Each school sets its own admissions procedure and there is no standard model in applying to a UK Private School.
All schools will require you to complete a registration form (if you wish your child to be considered for entry) and pay a non-refundable fee, generally in the range of £100 to £300. It is common to apply to 3 or 4 schools simultaneously, but bear in mind you will inevitably forfeit several of those registration fees.
Schools will often try to get parents to register as early as possible. Our own philosophy is to get our clients to visit schools first and if you like the school, register afterwards. However, some of the elite academic schools are now insisting on registration fees before even permitting a visit.
Registrations to the top schools usually need to be made at least a year before entry, there are though a number of schools who will continue to consider applicants right up until they are full.
The more academic the school, the more likely they are to test each applicant and require high scores. Children up to age 7 are generally “assessed” by prep schools with an interview and a taster day at the school. After age 7, they may be asked to take tests in English and Maths as well as verbal or non-verbal reasoning.
For senior school entry at age 11 or 13, the tests get progressively tougher and also cover a wider range of subjects such as Science and Languages. All schools require reports and a reference from the previous school and a few of the wider ability schools may give more weight to recent school reports than test results. SEN schools will require a recent educational psychologist’s report.
Our bespoke advice services not only cover school choice but also the minefield of guiding your child through entrance procedures.
Assuming your child is accepted by a school, you will receive a written offer and be given a fixed period (eg 2 or 3 weeks) in which you have to accept that offer (or lose it). You will then be asked to pay a deposit and / or the first term’s fees or both. Children from outside the EU may need a visa to study in the UK. They need to apply to schools which have Tier 4 Highly Trusted Status awarded by the UK Borders Agency. Only these schools can issue the CAS letter with their offer with which parents can apply for a visa.
Schools will require you to enter into a binding contract with them, which inter alia will usually require you to pay a forfeit of one term’s fees if you do not give the school a full term’s notice if you withdraw your child.