Joining us at 11+

11+ is our largest intake when we welcome up to 60 boys from schools all over London. 

Bursaries are available at this point of entry to cover up to 100% of school fees. For more information please click here

Registration for 11+ 2021 is now closed. Registration for 11+ 2022 will open in April 2021.

Covid update

Covid update

City of London School is committed to running a fair and transparent admissions process as we assess candidates for a place in our First Form (Year 7) in September 2021.

We have reviewed our published admissions process, and are making some changes to ensure that we are able to conduct our assessments in a safe, effective and secure environment; in particular, this means that we will seek to limit the number of candidates on site at any one time, whilst ensuring that all candidates have an opportunity to demonstrate their potential to us.

All registered candidates will be invited to sit written examinations in English and Mathematics at the School, on Friday 4 December 2020.

Each examination will last 50 minutes, and your son will be invited to attend at a specific time over the course of the day to facilitate social distancing. Where possible, we will invite pupils from the same school to attend at the same time.

We recognise that any alterations to our entrance procedures will make candidates and their parent anxious, but we hope that minimal changes will not feel too disruptive for your sons.

After the examinations, we will look closely at each candidates' examination results, alongside the confidential reference the current school will complete for him, as we shortlist candidates.

We hope to publish this information to parents by email by Friday 11 December.

We will confirm arrangements for shortlisted candidates in this email. These candidates can expect to return to the School during January 2021 to sit reasoning examinations (verbal and non-verbal) and for an academic interview.

Offers of places will be made on Friday 12 February, with an acceptance deadline of Wednesday 3 March.


Covid FAQs

  • Why has the examination date changed?

We are seeking to build resilience into our admissions process. By moving the examinations to Friday 4 December 2020, we are allowing flexibility to reschedule testing at a later date should government guidance in December mean that we are unable to facilitate examinations on site. By reducing the diet of examinations, we are minimising the time that your son will need to spend at the School, whilst ensuring that we are able to collect meaningful assessment information. Moving examinations before Christmas will also allow us to spend longer interviewing candidates in January.

  • How is the content of the examinations changing?

This year, all candidates will sit written examinations in English and Mathematics only, and each examination will be shorter than normal. Specimen papers and indicative content are published on our website.

Normally we ask all candidates to sit reasoning examinations, too. For 11+ entry in 2021, these reasoning examinations will only be sat by those candidates who are invited for an academic interview.

  • Will my son have to come to CLS to sit his entrance examinations?

Yes. We are keen to meet as many candidates as possible and will require all candidates sit their examinations at the School. Please note the following exceptions:

  1. Arrangements for candidates who self-isolating in respect of a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 will be agreed on an individual basis. We will contact your son’s current school to confirm that his absence from the examinations is due to Covid-19.
  2. The Admissions Team will contact the family of registered candidates who live overseas to confirm arrangements for testing. This will not require travel to London.
  • When is the registration deadline?

This was Friday 6 November 2020 for all applicants.

  • I’m concerned that my son’s school experience since March will have a negative impact on his performance.

We are conscious that candidates will have had a wide range of school experiences this year, and we will ask your son’s current school for contextual information to help us understand the impact of this on your son. As normal, we encourage you to inform us about any individual issues that are specific to your son as soon as possible.

  • Are bursaries still available?

Yes, and details are published on our website. The application process for bursaries is unchanged, and all registered candidates will sit examinations on Friday 4 December.

  • What about Scholarships?

The School awards scholarships for academic performance, music and sport. Full details are published on our website. The criteria for scholarships is unchanged, and we will publish information regarding how we will facilitate sports trials and music auditions in due course.

  • Are your interviews changing?

Each year, we meet hundreds of candidates for their interview, and we currently plan to conduct as many of these as possible in person at the School. If government guidance prevents us from doing this, your son will meet one of our teachers virtually. You can find more information regarding the nature of our academic interviews on the website.

  • Has the number of places available changed?

We are looking for up to 60 pupils to join our First Form (Year 7) in September 2021. This number is flexible, however; it may be influenced by the performance of all candidates in the 11+ examinations, and those applying to join the School at other entry points.

  • Can I visit CLS?

We are currently unable to welcome families of candidates to our School. You may have attended one of our virtual Open Evenings last month, which we hope gave you a flavour of the School. The Open Event Hub remains available and we will publish new content to this over the coming months. We aim to offer all candidates who receive an offer of a place the opportunity to visit in person before the acceptance deadline, subject to the prevailing government guidance in effect at this time.



A boy’s age is calculated on 1 September in the year of desired entry. For 11+ entry, a boy will be aged between 11 and 12, and will have completed Year 6 at his current school.

All boys must be registered for our Entrance Examinations by the deadline.

For 11+ entry in 2021 (for boys born 1 September 2009 to 31 August 2010), the registration deadline was 6 November 2020 for all applicants.

Registration and payment of the non-refundable registration fee must be completed online.

All registered candidates will be invited to sit examinations in English and Mathematics on Friday 4 December 2020; shortlisted candidates will sit examinations in Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning during January 2021.

Shortlisted candidates will be in invited back to the School for an interview, usually in early February. The interview lasts around 20 minutes and affords us an opportunity to get to know your son beyond his examination results. It is also useful for him to be able to find out more about us. No specific preparation is required or expected for the interview.

The offer of a place at the School is made on the evidence of the examination and interview, together with a confidential report from the Head of the candidate’s current school. An offer of a bursary is also dependent on satisfying the financial eligibility criteria.



Scholarships are worth £250. Candidates who are awarded a Scholarship may also be eligible for a means tested bursary (up to the value of 100% of fees).

Academic Scholarship candidates are selected based on their performance in the School’s entrance examinations. At interview, candidates will be expected to demonstrate that they are of high academic calibre and potential, but no specific preparation is required. Candidates who are awarded an Academic Scholarship are expected to maintain excellent academic standards throughout their school life.

Music Scholarships may be awarded on the basis of an audition and interview, and candidates must also satisfy the School’s normal academic entry requirements. Scholarships are offered on all orchestral instruments; however, voice cannot be offered as a first study and singers are also expected to play an instrument. The minimum requirement on piano and strings is Grade 5. In addition to the monetary value of a Scholarship, Music Scholars will also receive free tuition on two instruments at the School, or the equivalent monetary value towards external tuition. Music Scholars are expected to participate fully and contribute positively to the musical life of the School in activities appropriate to their talents, to be involved in a reasonable number of activities out of normal School hours, and to meet the high standards of musicianship expected by the School; they will also be expected to take Music IGCSE.

Sports Scholarships are awarded to gifted team games players who have the ability to make a significant contribution to at least two of the School's major team sports, especially football. In order to be awarded a Sports Scholarship, which are awarded on the basis of a sports trial, candidates must have satisfied the School’s normal academic entry requirements. In addition to the monetary value of a Scholarship, Sports Scholars are eligible to receive funding from the Sports Scholarship Fund to support their personal and team sporting development.Sports Scholars are expected to contribute positively and fully to the sporting life of the School in all three terms of the academic year and to be involved in a reasonable number of activities out of normal School hours. Representation for the School is a key requirement and will only be waived in special circumstances by the Director of Sport.

Specimen papers



  • How long is the average travelling time to and from School?

Boys attend CLS from all over the Greater London area. The majority travel by public transport, the average journey time being about 45 minutes. Some parents have initial misgivings about their sons covering such distances but the boys tend to make light of it, often using the time to their advantage by reading and learning. Moreover, we find that commuting often engenders a sense of independence and confidence in our boys.

  • Does the School accept boys with learning difficulties?

Yes, provided they meet the academic requirements of the School. Parents of a boy who has any special educational needs should disclose this when they register their son and should submit all relevant educational psychologists’, medical practitioners’ or specialist teachers’ reports shortly there after. This information is required in order to make appropriate arrangements during the examinations or at interview. After admission, the Learning Support Department, in consultation with parents, will make recommendations as to the type of help needed by each individual pupil. Support may include individual or group lessons, providing study skills or specialist tuition, enabling boys with special educational needs to work with greater independence and success within the School.

  • Are there any Choral awards?

Yes. Candidates for entry to the School may also apply for a Choral Scholarship at the Temple Church or the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace.

Potential choristers are auditioned by the choir and academic assessments are taken at the School at the age of 8, usually in year 4. Choristers usually join the School at 10+ in the appropriate year. Successful candidates are offered a conditional place at the School and are required to sit the appropriate entrance examinations, which are used as a check that the required progress has been made.

Parents are encouraged to make early contact with the relevant choir for further information:

The Chapel Royal: Mr Joe McHardy, Director of Music (tel. 020 3680 6444; e-mail: jm@cityoflondonschool.org.uk)

The Temple Church: Liz Clarke (tel. 020 7353 8559; e-mail: liz@templechurch.com).

  • How is the pastoral system organised?

At the heart of the pastoral system is the Form Tutor who is responsible for all aspects of a boy’s progress through the School - personal, academic, extra-curricular and social. Tutors are encouraged to contact parents by telephone or e-mail if they are concerned or delighted by any aspect of a boy’s performance, and parents are encouraged to reciprocate. We seek an active dialogue, a partnership where trust has been built up between Tutor and parent. A boy will generally keep the same Tutor for two years, the exceptions being for those in Old Grammar (Year 6) and the Third Form (Year 9). Tutors are supported by a Head of Year and the Deputy Head Pastoral, who has overall responsibility for the pastoral system. All parents of new boys receive a Pastoral Handbook, which explains policies and procedures in greater detail.

  • What links does the School have with City of London School for Girls?

Although both Schools are owned by the City of London Corporation, they are run separately. However, there is much co-operation and assistance in co-curricular activities such as drama productions, musical concerts, clubs and the annual Sponsored Walk – not to mention social occasions.

  • What is the ethos of the School with regard to Sport?

The programme aims to provide boys with the opportunity to engage in a sporting activity that motivates, rewards and promotes a healthy and active lifestyle for each individual, regardless of ability. A Games afternoon for all students ensures that the ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ concept remains at the forefront of the pupils’ ideals. Our boys are offered an increasing choice of activities as they progress through the School. A thorough grounding in individual and team sports in the lower years is then enhanced in later years by the introduction of more specialist activities such as sailing, climbing, fencing and martial arts. A full range of outdoor and adventure activities is also available through the Combined Cadet Force. CLS has an extensive inter-school fixtures list, which promotes elite level competition across the four major school sports: football, cricket, water polo and basketball. School teams annually achieve outstanding results in both Regional and National Leagues and in Cup competitions, and we are very proud of our successes. The School invests heavily in maintaining and adding to its outstanding facilities, both on and off-site, in order to provide every boy with the opportunity to extend his individual sporting potential.

Pupil Welfare

How we safeguard our boys' welfare
learn more