Admissions & entrance examinations during the Coronavirus pandemic

Whether it’s the 7+, 11+ or the all important 13 Plus Common Entrance exams that your child has been working towards, here is some key information about how schools are handling admissions and entrance examinations during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Admissions process changes due to coronavirus

Visiting independent schools 

  • Many schools stopped visits to the school for prospective parents long before the government announced the first school closures due to coronavirus. For example, Cumnor House School in Sussex gave clear and helpful guidance to their parents that they had decided to increase precautions within the school and were not allowing prospective parents to visit.
  • Virtual tours – most independent schools have been offering virtual tours during the Autumn term. Open days have also been held virtually. St Paul’s Girls’ School virtual 11plus open days became quickly fully booked. Good registrars will be able to talk you through what to expect.
  • If you’re struggling to get an idea of what a school is really like, our school reviews written by expert education consultants might help.

Applications to independent schools:

  • Registrars are still available as usual for all admissions queries. Their main contact numbers may have changed, or you may need to email in the first instance, but it is business as usual. If you are concerned about an application you have made recently or were planning to make to the school, contact the Registrar and discuss your concerns directly. Transparency and clarity is always sought by admissions teams so they will appreciate you laying your cards on the table.
  • Keep an eye out for updates from the schools you have registered with so you are aware of any changes in dates or process.

Finances

  • Don’t forget bursaries. There are ever increasing numbers of bursaries from private schools each year. Do not hesitate to contact the school you are considering to hear about what they might be able to offer your family.

Entrance examinations, assessments and interviews:

  • Entrance exams are even more stressful for parents this year. Firstly, some assessments were brought forward, moving to November last year rather than January this year. Now, most January assessments are disrupted or have been changed.
  • Online tests for the 7+ are continuing at a number of schools. Invigilation is online, sometimes with one teacher watching 10-15 pupils at once.
  • Tests have changed from their usual content to make them ‘online friendly’. For example, at Alleyn’s their traditional English and maths exam has changed to verbal and nonverbal reasoning and quantitative and spacial testing in most cases. After the Autumn term assessments, Dulwich College Junior School 7+ interviews are taking place online in small groups.
  • We’re pleased to hear that many independent schools are being flexible and understanding in regard to the differing provision of schooling that each child may have had during the school closures, and therefore gaps in their knowledge. Rest assured that schools will be taking this into account.
  • Schools will instead be keen to gauge your child’s attainment and potential during their interview, many of which will be held remotely. St Paul’s Girls’ school for example will be holding interviews remotely this year, some schools are hoping to interview in person but are preparing to meet students remotely if necessary.
  • We advise parents who are concerned about how their child might cope with interviews, in person or online, to gently and practically prepare your child for what to expect. For most children, an interview means speaking about themselves to a stranger, practising is helpful.
  • Collated by experts, our 11plus and 13plus exam tips can help ahead of examinations.

Please do not hesitate to contact us using our enquiry form or by calling +44 (0)207 350 1981 for help navigating your child’s education.