Overview

Joining us at 13+

Our 13+ entry is for children who are at a preparatory school that finishes at the end of Year 8. Each year, we welcome around 25 pupils who join us in Third Form.

Selection of candidates begins when a child is in Year 6, to join CLS in Year 9.

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

Please note that we have already recruited pupils to join at 13+ in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

We do not permit children to be entered for both the 11+ and 13+ exams.

Registration for 13+ 2026 has now closed.

Key dates

ISEB pre-test deadline by end of November 2023

Entrance exam day Thursday 30 November 2023

Results and invitations to interview sent out by Friday 15 December 2023

Interviews January 2024

Offers sent out by email mid-February 2024

Offerholders event late February 2024

Acceptance deadline early March 2024

Selection

Selection

A pupils’ age is calculated on 1 September in the year of desired entry. For 13+ entry, a child will be aged between 13 and 14, and will have completed Year 8 at their current school.

All pupils must be registered for our entrance exams by the deadline:

For 13+ entry in 2026 (for children born 1 September 2012 to 31 August 2013), the registration deadline will be Friday 6 October 2023.

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

All registered candidates must sit the ISEB Common Pre-test during the Autumn term of their Year 6. This is usually completed at the candidate’s current school.  Full details of the test can be found on the ISEB website.

Confidential reports will be required from the Head of the candidate’s current school.

All registered candidates will be invited to the School to sit computerised assessments in English, Mathematics and Reasoning (verbal and non-verbal) on Thursday 30 November 2023.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview, in January 2024. The interview lasts around 15-20 minutes and affords us an opportunity to get to know your child beyond their exam results. It is also useful for them 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 exams and interview, together with a confidential report from the Head of the candidate’s current school. 

All offers are conditional on continued hard work, excellent academic progress and good behaviour at the candidate's current school to the end of Year 8. In addition, offers require that candidates remain at their current preparatory school through years 7 and 8.

For all candidates, we will maintain an ongoing dialogue with their current school between offer and the candidate joining the Third Form and will seek evidence from their school that they have continued to demonstrate a strong work ethic and diligent approach to their learning by virtue of head’s reports and references.

Assessments

Assessments

Parents should consult the ISEB website or your child's current school for more information on the ISEB Pre-Test.

What assessments will my child sit for entry at CLS?

All candidates registered by the registration deadline will sit the following assessments:

Part 1: online assessment (95 minutes)

Part 2: creative writing (30 minutes)

Candidates should expect to sit both Part 1 and Part 2 on the same day. There will be breaks at various points throughout the assessments, so we expect them to be with us for about 2.5 hours.

The results of these assessments will be considered alongside confidential report from the Head of the candidate’s current school when selecting candidates for interview.

How does the Part 1 assessment work, and what will be tested?

The Part 1 assessment is online and will cover the following subject components:

Maths 20 minutes
English 20 minutes
Non-verbal Reasoning 10 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 10 minutes
Puzzles & Problem Solving 15 minutes
Creative Comprehension 20 minutes

The majority of questions in Part 1 are multiple-choice, with only a few questions requiring a candidate to type one word or number at most.

How does the Part 2 assessment work, and what will be tested?

Candidates will write a short story, based on a prompt, and with an image as inspiration.  They will be free to write from any perspective (first person, third person or any other), and may invent something entirely new or base their story on their own or someone else’s experience.

It must be written in paragraphs, and they will be tested on the following criteria:

  • Creativity – how interesting, imaginative and descriptive is it?
  • Vocabulary – can they use interesting words and techniques for effect?
  • Accuracy – can they spell and punctuate accurately?

Please note that phrases, words and imagery that have been pre-prepared are often apparent to those who mark the pieces, and often are not helpful.

Candidates are advised to prepare by reading widely and practising creative writing, including describing sensory details and convincing character behaviour, making sure they understand and can use punctuation conventions will also help them write with clarity.

The Part 2 assessment is usually hand-written (unless appropriate access arrangements for typing are in place). Content for Part 2 will be unrelated to Part 1.

 

Is the Part 1 assessment adaptive or non-adaptive, and what does this mean?

Maths, Verbal Reasoning, English and Non-Verbal Reasoning will be adaptive: this means questions will get harder or easier based on their responses as each candidate moves through the assessment to ensure the questions are at the right level for each individual. Therefore, candidates will not be able to skip or go back and change their answers to questions. It also means that each candidate may see different questions to others sitting the assessments.

Puzzles and Problem Solving and Creative Comprehension will be non-adaptive: this means all candidates will see the same questions, although some will progress further through the questions than others. They will have the ability to move backwards and forwards and be able to change their answers. 

What resources can my child use during the assessment?

Candidates will be permitted blank scrap paper (provided by school) and pencil/pen in all parts of the assessments for any working out. Candidates may not use any other additional materials during any stage, e.g. dictionaries, thesauruses, calculators, rulers, mobile phones, etc. 

How will candidates manage their time?

During the assessment, students will see a clock on their screen showing them how long they have left for each section. It will be visible but not so large as to distract them from their work. 

What about candidates eligible for extra time?

Parents are asked to declare the need for extra time (and/or other access arrangements) when they register their child. Where extra time is approved, the additional time will be automatically added to the timer visible on their screen for each section of the assessment. 

Why is the entry assessment online? What type of device will be used?

Many senior schools run online assessments. An adaptive online assessment allows for a better candidate experience and a shorter examination that still provides us with robust data. No extended typing is required, so typing ability does not impact results. 

The entry assessment will be sat using a laptop or desktop computer provided by CLS.

I would like to know more about the assessments.

We recommend viewing the short familiarisation exercise to get a feel for the online format and style of the assessment, you can view this here.

Given the adaptive nature of elements of the assessment, the questions shown in this familiarisation exercise are designed to demonstrate the style of questions used, not any content that may be tested.

Our family currently lives overseas. How will my child take the assessment?

Where possible, we ask candidates to travel to London to sit their assessments with us at CLS. By prior arrangement, candidates living overseas may be permitted to take the assessments under exam conditions at their current school or (at additional cost) be invigilated remotely by a member of CLS staff. Please contact the admissions team for further information.

How much preparation does my child have to do for the entry assessment?

We recommend that all candidates look at the familiarisation materials provided. 

Beyond that, our assessments will test knowledge based on the National Curriculum appropriate for your child’s age, and candidates will need to know how to read an extended comprehension passage to answer questions on it. These are all skills that your child will be developing in school, so they will not need any special tuition or intensive additional practice. 

Subject What is being assessed?
Maths Based on the National Curriculum, arithmetic and mathematical reasoning
English Based on the National Curriculum, reading and analysing a text, and spelling, punctuation and grammar
Non-verbal Reasoning Spatial and visual reasoning
Verbal Reasoning Using vocabulary and making deductions
Puzzles & Problem Solving Multi-step problem solving and logical reasoning
Creative Comprehension Analysing and synthesising information from multiple sources on a bespoke context

Scholarships & Prizes

Scholarships & Prizes

These are worth £35. Candidates who are awarded a Scholarship or a Prize may also be eligible for a means-tested bursary (up to the value of 100% of fees).

Academic Prizes are awarded based on performance in the School’s entrance exams. At interview, candidates will be expected to demonstrate that they are of high academic calibre and potential, but no specific preparation is required.

Music Scholarships (tenable to the end of Fifth Form (Year 11)) may be awarded on the basis of an audition and interview, and candidates must also satisfy the School’s normal academic entry requirements. Music 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 6; on other orchestral instruments, Grade 5 is accepted. 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 Prizes are awarded to gifted team 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 Prize, recipients of which are selected on the basis of a sports trial, candidates must have satisfied the School’s normal academic entry requirements. Recipients of Sports Prizes are eligible to receive funding from the Sports Prize Fund to support their personal and team sporting development. They are also 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.

FAQs

FAQs

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

Pupils 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 children covering such distances but the pupils 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.

  • Does the School accept pupils with learning difficulties?

Yes, provided they meet the academic entry requirements of the School. Parents of a child who has any special educational need should submit all relevant educational psychologists’, medical practitioners’ or specialist teachers’ reports at registration. This information is required in order to make appropriate arrangements during the exams 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 those with special educational needs to work with greater independence and success within the School.

  • 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 pupil’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 pupil’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. Pupils 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.

  • How does the House System work?

There are six Houses at CLS, and the pupil’s tutor group from the Third Form onwards determines the House they are in. The House System allows pupils to compete with others in their age group, particularly at sport, and enjoy a sense of loyalty and belonging. It is not part of the formal pastoral system.

  • 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 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 pupils 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 pupils ensures that the ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ concept remains at the forefront of the pupils’ ideals. Our pupils 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 child with the opportunity to extend their individual sporting potential.

Videos

Our School in video

Pupil Welfare

How we safeguard our pupils welfare
learn more