Change to the 11+ Admissions process for external candidates

We are very aware of the additional stress that the ongoing pandemic is placing on Year 6 pupils and their families. We have reviewed our Admissions process to help minimise disruption to our 11+ candidates and ensure that applicants are not disadvantaged due to Covid-19. In light of the continued uncertainty about future government guidance, and recognising that some girls may need to self-isolate over the coming months, we have decided to adopt a different test this year.

The test can be taken within a generous timeframe and at a number of different locations, including at the applicant’s current school. This means that pupils who are unable to take the test on a particular date due to illness or self-isolation have a variety of other testing dates available to them. As such, we will not be following the Admissions arrangements of The London 11+ Consortium this year, but providing what we believe to be a fair and flexible alternative.

What is the new entrance test?

All St Helen’s applicants will be invited to sit the ISEB Common Pre-test. This year, many other independent schools in London have opted for this test. The computer-based test includes questions on verbal and non-verbal reasoning, English and Maths, and takes two and a half hours to complete. As with our usual 11+ test, no special preparation is required for the ISEB Common Pre-Test. It is designed to identify potential as well as attainment. As such, the test is as accessible to pupils who suffered disruption to their education last term. Practice tests are not available, but familiarisation materials are available on the ISEB website. As test results will be shared by the test provider, your daughter need only sit the ISEB Common Pre-test once.

Where and when will your daughter be able to sit the test?

Your daughter can sit the test either at her current school, at St Helen’s, or at any other school she has applied to, provided it offers the ISEB Common Pre-test. Please check with the Headteacher at your daughter’s school if the ISEB Pre-test is being offered. If so, she should sit it there any time on or before 8th January 2021. If your daughter’s school does not offer the ISEB Pre-test, she is welcome to sit it at St Helen’s on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 8th December
  • Thursday 10th December
  • Wednesday 16th December
  • Friday 18th December
  • Tuesday 5th January
  • Friday 8th January

You will be able to book a testing slot via an online system. More details on this to follow in due course. Please note that if your daughter chooses to sit at another school, it must be taken on or before our school’s deadline of Friday 8th January 2021.

Where can I find out more about the ISEB Common Pre-test?

Please refer to the ISEB website for more information. If you have any further queries about sitting the test overseas, or access arrangements for girls with special learning difficulties, please do contact our Admissions team.

Will all applicants be interviewed?

Given the circumstances, we have committed to interviewing every applicant this year. We hope this provides some reassurance and an additional opportunity for your daughter to shine. Our interview process helps us to gain a holistic picture of each prospective pupil. At the interview, we aim to put girls at ease whilst challenging them, to identify whether they will truly thrive at St Helen’s. We hope to conduct 20 minute interviews in person at St Helen’s between 11th January and 29th January.

Will we request a reference/feedback from your daughter’s current school?

In order to gain as complete a picture as possible, we will contact current schools to request a reference. We will also ask them to provide a statement to explain the impact of lockdown and the teaching and learning provided since March 2020.

How will Music and Sports Scholarship applicants be assessed?

If a pupil has applied for a Music or Sports Scholarship, we will be in touch to advise whether she has been selected for assessment by the relevant department. These assessments will take place within the interview window, 11th – 29th January, and we will contact all scholarship applicants with further details in due course.

When will I hear if my daughter has been offered a place?

You will receive notification of offers on Friday 12th February. This will be followed by an Offer Holders’ Event on Wednesday 24th February; the deadline to accept is noon on Wednesday 3rd March. Please note that any changes to key dates will be communicated to all applicants and listed on our website.

Can pupils and parents visit St Helen’s at the moment?

Due to current restrictions, it is not possible to visit the school in person. We have a comprehensive Virtual Open Day experience accessible via our website which provides a detailed look at all areas of our school. Please do explore our Virtual Open Day offering.

Should you have any queries about the process, please do not hesitate to contact our Admissions team.