Independent Schools Admissions – How to apply – Key dates

The vast majority of Independent Schools have 11 Plus entry exams in January. Some will or may have pre-testing from which they select only the top section to take the final tests (this only really happens with the most competitive schools).

Normally exams and any scholarship specialist assessments happen in January, If there are pre-tests then these often happen in November.

Each school is different so it is worth looking at the website and contacting the school to find out details.

Open days- visiting the school.

All schools will have open days and evenings and we would encourage you to go along. Not least of all it will give your child an opportunity to fully appreciate what the school can offer. This will help them to be enthusiastic in a genuine way in their interview.

If you cannot make the open day then, if you ask, many schools will give you the opportunity to visit during a normal school day. This will give you the chance to see the school in real operation rather than when it is on show.

Like most schools in any sector, excellence starts at the top with the Headmaster. If you have a chance, meet the Headmaster as it will give you an insight into how the school is run and managed.

Registering to take the Independent School 11 Plus Exam.

All schools will ask you to register before taking their 11 Plus test. Please see your school’s website which should have all the details. Most schools will also be quite happy to discuss requirements with you on the phone.


In most cases results will come out quickly, often in February. This will give parents plenty of time to decide which school to choose based on the options which are available to them.

Entry out of year.

Many schools have vacancies out of entry year for all sorts of reasons, so if you find yourself in a position where you want to consider out of year entry it is well worth approaching schools directly.

You might be surprised at how many schools will find a vacancy for the right child.

Remember that as schools are different the best port of call is going to be the school itself. By all means use the information on this site and on your school’s website to build up a background of knowledge but you will also benefit from speaking to the school and going on a visit.

Selectivity/competitive admissions.

Those schools which do select on an academic basis are not always only right for students who are very bright. Independent Schools tend to like to get a mix of children. All children will need to perform at least to the set  minimum standard academically but the school may turn down a very bright child who has a history of misbehaviour, or adds nothing else and may accept a child who is marginal academically but who is keen on sport or music or drama and did well at interview.

State Grammar Schools only use the academic tests to decide who to take at 11 Plus, Independent schools use a mix of elements and most would never just take the brightest children regardless of whether they would fit with the school in other ways.