Changing admission process into London girls’ schools

I am going through a 13+ entry process with my 10-years old son and I will be an expert on the process by the end of this academic year. However, I would struggle to apply my expertise to prepare my 8-years-old daughter for her 11+ exams in a couple of years time.

The British Education system is defined by it’s complexities – day, boarding, single sex, co-educational, 4+, 7+, 8+, 11+ and 13+ entry…. Numerous options have one unique feature that characterises them all - daunting admissions processes.

Now, this process is also going through some changes. Last year the North London Girls Consortium (which is made up of twelve independent day schools, see the list here) decided to change their current 11+ admission process, saying that, “There will be no further written assessments at our Schools, and we will develop the creativity of our interview processes.”

New admission assessments comprise three distinct elements with the key that each is to carry equal weight, which was summarised for me by Janie Richardson School Search:

(1) Head’s Reference

To be compiled by existing Head Teachers using a grading structure beside an extensive list of key attributes and characteristics for each child.  The aim to collate an accurate reference with a fresh emphasis on skills such as creativity and creative writing.

 (2) A Cognitive Ability Test (CAT)

This test will score a child in a number of areas and will be multiple choice verbal and non-verbal reasoning, maths and further tasks.   

(3) Interview

This will consist of both individual and group scenarios incorporating problem solving tasks and the opportunity for children to demonstrate ‘individual creativity’ and the ability to ‘think outside of the box.’ 

Whilst the newly named ‘London 11+ Consortium’ hopes for others to follow suit, this will take time whilst Heads eagerly await the results of this new structure early next year.  For now, they continue to uphold their own established admissions assessment processes for parents and children to navigate.  You can have a look of the sample papers from previous years from various schools here or go directly to the school sites, like North London Collegiate School or St Paul’s Girls School.

There also has been a positive change at the admission process announced by Westminster School and St Paul’s School for boys. Starting this year, these two schools will offer unconditional offers to successful candidates (in the past, the offers were conditional to achieving a minimum of 70% in prescribed subjects at Common Entrance).

The primary schools usually circulate useful information about the process a year before the exams, but personally I found useful talking to other parents who went through the process recently as well as read free online information available (like links above and more). And of cause, there are professional tutors and consultants, such as Janie Richardson School Search who offer advice on all aspects of the British Education system.