There are many benefits to an English Independent school education, including enriched academic opportunities, controlled class size, parental involvement and the latest technological resources. However, the whole process can feel complex. It can be helpful to choose a Nursery and a Pre-Prep school that can guide you through the competitive examination processes for top senior schools, such as Westminster, Eton and St Paul’s.
3-4: Independent Nursery
Some Independent Nurseries, Pre-Prep and Prep Schools register from birth. The term in which the child turns three is a common start date, but dates vary.
Independent Nurseries sometimes pursue a more active Early Years Curriculum, providing building blocks for future exam success, in addition to getting children ‘school-ready.’
4-13: Pre-Prep School and Prep School
Young children will join Pre-Prep Schools at 4+ and move on to Prep schools at 8+. These schools offer fun yet intensive academic and co-curricular training. For boys, this leads to exams at either 7+, 8+, 11+ or 13+ for Senior schools; for girls it is usually at 11+.
The 11+ exam is taken in the January of Year 6. The Common Entrance 13+ exam is taken in the June of Year 8. This is preceded by an interview or pre-test in Year 6 or 7 when a firm offer is made.
Many London day schools and boarding schools set their own exams, others belong to groups, such as the London 11+ Consortium, making exam entries to a number of schools easier.
There really is no need to worry. The school will guide you through it all.