabulary and candidates ability to read, understand and respond to a text. 

If you want an experienced third party to help you stay on track with your preparation, our specialist 11 plus tutors have significant Whitgift entrance experience.

11 plus interviews at Whitgift

Those who are successful at the entrance exam will be invited to interview. These will take place in January and last around 30 minutes. Whitgift will invite prospective candidates with their parents or guardians to interview with a senior member of staff. The interview is a very important part of the admission process and success here is key to get into Whitgift.

The interview tone is friendly and relaxed, taking the form of an informal conversation. The interviewer will aim to put your son at ease and will not ask questions will the intention of “catching him out”. The interview serves as an opportunity for Whitgift to meet your son and explore his interests and activities beyond the academic. Whitgift asks a parent to be present so you have an opportunity to tell the interviewer about your son directly, ask any questions you may have, and involve parents in this vital aspect of the admissions process.

In addition to general interest questions, your some will need to display some of his academic skill. This may involve reading from a passage and discussing it or solving some light maths problems. While sometimes, Whitgift asks academic questions in the interview based on what section in the exam candidates underperformed in (if he struggled with the maths paper, he may be asked to do some mental arithmetic), this is not a universal technique employed by Whitgift.Alternatively, boys up for academic scholarship are likely to be asked to demonstrate their ability.

Whitgift have a history of asking boys and parents which school is their first choice: it is important you say Whitgift and show enthusiasm for the school. Whitgift interviewers are looking for confident boys who will enjoy being at the school, they will enjoy having at the school, and who will make the most of what it has to offer.

How to pass the interview

Whitgift is looking for well-rounded boys, so your son must have something to say when he is asked about his interests. Whitgift prides itself on its co-curricular activities so it is a good idea to have some topics prepared beyond academics. This can be anything from sport, music, art, drama or any other special interest your son may have. Preparation is key if you want your son to be successful at the interview. It is a challenging prospect and without practice, he may get thrown on the day. However, it is also vital that he does not come across as rehearsed. Whitgift will be unimpressed if he is reciting pre made answers rather than answering the questions given.

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 Whitgift

Many of our tutors have great success securing scholarships and are experienced with pushing the boundaries of learning for exceptional students. All applicants at Whitgift that sit the entrance exam are automatically eligible for an academic scholarship. Those who perform exceptionally well on the entrance exam and in interview will be awarded an academic scholarship. A small number of scholarships are worth up to 50% of the school fees. These are awarded to exceptional candidates.

Whitgift also offer scholarships in Art, Design Technology & Engineering, Drama, Music and Sport for 11 plus applicants. Applicants must complete the appropriate scholarship section in the main application form. If their written application is successful, and they perform well in the entrance exam, boys are invited to an assessment or audition in their chosen area. A small number of scholarships are awarded to exceptional candidates, worth up to 50% of the school fees. Several other talented applicants receive smaller scholarship.

Meet our tutors

To guarantee your son the best chance of admission to Whitgift, offer him some additional support from one of our tutors. Many of our over 200 tutors are experts in the Whitgift 11 plus. 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 Whitgift.

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 references. Wherever possible we will match your son with a tutor who has a track record at Whitgift.

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

More information on Whitgift

Whitgift School grounds

Address: Whitgift School, Haling Park Road, South Croydon, CR2 6YT

Telephone: 020 8688 9222

Email: office@whitgift.co.uk 

Website: www.whitgift.co.uk

Local Authority: Croydon

School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 101837

Gender: Boys

Age Range: 10-18

Get in touch

We have many experts on the entrance to Whitgift 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 Whitgift at 11 plus, or for further information on admissions into the top London schools.

Unit 6C Hillgate Place
SW12 9ER

020 8883 2519