Admissions to secondary school

Important information for applicants who are considering applying for a selective school

Schools that offer places based on ability and aptitude require each applicant’s child to be tested. These include:

  • Grammar schools;
  • Partially selective (‘bilateral’) schools;
  • Schools which band applicants by ability to achieve a comprehensive intake;
  • Schools which select up to 10% of their cohort by aptitude in a prescribed subject.

In Newham only one school requires testing for year 7 entry, this is Chobham Academy and they operate national ability banding.  For more information on how this determines which children are offered a place see the Starting Secondary School guide (PDF).

If you are considering applying for a selective school for September 2021 entry, the usual processes maybe different due to the corona virus outbreak and the ongoing social distancing and other health and safety measures. We recommend you regularly check the school’s or the local authority’s website where the school is located for the latest information.

Usually all tests where a pass mark is required is taken before the national closing date for applications – this is known as ‘test before preference’.  This enables parents/carers to know if they should name the school as a preference.  Due to recommendations from Department for Education about children’s readiness to take the test so soon after returning to school, and Covid 19 restrictions on gatherings this year, tests are likely to be later in the autumn term and possibly after the national closing day.  So no family is disadvantaged by this change a new Pan London process for this year has been introduced.

What is the Pan London process for autumn 2020 applications? 

  • Name all the selective and non-selective schools parent/cares want their child to be considered for as preferences via the eAdmissions portal or their home local authority’s paper copy application.
  • Correctly submit their common application form (CAF) by the national closing date 31 October 2020, otherwise the application will be considered as late.
  • Await test information from the selective schools.
  • Take the test or tests as required.
  • Grammar schools will send parent/cares their child’s results and advices as to whether they have met the pass mark to be considered for a place.
  • If the child does not meet the pass mark for one or more of the named preferred schools we strongly recommend that they submit a change of preference to Pupil Services.  This means resubmitting all their current preferences and no longer naming the schools for whom the child has not met the pass mark.  The deadline for this exceptional change is 10th December 2020 and will only apply to applications that were received by the national closing date.

Not all change of preferences after national closing date will be considered as on time, only those where a selective school was named on the original school application, where the pass mark has not been met, is being replaced with a school that does not require a test.

If parent/carers are worried about this change please contact [email protected] or call 020 8430 2000 after the test so they can be advised of the next steps in the application process. 

For applications to Chobham Academy or any selective schools other than grammar schools the process other than the testing arrangements remains the same.