If you would like your child to attend a private school – whether you have a specific establishment in mind or are still considering your options – it’s good to know as much as possible about the admission process and any criteria your son will need to meet.
In this blog we’ll explore how to get into a private school and explain how we allocate places here at Aldwickbury.
At many schools, children starting at pre-prep level (at ages 4-6) are assessed informally in an age-appropriate way, during a short visit. Exact entry requirements will vary depending on the school, so be sure to check what they are looking for in advance. Here at Aldwickbury, boys entering the school in Reception year are not assessed; instead, entrance at this stage comes down to filling in your registration form early enough. (We do, however, conduct a screening assessment for any boy joining the school after Reception September entry).
If your chosen school is oversubscribed, you will need to apply as early as you can in order to beat the rush (at least a year before your child is due to take up their place), or be placed on a waiting list in the hope that one of the allocated places becomes available. At registration, you will be usually be required to pay a non-refundable registration fee.
Many, though not all, private schools are selective, meaning that they admit prospective pupils based on their academic performance with other skills in sporting or artistic abilities taken into account. For pupils over the age of 7, their assessment commonly involves an entrance exam and perhaps an interview. Some parents believe that they need to do lots of preparation to pass entry tests, but if a child is under too much pressure then it may be that it is the wrong type of school for them. We would recommend to parents that their boys are given plenty of time to play outside, socialise, relax, read as much as possible and play educational games.
Here at Aldwickbury, boys wishing to enter the Prep School (Years 1 and above) will be invited to attend a more informal screening session, which is more relaxed than an exam. During the session, they will be assessed on their levels of literacy and numeracy.
Scholarships and bursaries
If you are researching private schools because you require help with the fees, it pays to start the process early. Find out what’s on offer at your chosen schools before your child is due to start, in order to give them the best chance of being offered an award. Don’t leave it too late as this may diminish your chances of gaining access to the funding.
All bursaries are means tested, and can be gained in other areas, not just academics.
Scholarships, which are not means tested, can also be won depending upon the school. However, they are not always for huge sums of money. Check the Educational Trusts Forum for more information on educational grants.
Boarding or day places
Some independent schools have boarding places available, others are purely for day pupils. If you are interested in boarding, it is worth looking into the options. Boarding schools offer a wide range of opportunities in modern caring environments. Some schools offer flexibility with boarding and so it is always worth finding out what is on offer, which can easily be done by looking at the various schools’ websites.
Find out more about the admissions process at Aldwickbury or request a prospectus.