Joining us at 13+

Our 13+ entry for 2023 is primarily for boys who are at a preparatory school. Each year, we welcome around 40 boys who join us in Third Form.

Selection of candidates begins when a boy 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 boys to join at 13+ in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

We do not permit boys to be entered for both the 11+ and 13+ examinations.

To register for 13+ 2023, you can access our online registration system through the red 'Register' button above.

Please note we are not currently accepting registrations for 13+ 2024 and beyond.


Key dates

Key dates for 13+ 2023 entry

Deadline for applications Friday 2 October 2020

ISEB pre-test deadline by end of November 2020

Invitations to further assessments and interviews sent out by Friday 18 December 2020

Further written assessments and interviews Spring Term 2021

Offers sent out Spring Term 2021



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

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

For 13+ entry in 2023 (for boys born 1 September 2009 to 31 August 2010), the registration deadline is 2 October 2020.

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, although it is possible to come to CLS to sit the tests if the candidate’s current school does not offer the examination. 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

Candidates who perform well in the Pre-test will be in invited to the School for short written assessments in Mathematics and English and an interview, in the Spring Term of Year 6. The interview 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.

An offer is made on the evidence of the examinations 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. 

Candidates at schools preparing pupils for the Common Entrance examinations will be expected to sit these papers in the core subjects and achieve a high score (usually above 70%) in each subject. For candidates studying at schools which no longer follow the full Common Entrance curriculum, we will rely on evidence from his school that he has continued to demonstrate a strong work ethic and diligent approach to his learning. 

For all candidates, we will maintain ongoing dialogue with their current school between offer and the candidate joining the Third Form. 



Scholarships are worth £250.

Academic Scholarship candidates are selected on the strength of their results in the ISEB pre-test, their performance in the subsequent interview, group session and short written assessments, and the further Scholarship assessment in Year 8. 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. Successful candidates will normally have achieved at least Grade 6 standard in one or more instruments. 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

Specimen Papers Title

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



  • 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 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 boys 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 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.

  • How does the House System work?

There are six Houses at CLS, and the boy’s tutor group from the Third Form onwards determines the House he is in. The House System allows boys 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 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.


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