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Dame Alice Owen's School 11 plus guide

By Atom | Aug 8, 2023, 9:07 AM

Dame Alice Owen's School, Hertfordshire

Are you considering Dame Alice Owen’s School for your child? We’ve collated everything you need to know about Year 7 entry in 2024. Keep reading to learn about the school admission process and how to help your child excel in the 11 plus exam.

About Dame Alice Owen’s School

Dame Alice Owen’s School is a large mixed secondary school in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. It was founded by philanthropist Dame Alice Owen as a boys’ school in Islington in 1613, then became fully co-educational after moving to the present Potters Bar campus in 1973. The 34-acre site includes a large lake and extensive sports fields and facilities.

Academic standards are high at Dame Alice Owen’s and students consistently achieve excellent exam results, with most students moving on to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. There is a wide range of extracurricular activities, including lunchtime clubs and societies, sports, drama, academic competitions and challenges, and residential and overseas trips.

Dame Alice Owen’s School holds several accolades from the Sunday Times, including Southeast State Secondary School of the Decade (2020).

  • Address: Dame Alice Owen’s School, Dugdale Hill Lane, Potters Bar, EN6 2DU

  • Local authority: Hertfordshire County Council

  • School type: mixed partially-selective school

  • Headteacher: Hannah Nemko

  • Number of pupils: 1,400+

  • National rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 29

  • A level results: 91.8% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 76.1% 9–7

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected]

  • Number of places in Year 7: 200

  • Open day date: 19th July 2023

  • 11 plus registration opens: 4th May 2023

  • 11 plus registration closes: 9th June 2023

  • Exam date: 4th September 2023 (Part 1), 23rd September 2023 (Part 2)

  • Exam type: GL Assessment (Part 1) and internally set papers (Part 2)

  • Common application form (CAF) deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

Dame Alice Owen’s School term dates

The 2023–2024 term dates at Dame Alice Owen’s School are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 21st December 2023

  • Half term: 23rd–27th October 2023

  • Spring term: 9th January – 28th March 2024

  • Half term: 19th–23rd February 2024

  • Summer term: 15th April – 19th July 2024

  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

How to apply to Dame Alice Owen’s School

Dame Alice Owen’s School is a partially-selective school. Out of 200 places available in Year 7 each year, 65 are allocated to children who pass the school’s academic entrance test (known as the Governors’ Entrance Exam) and a further 10 places are allocated to children selected by Music Aptitude tests.

If you would like your child to be considered for an academic or music place, you will need to register for the test in addition to applying for a school place.

1. Register for the entrance exam

If you are thinking about registering your child for the entrance exam at Dame Alice Owen’s School, it’s a good idea to speak to your child’s teacher first to see if a selective education is right for them. The entrance exam is taken in two parts and is designed to be challenging to identify children working at the top of their year group.

Registration for the Governors’ Entrance Exam and the Musical Aptitude Test opened on 4th May 2023 and closed on 9th June 2023.

2. Apply for a school place

If your child takes the entrance exam or musical aptitude test, you will receive their final results within four weeks of the common application form deadline (31st October 2023). You can use your child’s results to decide whether to apply for a place at Dame Alice Owen’s School.

All children who would like to be considered for a place at Dame Alice Owen's – selective or non-selective – will need to complete a common application form and name the school as a preference. You must complete the form for your home local authority:

Before completing your common application form, make sure to check the school's oversubscription criteria. In the likely event that more children achieve the qualifying score than there are places available, the school will apply oversubscription criteria to prioritise places.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 31st October 2023.

What’s on the Dame Alice Owen’s School entrance exam?

The academic test for a selective place at Dame Alice Owen’s School is split into two parts. These are taken on separate dates:

  • Part 1: Monday 4th September 2023

  • Part 2: Saturday 23rd September 2023

You will receive your child’s Part 1 results on the 19th September. Only children who meet the qualifying standard for Part 1 will be invited to take Part 2, and will continue to be considered for an academic place.

Part 1

Part 1 of the Dame Alice Owen’s School entrance exam is a 50-minute verbal reasoning paper. This is provided by GL Assessment – one of the UK’s main suppliers of grammar school 11 plus exams.

There will be 80 multiple-choice questions for your child to work through. Your child will be assessed on skills such as reading fluency and comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, logic and problem-solving, and attention to detail.

Learn more and see the sorts of questions your child might come across in the exam in our complete guide to verbal reasoning.

Part 2

Children whose verbal reasoning results place them within the top 325 of ranked candidates will be invited back to sit Part 2 of the entrance exam. There will be two papers – both set by the school:

Free maths practice paper

Test your understanding and skills in Key Stage 2 maths with this free 11+ maths practice paper! Includes 50 questions, an answer key and parents’ guide.

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11 plus maths practice paper

What’s the pass mark for Dame Alice Owen’s School?

There is no specific pass mark for the Dame Alice Owen’s School entrance exam. Children will be ranked based on their marks in both parts of the exam:

  • Part 1: the raw scores from the verbal reasoning test will be converted to an age-standardised score, and then ranked in order. Children whose ranked marks are within the top 325 are invited back to take Part 2, while children ranked below position 325 are deemed as not eligible for an academic place.

  • Part 2: the results from the English and maths papers are age-standardised and combined with the results from the verbal reasoning test to produce a total combined mark. Children will then be ranked by their total combined marks.

Up to 65 places are available for children selected by academic ability. This means that children whose total combined marks place them within the top 65 of candidates are eligible for an academic place.

If two or more children have the same combined mark, priority will be given to children:

  1. With the highest verbal reasoning score

  2. If equal, with the highest English score

  3. If equal, with the highest maths score

Achieving a particular score doesn’t guarantee a place at the school, as it’s usually oversubscribed with qualified candidates. We always recommend researching the admissions policies for your target schools and looking at their oversubscription criteria.

Dame Alice Owen’s School admissions criteria

There are 200 places available in Year 7 at Dame Alice Owen’s School. Children who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which names the school will always be admitted regardless of the number of places.

If more than 200 children apply to the school, places will be allocated in order of the oversubscription criteria. At least 20 places overall will be offered to children who either live within the London Borough of Islington, or are at school in the borough at the date of application.

  1. Looked after and previously looked after children

  2. The 22 children who are living closest to the school on the application deadline (31st October)

  3. Children who have a sibling at Dame Alice Owen’s School (excluding siblings who started in the sixth form)

  4. Children who have passed the musical aptitude test (up to 10 places in total)

  5. Children who have passed the Governors’ Entrance Exam (up to 65 places in total)

  6. Children of Dame Alice Owen’s School staff (employed for at least two years)

  7. All other children, ranked on how closely they live to the school. If two or more children have an identical distance between home and school, random allocation will be applied

Local priority areas

Of the children who pass the musical aptitude test or the Governors’ Entrance Exam (criteria 4 and 5), priority will be allocated to those who live within one of the school’s priority areas, or are at school in the London Borough of Islington.

The priority areas are:

  • Aldenham

  • Bayford

  • Brickendon Liberty

  • Colney Heath

  • Elstree & Borehamwood

  • Essendon

  • Hatfield

  • Little Berkhamsted

  • London Colney

  • North Mymms

  • Northaw & Cuffley

  • Potters Bar

  • Ridge

  • Shenley

  • Welwyn Garden City

How to prepare for the entrance exam

If your child is taking the Governors’ Entrance Exam for admission to Dame Alice Owen’s School, here are our top tips to help them prepare effectively.

Cover all the content

The Dame Alice Owen’s School entrance exam assesses a large breadth and depth of learning objectives across Key Stage 2 English and maths. Children are also tested on verbal reasoning, which is not taught on the school curriculum.

We recommend that your child starts revising content at least one year before the test. Setting aside study periods using a 'little and often' approach will give them time to build the skills and knowledge they need. When preparing, avoid falling into the trap of over-focusing on either the topics your child enjoys or the topics they find hardest.

Atom Home is an 11 plus online course that tailors your child's personalised learning journey to cover all elements of the curriculum – including reasoning – at the right pace for them.

No surprises

Your child will encounter lots of unfamiliar types of questions in the entrance exam. Building exam technique with 11 plus test papers will help your child to feel fully confident with the styles of questions they'll encounter in the exam, reducing the potential for stress on the day.

Celebrate their progress

Setting regular goals and celebrating achievements will help keep motivation high. Atom Home offers data-driven insights into your child’s progress towards mastering the 11 plus curriculum, making it easy to see where they need to focus next.

Personalised 11 plus prep for your child

Wondering how to make sure your child covers the depth and breadth of the national curriculum, stays on track with their progress, and gets help when they're stuck? Online learning is a particularly efficient, cost-effective (and fun) way to do this!

Atom Home is the award-winning online 11 plus practice platform that gives your child everything they need to prepare for entry to selective schools.

Children work independently through over 90,000 interactive practice questions in English, maths and reasoning. Teacher-created helpsheets and videos help them discover new concepts and consolidate their learning.

Atom's algorithm keeps children on their ideal learning path, tailored to their unique learning style and pace to keep them challenged and motivated.

GL Assessment 11 plus mock tests on Atom Nucleus

GL 11 plus practice papers

Atom's GL 11 plus verbal reasoning test mirrors Part 1 of the Dame Alice Owen’s School entrance exam, so your child will know exactly what to expect. Plus, everything is automatically marked for you.

Get started for free

Begin your child’s journey to Dame Alice Owen’s School today. Use the full features of Atom Nucleus free for 5 days – cancel anytime.

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Personalised support for you

We understand how important this next step is for them, and for you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have about applying to Dame Alice Owen’s School or other selective schools.

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