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Applying to Your Chosen Schools

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The application procedure varies depending on the type of school

Grammar Schools

Closing dates for completing registration to apply for the Selective Eligibility (or Stage One) Test varies between schools, but is usually in June or July. Always check the Admission Policies on the school websites for precise closing dates for application forms as it does vary each year.

Some schools will also require you to complete a Supplementary Application Form. Contact either the school or LEA for this and check where and when to send it

If your child has a special educational need, you must complete an SEN Secondary School Transfer Form (obtainable from your SENCO). Your LEA will contact the schools directly on your behalf. If you comply with certain criteria, the LEA has the power to force a school to accept the applicant.

Applications received after the closing date or any changes made to the application form after the closing date is classed as a ’late application’. Late applications are not considered until after all applications received on time have been dealt with. If there is a legitimate reason for your late application, you should contact your LEA.

CAF (Common Application Form) – Once your child has sat the Selective Eligibility Test or 1st Stage exam, you will receive the result from the school about two to three weeks later. You will also have received a Common Application Form (CAF). This should come automatically from your Local Education Authority (LEA).

Depending on the LEA, you can usually choose up to 6 state schools which are placed in order of preference, including any Grammar Schools for which your child has met the Admission Standard and /or has qualified for entry to the second stage exam. Generally, if you don’t get into your first-choice school, your second is then counted and so on.

You can apply to schools outside your borough on the CAF. Whilst no LEA is allowed to refuse an application to one of its schools, it may use distance as one of its admissions criteria. It is best to check this with schools outside your borough.

Not all grammar schools are equal and some may be more difficult to get into than others. Again, we can advise you on this. We always recommend including at least one back-up comprehensive school on the application form just in case

Independent (Private) Schools

Independent (Private) Schools require a separate application to each school you wish your child to try for. Application forms can be obtained directly from the schools.

In theory you can apply for as many independent schools as you want, although you do obviously need to consider your child’s welfare here. We can give you advice on appropriate schools as we get to know your child. We can also advise on whether we think your child could try sitting for a bursary or scholarship.

The closing date for applications to independent schools varies but is usually around September or October (although some can be much earlier). Many schools will not accept a late application, so it is crucial to contact schools as soon as possible.

Scholarships and Bursaries

Various Scholarships are offered by the majority of Independent Schools including Academic Scholarships as well as scholarships in Art, Music, Sport, Drama, DT etc. Candidates must not only satisfy the academic requirements of the entrance exam and interview, but must also demonstrate a strong commitment and enthusiasm for their chosen scholarship. The award of a scholarship is not dependent on parental income, but may be augmented by a means-tested bursary.

Fee assistance (Bursary) is means tested and the value is related to the circumstances of the applicant parents, with up to 100% of the full fees available in most schools. Fee assistance is also subject to satisfactory performance in the entrance examination. We advise you to contact the Bursar at the school prior to making a formal application. Application forms will be sent to any parents who have expressed an interest in fee assistance on their registration form.

Fees and Payment Methods

There are various ways in which school fees can be paid. The Independent Schools Council (ISC) information service website provides lots of advice on how school fees can be paid including bursaries and scholarships –