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City of London School: 11 plus entry guide

By Atom | Apr 24, 2023, 10:13 AM

City of London School, London

Are you considering City of London School for your son? We've collated everything you need to know about 11 plus entry to Year 7. Keep reading to learn about key dates, what's covered on the entrance exam, and how to help your child prepare for success.

About City of London School

City of London School provides a leading private education to boys between the ages of 10 and 18. It's partnered with City of London School for Girls and City of London Freemen’s School in Surrey. The school tops national league tables and is ranked within the top five boys' schools in the UK.

City of London School enjoys an iconic location on the banks of the River Thames and in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral. Links with London's cultural, political, educational, and business institutions provide pupils with excellent opportunities. Students also benefit from partnerships with King’s College London, University College London, the London Youth Choir, IntoUniversity, and the City of London Academies.

CLS students study a wide range of subjects, including linguistics, Mandarin, Russian, Greek, and robotics. A bespoke course on Core Learning and Survival Skills teaches skills such as organisation, time management, and information processing. Students have plenty of enrichment opportunities too. Boys can enter Trinity and Erasmus essay competitions, science Olympiads and Model United Nations.

  • Head: Mr Alan Bird

  • Address: City of London School, 107 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 3AL

  • London borough: City of London

  • Age range and gender: 10–18, boys only

  • Number of pupils: 1,000+

  • National league table rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 11

  • A level results: 96.6% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 96.8% 9–7

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 020 3680 6300

  • Open day: 28th September and 4th October 2023. Book online

  • Overview of selection procedure: online assessment, creative writing task, interview and school reference

  • Registration closes: Friday 3rd November 2023

  • Assessment date: Friday 1st December 2023

City of London School term dates

The term dates at City of London School for 2023–24 are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 15th December 2023

  • Half term: 16th–27th October 2023

  • Spring term: 9th January – 22nd March 2024

  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024

  • Summer term: 15th April – 4th July 2024

  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

City of London School fees and financial assistance

The current fees at City of London School are £7,545 per term. Lunch is provided at a cost of £338 per term.

Financial assistance

City of London School is able to offer bursaries to bright pupils who would not otherwise be able to afford the school fees. Bursaries can cover all or part of the school fees, depending on the family's financial circumstances. As a guide, families with a net income of less than £45,000 would be eligible for a bursary covering 100% of school fees. Families who have a net income of £70,000 may be eligible for a discount of up to 25%.

Find out more about bursaries on the school website.


Children applying for 11 plus entry to City of London School can also apply for a scholarship. Scholarships are not means-tested but awarded for talent or potential in a particular subject.

  • Academic prizes: £35

  • Music scholarships: £35 plus free tuition on two instruments

  • Sports prizes: £35 plus funding from the Sports Prize Fund to support personal and team sporting development

Learn more about City scholarships and requirements.

City of London School admissions process

11 plus (11+) is the largest entry point at City of London School, with boys welcomed from schools all over London. Children who are offered a place will start school in the First Form (Year 7).

1. Visit the school

If you are considering City of London School for your son, it's a good idea to visit the school at one of its open events first. Open events are a great opportunity to explore the school site and facilities, hear from senior staff, and talk to current staff and pupils. This is the best way to get a feel for the school and decide if it's the right fit for your child.

Find out more about open events at City of London School.

2. Register for 11 plus entry

The admissions process begins when you register your child with the school. To register your son for entry in the First Form, complete the online application form before Friday 3rd November 2023. You will also need to pay a registration fee of £160, which is non-refundable.

3. City of London School 11 plus assessment

All children who are registered by the 11 plus deadline will take the school assessment on Friday 1st December 2023. This consists of two parts:

  • Part 1: online assessment (95 minutes)

  • Part 2: handwritten creative writing (30 minutes)

Children will sit both parts on the same day. The experience takes about 2.5 hours in total (including breaks). City of London School will use these results, in combination with your child's school reference, to shortlist children for interview.

What's tested in Part 1?

The online assessment has six sections:

The content is based on the national curriculum. Children will be tested on arithmetic and mathematical reasoning.

The majority of questions are multiple-choice. The maths, reasoning, and English sections are adaptive, which means that questions will get harder or easier based on your child's responses. Your child will not be able to skip questions, or go back and change their answers. They might also see different questions to other children taking the assessment.

Puzzles and problem-solving and creative comprehension are non-adaptive. All children will see the same questions, and they can move backwards and forwards to change their answers.

Try some CLS questions

Have a go at this familiarisation exercise to get a feel for the online format and style of the City of London 11 plus assessment.

Let's go!
Screenshot of a non-verbal reasoning question in the CLS familiarisation test

4. Interview

Children who perform well in the 11 plus assessment will be shortlisted for an interview. This will take place in January 2024.

Interviews last between 15 and 20 minutes and provide a two-way opportunity for the school to find out more about your child, and for your child to learn more about the school.

Find out more about private school interviews.

5. Offers

CLS will consider your child's results from the assessment, performance at interview, and the reference from their current headteacher when making offers. If you have applied for a bursary, this will be dependent on satisfying financial eligibility criteria. You may also receive a home visit between late January and early February 2024.

Offers will be sent by email in mid February 2024. If your child is offered a place at City of London School, you will be invited to an offerholders event in late February. The deadline for accepting a place will be in early March.

How to prepare for entry to City of London School

CLS is a very successful school, and a popular choice for parents in London. Here are our top tips to help your child feel confident and prepare for the entry process.

It can be tempting to jump straight into practice papers to prepare for school exams. However, this is not an effective way to learn and can cause children to feel demotivated.

Your child should have a good understanding of the content they’ve been taught in Year 5 before testing their knowledge with practice papers. Using a ‘little and often’ approach when recapping content is key, as our brains encode new information more effectively when dealing with smaller ‘chunks’ of information. Experts recommend study sessions should last no longer than 30 minutes for children aged 10–11.

11+ exam resources

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