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Dunottar School: parents’ guide to Year 7 entry

School guide

Jan 31, 2023, 2:11 PM

Dunottar School: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry


Dunottar School is a co-educational day school for children aged 11 to 18, located in a Palladian-style mansion in Reigate, Surrey. It was founded in 1926 by Jessie Elliot-Pyle, who named the school after Dunnottar Castle in Scotland, and was originally a girls’ school until becoming co-educational in 2014. The school’s small size means that staff have the opportunity to spend time with every child and can deliver an educational programme which best suits individual needs.

Children at Dunottar are encouraged to exhibit the seven behaviours of ‘warrior learners’ – aspiration, creativity, tenacity, independence, curiosity, collaboration and inclusivity – which are also assessed in the entrance process. These behaviours are encouraged across all areas of school life, helping pupils to develop essential skills and prepare for the challenges of life after school. There are plenty of opportunities for pupils to put these behaviours into practice, with approximately 45 different co-curricular clubs taking place throughout the week.

Most pupils leave Dunottar for undergraduate degrees at a mixture of universities (including the Russell Group), but many also go directly into employment or take up apprenticeship programmes at businesses including Grant Thornton, Unilever and Ernst & Young. A comprehensive careers programme is in place, with pupils beginning their career journey from as early as Year 7, to ensure that every child has the support necessary to make successful education and career choices.

Directory of private schools in Surrey

Key information for Dunottar School

  • Head: Mr Mark Tottman

  • Address: Dunottar School, High Trees Road, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 7EL

  • County: Surrey

  • Admissions contact: Mrs R Tottman – [email protected], 01737 761945

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

  • Number of pupils: 411

  • Open day date: Friday 10th February, Tuesday 21st February and Tuesday 7th March 2023 – book a place online

  • Overview of selection procedure: Warrior Learner assessments, entrance assessments and interview

  • Registration closes: 26th September 2023 (for Year 7 entry in 2024)

  • Assessment date: 7th October and 11th November 2023 (for Year 7 entry in 2024)

Dunottar School fees and financial assistance

The current fees at Dunottar School are £6,430 per term (if paying monthly or by termly Direct Debit) or £6,515 per term (if paying by another method). Lunch is not included, but is compulsory for all pupils in Years 7–13 and costs £260 per term.

Dunottar School offers a limited number of means-tested bursaries (financial assistance) for families with a combined income of less than £70,000. If you think your child may be eligible for a bursary to join Dunottar School, you will need to submit a bursary application form before 31st August in the year before entry.

11 plus candidates applying for entry to Dunottar School may also apply for an art, music, performing arts and/or sports scholarship (academic scholarships are automatically awarded and do not need to be applied for). Pupils can be awarded scholarships in more than one specialism. The exact financial value of the award is determined by the head, who will take into account the quantity and quality of the applicants in that particular year group.

Dunottar School automatically applies a sibling discount of 5% for a second child who joins the school. The fee reduction is 10% for the third or subsequent sibling and is applied while the siblings are both/all at the school at the same time.

Dunottar School term dates

The term dates at Dunottar School for 2022–23 are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 14th December 2022

  • Half term: 17th–28th October 2022

  • Spring term: 5th January – 28th March 2023

  • Half term: 13th–17th February 2023

  • Summer term: 17th April – 4th July 2023

  • Half term: 29th May – 2nd June 2023

The term dates at Dunottar School for 2023–24 are:

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

  • Half term: 23rd October – 3rd November 2023

  • Spring term: 8th January – 27th March 2024

  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024

  • Summer term: 17th April – 3rd July 2024

  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

Admissions process for Year 7 entry to Dunottar School

The admissions process for Year 7 entry to Dunottar School in 2023 is now closed. The next admissions cycle for Year 7 entry to Dunottar School is for 2024.

If you would like your child to be considered for a place in Year 7 in 2024, you will need to complete the registration form and pay the non-refundable registration fee of £100 before 9am on 26th September 2023. Children who are registered before 22nd May 2023 will be invited to a taster day on 10th June.

All children who are registered by the main admissions deadline will be invited to take part in Warrior Learner Assessments on 7th October 2023. These are a number of individual and group activities, which allow staff at Dunottar to assess your child’s creativity and how they work with other children. Your child will also have a friendly, informal interview with a member of staff. Children will then be invited back to the school to sit academic entrance tests on 11th November 2023 (see more details about these below).

The children who reach the highest standard in the entrance assessments and show the greatest potential for growth will automatically be awarded academic scholarships. If your child is applying for a co-curricular scholarship, there will be additional steps in the admissions process:

  • Art scholarships: children will need to submit a portfolio and covering letter with their application. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to take part in a practical task and have an interview with the head of art in November.

  • Music scholarships: children should be performing at a minimum standard of Grade 4/5 in their main instrument to be considered for a music scholarship. Candidates will need to submit an application form, along with a covering letter and references or letters of support from their instrumental or music teachers. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to an audition in November, which will include two contrasting performances (of Grade 4 standard or higher) on one instrument, and a performance on a second instrument (if applicable) of Grade 3 standard. They will also have sight reading and aural tests.

  • Performing arts scholarships: eligible candidates will be able to offer two of the three disciplines: drama, dance, or musical theatre. To apply, you will need to submit a completed application form with a covering letter from your child. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to an audition in November, which will include a group activity and an individual performance (a monologue for drama candidates, a song for musical theatre candidates, and a choreographed routine for dance candidates).

  • Sports scholarships: candidates should be able to offer at least two sports – one of which must be one of Dunottar’s main sports (football, netball, lacrosse and cricket for girls, or rugby, football, and cricket for boys). Children should be playing competitively at A team level for their current school, to be playing some club sport outside of school, and to show potential to compete at county level by the time they join Dunottar. After submitting the application form, including a reference or letter of support from a PE teacher or a relevant coach, shortlisted candidates will be invited to an assessment in November. This will include a fitness test, competitive drills or matches, and a group interview over lunch.

Dunottar School will send its offer letters to families in early February 2024.

The 11 plus exam at Dunottar School

Children who are registered for Year 7 entry to Dunottar School in September 2024 will take academic assessments on 11th November 2023. There will be three tests:

  • English: a written exam based on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. Dunottar School does not provide many details about this exam, but you can expect that your child will have tasks in reading comprehension and/or creative writing.

  • Maths: children will likely be presented with a non-calculator maths paper which will assess their knowledge and application of Key Stage 2 maths. This includes the main topics of number, measurement, geometry, statistics and algebra.

  • Reasoning: children will sit a computer-based CEM test which covers verbal, non-verbal and numerical reasoning. The test, designed by CEM Select, allows children to show their academic potential and ability, rather than show what they have learnt through repetition.

A parents' guide to CEM Select – including free sample questions

How to prepare for entry to Dunottar School

Build foundational knowledge

If your child is applying for Year 7 entry to Dunottar School, they will be assessed on their knowledge of the Key Stage 2 national curriculum for English and maths. They will also need to demonstrate their logic and problem-solving skills through tests in verbal and non-verbal reasoning, which are not taught at school.

Your child can consolidate everything they need to know with Atom Nucleus. They'll have access to over 90,000 interactive teacher-created questions and learning resources spanning English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning.

English learning journey on Atom Nucleus

Preparation is key

Familiarisation with the question formats and known styles ahead of the exam is essential to help your child build exam confidence.

An exam preparation subscription with Atom Nucleus enables your child to access quality, unlimited practice material with full score breakdowns to help your child feel confident by the time the exam day comes around.

Your child can take mock tests for English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning entrance exams as many times as they like without repeatedly seeing the same questions. Meanwhile, you’ll be able to see their results instantly, including their performance compared to peers and suggested areas for improvement.

Non-verbal reasoning mock test on Atom Nucleus

Access to immediate support

When working through challenging topics, your child will need immediate clarity with any misconceptions so that they feel truly secure in every topic. Atom Nucleus includes video tutorials, help sheets and examples with every question to help your child build confidence and competence across all the areas assessed.

A helpsheet available on Atom Nucleus

Engage with their progress

Celebrate your child’s improvement in areas of challenge together. An accurate and ongoing assessment of their areas of strength and development is helpful.

As an Atom subscriber, you’ll have a parent dashboard which offers data-driven insights into your child’s progress. You can use this effectively to help your child set targets, see a detailed breakdown of their progress by subtopic and set custom practices to target those they find most challenging.

Parent dashboard on Atom Nucleus

Get started with Atom Learning

It’s our mission to help your child feel prepared and confident before the exam day. Begin your free 5-day free trial of Nucleus today to help your child succeed.

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We know how crucial this time is, so our team is on hand to support you and your family every step of the way. You can book a call with one of our Education Experts to ask any questions you might have about 11 plus entry to Dunottar School:

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If you’re looking for exclusive tips and resources to help your child master key subjects, excel in exams and build academic confidence, join Atom’s email list:

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