We are acutely aware that the transition to secondary education is a key stage of your child’s life. The apprehension that surrounds the admissions process has been further exacerbated by concerns about remote learning during the lockdown period and the uncertainty hanging over us all because of Covid-19. We are very sympathetic to your concerns and we are keen to do all we can to provide support and reassurance.
We have detailed below further information which we hope you will find useful and will address any queries you may have. If your Q&A is not detailed below it is most likely because we don’t have that answer yet as the situation remains so fluid. Please rest assured that we are absolutely committed to as fair, robust, and positive admissions process as possible within the current restrictions. We will do all we can to ensure your child has every opportunity to show his or her true potential.
What changes are you making?
In previous years every candidate sitting our 11+ entrance exam would have sat the exam at Latymer Upper School in early January. Candidates would be assessed in an English and Maths exam, set by our teachers. In the current climate, it is unwise to expect candidates to come in to school in large numbers on one or two days as was the norm in previous years. Therefore, for this year, we have decided instead that candidates should sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test. This is a widely used online assessment comprising four sections: English, mathematics, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.
This decision has been made after extensive consultation across the sector and in agreement with other leading London schools.
What is the ISEB Common Pre-Test?
The ISEB Common Pre-Test is a respected and widely used online test for children moving from primary or prep schools to selective secondary schools. The test is designed to enable candidates to sit the same exam from different venues at different times. The test comprises four sections: English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. Sample test papers are not available. We will focus on the English and maths results as these are the two subjects that we would normally use to assess candidates.
Latymer Upper School will register all candidates with the ISEB to sit the ISEB Common Pre-Tests. No action is required by parents after the registration form has been submitted to Latymer The deadline for registration has now passed, it was 9am on 9 October.
The tests are taken online. Each pupil only takes the test once and this information is then shared with each senior school that the candidate has registered with.
Primary school candidates: some primary schools are able to run the test and it is worth asking if your child’s school intends to do so. The online test is sat in one of the candidate’s intended senior schools who are running these tests. With Covid restrictions in place, the closest option geographically is strongly recommended.
Prep school candidates: the online test is sat in the candidate’s own prep school. For those children who are unable to sit the test in their current schools, we are offering two dates when the tests can be taken at Latymer Upper School. This will be done fully in line with health and safety as well as government guidelines.
The test days at Latymer Upper will be Wednesday 25 November and Saturday 5 December.
All candidates must have taken the test before 5 December 2020.
The Admissions team will contact every registered candidate before the end of October to start the process of identifying where candidates are able to sit the test.
How many children typically sit the Latymer Upper School entrance exam?
In 2019, just over 1300 children sat the entrance exam. We then interviewed 350 children and were able to offer 128 places.
What does the test consist of?
The tests assess the English and mathematics content covered in the National Curriculum up to the end of Year 5 as well as verbal and non-verbal reasoning. We do not expect candidates to have done any verbal and non-verbal reasoning preparation beforehand and we will be focusing on the English and maths results as these are the two subjects that we would normally use to assess candidates.
English, 25 minutes : question styles include reading comprehension, sentence completion, spelling and punctuation.
Mathematics, 50 minutes: content is in line with the National Curriculum; candidates are assessed on National Curriculum topics taught up to the end of Year 5.
Verbal reasoning, 36 minutes: question styles include common words, antonyms, word combinations, letter transfer, number codes.
Non-verbal reasoning, 32 minutes: question styles include shape analogies, classes/categories (similar and dissimilar), horizontal codes.
Can we prepare for the test?
No special preparation is required for these tests, which are designed to identify potential as well as attainment. A link to a helpful familiarisation test is provided below. Examples and practice questions, where relevant, are provided during the tests so that candidates understand what they have to do. Each question is answered by choosing an answer from a selection shown on the screen. Each question must be answered and candidates cannot go back to previous questions. While taking the tests, candidates are able to track their progress within the test, to see the number of questions answered in relation to the overall number of questions.
How will you ensure fairness if candidates are sitting the exam on different dates and at different venues?
The ISEB Common Pre-Test has been created precisely for this and it is one of the reasons that we have chosen this approach. The tests are adaptive meaning that correctly answered questions will lead to harder questions, and vice versa. Therefore, no two students will receive the same multiple-choice test. There is a degree of age weighting in this test.
What happens after my child has taken the test?
On the basis of these tests, we will choose those whom we will invite to interview. It may be that the interviews can be held in person at Latymer Upper School in early 2021, but if not they will be conducted virtually. We are planning for both eventualities and will confirm these details as soon as we can.
Offers will be sent out on 11th February 2021.
Can the test be taken more than once?
Candidates are only required to sit the ISEB tests once and this result will be used by all schools that the pupil wishes to apply to. It is vital that parents complete the registration form and pay the registration fee for every school that your son or daughter wishes to be considered for.
If we want to come to take the test at the school, how do we book a date?
If your child’s school does not run the ISEB Common Pre-Test, we will allocate one of the test session slots at Latymer Upper School. The Admissions team will contact you before the end of October with further information. If there is a particular reason that your child would not be free on either 25 November or 5 December, please inform us as soon as possible: firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8148 4519
How does the ISEB support SEN candidates?
The Common Pre-Tests are accessible to candidates with a range of special educational needs, learning differences or disabilities. We will make reasonable adjustments dependent upon each candidate’s needs.
We ask that parents tell us about their child’s specific needs, provide a report from a suitably qualified professional, where relevant, and discuss with us what provision or adjustments will be made when assessing the candidate for entry.
For visually-impaired candidates, a degree of on-screen text enlargement is available via standard web browser zoom. We take into account the potential impact of SEN and learning differences as part of our overall assessment of a candidate’s application.
Does our child have to sit all elements of the test?
Yes, candidates must take all four elements of the test: verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, English and mathematics.
What Covid-19 safety measures will be in place?
We will ensure that Covid-secure protocols are followed from the moment the children enter the site until they leave. For those candidates needing to sit the exam at Latymer, we intend to divide these candidates across the sessions on two days; Wednesday 25 November and Saturday 5 December. In this way we will reduce the number of pupils in School at any time. We will stagger entry and exit times and adhere to social distancing guidance.
We are outside of the UK, what should we do?
Overseas pupils can arrange to sit the test in their school. The deadline to complete the test is Saturday 5 December. If the school isn’t able to support this, contact the Admissions team who will be able to advise you: email@example.com or 020 8148 4519
What happens if my child gets sick/is isolating and misses the test?
If your child has registered with us, and they become unwell before or on the day or their exam date is during a period that they need to isolate, contact the Admissions Office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8148 4519 ) and they will discuss options with you.
How will you take account of the disruption to education caused by the lack of conventional schooling last term?
We know the experience of children differed a great deal in the spring and summer terms of 2020. We want to do all we can to achieve fairness in our assessments. We would like to reassure parents and pupils that we continue to look for potential, academic aptitude and character – not simply “learned facts”.
What happens next if I applied for a bursary or music scholarship?
If you applied for a means-tested bursary and your child is selected for interview, the bursary advisor will be in touch to discuss your application in more detail. You will be contacted shortly before the interviews.
If you applied for a music scholarship, we will contact you to let you know if your child will be invited to attend a music scholarship audition. These auditions will take place around the same time as the interviews in January. If your child is not selected for interview, they will not be called for an audition.
If you have any further questions please contact the Admissions Team via email email@example.com or phone 020 8148 4519