11 Plus Exam: Key Timelines and Deadlines for Independent Schools

The 11 Plus for independent schools, while similar in content to grammar school exams, follows a distinct timeline. Knowing these dates is essential to help your child’s exam preparation and ensure you do not miss the exam registration.

Early Preparation (18 Months Before the Exam)

As with grammar schools, it’s beneficial to start your child’s preparation as soon as possible, acquainting your child with the content and style of the exam.

We believe that year four can be the perfect time for most children to start their preparation so that it doesn’t become too stressful a journey for them.

Enquiries and Open Days (12-15 Before the Exam)

Private schools host open days where you can learn more about the school and its admission process. Attend these to gather insights and ask questions.

Registration Period (9-12 months Before the Exam)

The registration window for independent schools might differ slightly from grammar schools. Register within the given period, which usually closes a few months before the exam date.

The registration window for independent schools varies but often falls within this range. It’s essential to register your child during this period so they do not miss out.

Independent schools usually charge a registration fee, which can range from £50 to £250 or more, depending on the school’s prestige and location. This non-refundable fee covers the administrative costs of processing your child’s application.

Exam Day (Usually January)

Independent Schools

Unlike grammar schools, independent schools often conduct their 11 Plus exams in January. However, the exact date can differ based on the school. Many girls’ schools can start their exams as early as October, especially Girls Day School Trust (GDST) schools.

Naturally, the school will invite your child for the exam once you have registered them, but you must check beforehand.

Please note that there are sometimes instances when private schools will hold their exams on the same day as potentially competing schools in the area or region. It’s worth looking at the school calendar and checking before paying the registration fee, as this may be problematic. You can always call the school admissions department and ask for an alternate date, as some schools may have one due to other children being unwell or unable to take the exam due to extenuating circumstances.

Interviews (February or On the Day of the Exam)

Many independent schools follow up their entrance exams with interviews. Some even hold the interviews on the same day as your child’s entrance exam. You will find out about this in the admissions section of the school’s website, and you will also be informed about this when your child’s school acknowledges your registration and sends you some correspondence to explain the process.

The independent school interviews usually last about 5-10 minutes, possibly longer if parents are interviewed alongside their child (yes, this does happen at some schools!).

Prepare your child for potential questions and encourage them to be genuine and confident during their private school interview. We have a popular Independent School Interview Course, which has helped hundreds of students to easily ace their interviews and get a place at their dream independent school.

Offer Letters (Late February to March)

If successful, you’ll receive an offer letter informing you that your child has passed their exam. Additionally, if you have applied for any school scholarships and bursaries, the offer letter will notify you of your child’s success in gaining these. Subsequently, you can decide on accepting the admission.

Most offer letters will include a deadline for acceptance, along with details on paying a deposit to secure your child’s place at the school.

The 11 Plus journey for independent schools, with its unique timeline and stages, requires special attention. Being well-prepared and well-informed will ensure that you’re always a step ahead, securing the best educational opportunity for your child. Good luck!

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