How to Get into Westminster School

Shannon Cunningham

July 28, 2015

How to Get into Westminster School

Westminster School

Type: Independent Day and Boarding School
Fees: Under School day fees are £5,906 per term
Current Head: Mr Mark O'Donnell

About Westminster School
Westminster School is the only ancient London school to occupy its original site by Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. The historic school traces its origins back to a charity school built by the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth I is credited as the school’s Foundress because she confirmed royal patronage in 1560 after her father, Henry VIII, ensured the school’s survival during the dissolution of monasteries in 1540. It has had many famous past attendees.

Why is it so popular?
It is unique in that it is only a boys school until the Sixth Form where it begins co-educational schooling. Boys can join the school starting at age 13, then both girls and boys can apply after the age of 16. The school contains 750 students, with about a quarter of them being boarders who go home on weekends after Saturday morning school. Many pupils achieve places at Cambridge or Oxford because of the school’s historical links with the colleges. Quite a few students attend notable universities in the United States as well. In fact, they have the highest number of pupils that continue to the colleges from their education in the entire world.

How do I decide if the school is right for my child?
The school does have Open Mornings scheduled during the autumn terms for those who wish to register their son for Year 3, 4, or 7. You can also schedule a visit for your child if they are in Year 5 on the school’s website.

Upcoming dates for Open Mornings will be in September and can be found here

What grades do the students at the school receive?
In 2016  the percentage of pupils who achieved an A* at GCSE was 88%.  At A-level 55.7% secured an A* grade, with 71 pupils achieving at least 3A*s.

Admissions for Westminster Under School (Years 3, 4, or 7)

The school prefers that applications be turned in about two years before entry for the child, however, the latest they will accept registration forms is prior to the October half-term preceding the proposed date of entry. For example, if you want your son to enter in Year 7, you should submit their application during Year 5.

What are the examinations like for 11 plus?
Entrance examinations are held in January each year for all candidates and include the subjects of Mathematics, English, and Reasoning. They are more relaxed than other schools because they expect that your son is already performing well at their current school.

The exam for Year 7  is now the ISEB Common Pre-tests and held electronically between November and December. It will test the child’s Mathematics, English, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning skills. Candidates invited to the next stage will then have to take written Math and English exams and be interviewed by the Master.

What is found in the examinations for entry in Year 9?
120 places are available for entry at 13+ in which 50 places are from the Under School, but the rest are from other schools. Examinations are taken while the child is in Year 6. These are the ISEB Common Pre-tests which include Math, English, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. A reference is also requested from your son’s current school. They will then review your son’s score and reference. Following this, there will be an interview held between January and March, and will have short exams in Math and English.

What is found in the examinations for entry in Year 4?
Maths - Your child must have completed the curriculum for Key Stage 1 and have started Key Stage 2. The school would expect your child to know their multiplication tables and have basic numeracy skills.

English - The exam will consist of spelling exercises, a short composition, and a small composition. The school expects your child to be able to write with few errors and to use a good level of English.

Reasoning - This will involve verbal reasoning and elements of non-verbal reasoning. These will include: abstract shapes, number sequences, and codes.

What is found in the examinations for entry in Year 3?
Maths - Your child should have finished the curriculum for Key Stage 1. The school expects your child to be able to carry out exercises successfully to this level.

English - The exam will consist of spelling exercises, a short composition, and a small composition. The school expects your child to be able to write with few errors and to use a good level of English.

Reasoning - This will involve verbal reasoning and elements of non-verbal reasoning. These will include abstract shapes, number sequences, and codes.

Entry for Sixth Form
Every year, about 70 new students join the school during this time. Also, this is when girls can enter the school. The girls make up one third of the two Sixth Form year groups. The application process is very competitive and offers are made based on scores received on examinations. Exams are set depending on what subjects your child would like to study. For example, if your child wants to do Math, Chemistry, Biology, and French, Westminster School will set up an exam on just those subjects for your child. If they achieve satisfactory scores on all four then they will be offered a place at the school and this will be told to them by early December.

Key Tips
“The ISEB Examination is used by many preparatory schools and for this reason many companies have produced papers which are written in this style and can be bought from WH Smiths and Amazon. Students should practice as much as possible using these practice papers, and run through the answers afterwards to check what they got right and wrong in order to help them improve. It can be a long process trying to prepare for these exams and many students can get frustrated with the number of questions they have to do - so offer lots of encouragement!

For the interview, the Westminster wants to get an idea of who your child on a personal level and outside of the school environment. A good way to prepare for this is to do mock interviews together.”

If you would like more advice or help on Westminster School Admissions

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