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Entry to Independent Schools

The method of entry to independent schools varies widely. Some schools are highly selective while others have a non-selective policy, to allow a wider range of children access to the opportunities they provide.

Non-selective Independent Schools allocate their places on a first come first served basis. To place your child in a non-selective school you must register your child before the classes are full. The school may ask your child to visit prior to entry, but this will be a familiarisation visit to ensure the child is comfortable in the school.

Selection in Independent Schools

The most common method of selection is by testing, usually supplemented by an interview.

Many Preparatory Schools will assess for entrance into Year 3 and above. In some cases schools will select from Reception (4 or 5 years old) or even earlier through observation of the child and an interview with the parents. At parent interviews a school may be looking for:

  • To get a feel for the parents’ personalities, interests, values and priorities
  • To check that the parents are supportive of their child’s education
  • To check the parents will fit in at the school
  • To assess whether the parents are likely to interfere and challenge the school
  • To check that the family can afford the fees
  • To check that the family will not need to relocate every 3 years

Entry to Independent Secondary Schools may be through interview, 11+ or 13+ Common Entrance, or a test specific to the school. The nature of the assessment and the entry requirements varies widely and it is vital to contact the school of your choice to find out what these are.

For more detailed information in individual independent school entry, contact the schools directly.

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