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Colfe's School: 11 plus entry guide

By Atom | May 19, 2023, 9:58 AM

Colfe's School, London

Are you considering Colfe’s School for your child? We've collated everything you need to know about entry to Year 7. Find out about key dates, what's covered on the entrance exam, and how to help your child prepare.

About Colfe’s School

Colfe’s School is a private day school for boys and girls aged 11–18. Originally established in 1574 and re-founded in 1652, it’s one of the oldest schools in London. While pupils travel to Colfe’s School from all over South East London, there is a strong sense of local community with most pupils coming from the London Boroughs of Lewisham, Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich.

The school provides award-winning pastoral care to its students and is a former recipient of the award for ‘Best Strategic Initiative’ (TES Independent School Awards, 2016). In addition to traditional pastoral systems, such as form groups and houses, all Year 7 pupils participate in a programme called Tougher Minds. This is a unique partnership between Colfe’s and the Tougher Minds consultancy to give children the skills needed to successfully manage their personal wellbeing.

Beyond the classroom, there is a wide range of co-curricular opportunities for pupils to develop their talents and discover new interests. Collaborations with renowned arts organisations such as Goldsmiths College, Trinity Laban Conservatoire and the National Youth Theatre allow musicians and thespians to learn from the best. Meanwhile, every single Year 7 pupil represents the school in one of many competitive sports, with a vast offering including netball, rugby, hockey, swimming, cricket, football, athletics, cross-country, tennis and biathlon.

  • Headteacher: Mr Richard Russell

  • Address: Colfe's School, Horn Park Lane, Lee, SE12 8AW

  • London Borough: Greenwich

  • Age range and gender: 11–18, co-educational

  • Number of pupils: 800+

  • National league table rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 89

  • A level results: 87.8% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 83.6% 9–7

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 020 8463 8110

  • Open day: Saturday 23rd September and Saturday 4th November 2023. Book a place online

  • Overview of selection procedure: written and online tests, interview and school reference

  • Registration closes: Friday 17th November 2023

  • Assessment date: Friday 5th January 2024

Colfe's School fees and financial assistance

The fees at Colfe’s School for 2023–2024 are £6,820 per term. The fees include tuition, basic stationery, materials and textbooks, library books, and most societies and activities. Lunch is optional and costs £315 per term.

Financial assistance

Colfe’s School is able to offer financial assistance in the form of merit-based and means-tested scholarships. Each year, around a quarter of pupils benefit from some kind of fee-assistance.

Means-tested scholarships can cover up to 100% of school fees for families who have an annual household income below £40,000. These are awarded to children who demonstrate exceptional ability in the entrance assessment and interview, and who show potential to make an excellent contribution to school life.

Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on talent in a particular subject. All pupils who take the 11 plus entrance exam are automatically considered for an academic scholarship, which can provide up to 50% reduction in fees. Children can also apply for a co-curricular scholarship in art, drama, music or sport.

Colfe's School term dates

The term dates at Colfe's School for 2023–2024 are:

  • Autumn term: 4th September – 15th December 2023

  • Half term: 16th–27th October 2023

  • Spring term: 8th January – 28th March 2024

  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024

  • Summer term: 18th April – 5th July 2024

  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

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Colfe’s School 11 plus admissions process

About two thirds of pupils who join Colfe’s School in Year 7 (age 11) come from a wide selection of local primary and independent schools. These pupils join those who move up from Colfe’s Junior School, resulting in five or six forms with no more than 24 children per class.

1. Visit the school

If you are considering Colfe’s School for your child, it’s a good idea to attend an open event first. School open days are an excellent opportunity to meet staff and current pupils, tour the school buildings and facilities, and see whether your child would thrive in the environment.

Senior school open days for children considering entry in 2024 will be held on Saturday 23rd September and Saturday 4th November 2023. The school also has virtual tours and recorded speeches on its online admissions hub.

Visit the school website for more details and to book a place on an open day.

2. Register for 11 plus entry

If you would like to register your child for Year 7 entry to Colfe’s School in 2024, you will need to submit the online registration form before Friday 17th November 2023. Registration costs £125 per child.

3. 11 plus entrance exam

All children who have been registered by the deadline will be invited to the school’s 11 plus entrance exam on Friday 5th January 2024. Children will need to spend the full school day at Colfe’s, with the timetable including assessments, a group interview, and taster lessons in co-curricular areas.

The assessments are in maths and English:

Maths exam

The maths exam is taken online and lasts 45 minutes. Children will be tested on their understanding of key concepts taught on the Key Stage 2 curriculum, including number, measurement, geometry and statistics.

English exam

The English exam is paper-based and lasts 90 minutes. There are three sections:

  • Section A: grammar, spelling and punctuation (approximately 15 minutes). Children will have a series of multiple-choice and short-answer exercises designed to test their accuracy.

  • Section B: reading comprehension (approximately 45 minutes). Your child will need to read a passage of text and answer a combination of multiple-choice and short-answer questions to demonstrate their understanding and analysis of the text.

  • Section C: creative writing (approximately 30 minutes). Children will need to write a response to a prompt, with marks awarded for originality, descriptive language, vocabulary, sentence variety, and writing accuracy.

4. Interviews

During the assessment day, your child will have a group interview with other candidates.

Schools use interviews to get a more holistic insight into your child’s abilities and interests. The interview is designed to be engaging for your child and might include practical elements to create an enjoyable experience.

Children who have performed particularly well in the entrance exam may be shortlisted for an academic scholarship. Shortlisted candidates will have an interview with the headteacher in the weeks following the 11 plus exam.

Guide to private school interviews

5. Offers

Colfe’s School will make decisions on places based on each child’s performance in the entrance exam and group interview, and on a reference received from your child’s current school.

You will find out the outcome of your child’s application a few weeks after the entrance exam. If your child is offered a place and you would like to accept, you will need to pay a deposit of £1500. This is reimbursed at the end of your child’s time at the school.

Top tips to prepare for entry to Colfe’s School

Here are our top tips to help your child prepare for the selection process at Colfe’s School.

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.

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