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Highgate School: 11 plus entry guide

By Atom | Apr 24, 2023, 10:15 AM

Highgate School, London

Are you considering Highgate 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 Highgate School

Highgate School is a private day school for boys and girls in North London. It was founded in 1565 by Sir Roger Cholmeley, a ‘well-beloved and faithful subject’ of Queen Elizabeth I, and boasts an extensive list of notable alumni including poet laureates and mathematician John Venn (creator of the Venn diagram).

Pupil wellbeing is at the heart of Highgate School’s ethos. A dedicated wellbeing team aims to ensure pupils feel safe, happy, supported and welcomed in the school community. Beyond the classroom, pupils are encouraged to discover their extracurricular interests with opportunities in over 150 activities and clubs, access to 30 specialist sports coaches, excellent facilities and a programme of local, national and international trips.

Highgate School has a series of accolades to its name, including Independent School of the Year (2019 and 2020) and the Sunday Times London Independent School of the Decade (2020). It's currently ranked 21st out of all private schools in the country and tops the national league tables for all co-educational independent schools.

  • Headteacher: Adam Pettitt

  • Address: Highgate School, North Road, London N6 4AY

  • London borough: Haringey

  • Age range and gender: 4–18, boys and girls

  • Number of pupils: 1,800+

  • National league table rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 21

  • A level results: 95% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 95.7% 9–7

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admission contact: [email protected], 020 8347 3564

  • Open day: Saturday 7th October 2023. Register your interest online

  • Overview of selection procedure: entrance exam, school reference and interview

  • Registration opens: June 2023

  • Registration closes: November 2023

  • Assessment date: early December 2023

Highgate School term dates

The term dates at Highgate School for 2023–2024 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 4th September – 15th December 2023

  • Half term: 16th–27th October 2023

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

  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024

  • Summer term: 15th April – 10th July 2024

  • Half term: 28th–31st May 2024

Fees at Highgate School

The fees at Highgate School for the 2022–2023 academic year are £7,840 per term. Fees include the cost of lunch, books, stationery, membership of the Cholmeleian Society, compulsory fieldwork and curricular day trips.

Highgate School offers substantial means-tested fee-assisted places, known as bursaries, to children who perform well in the entrance process but whose families would not be able to afford the school fees. Over 80 children currently receive bursaries to attend Highgate School, with most awards covering 90% to 100% of school fees.

Bursary applications take lots of things into account, such as your source(s) of income, outgoings, assets, liabilities, the value and council tax band of your family home, and the size of your family. Find out more about bursaries at Highgate School on the school website.

Highgate School admissions process

Approximately 80 children are welcomed into Year 7 at Highgate School each year. New pupils join around 105 children who move up from the Junior School.

If you are considering Highgate School for your child, it's a good idea to attend an open event before starting an application. Open events include a talk from the headteacher, the opportunity to meet teaching staff, an introduction to the school's co-curricular programme and a tour of the school sites.

1. Register for Year 7 entry

Registration for entry to Year 7 in 2024 will open in June 2023. To apply, complete the 11 plus registration form before the deadline (early November 2023). An application fee of £150 applies, but this can be removed if your annual gross household income is less than £30,000.

Once you’ve submitted the application form and fee, you’ll receive an acknowledgement and your child will be registered for the entrance exam. The school will also request a confidential reference from your child's current headteacher.

2. Entrance exam

Your child will be invited to sit the 11 plus exam in early December when they are in Year 6. This exam is unique to Highgate School – we've included details about the content and format below.

3. Interview and taster lesson

A large proportion of children will be invited back to the school for a second-stage assessment in January 2024. This consists of a group interview with other candidates and a taster lesson. This is a two-way opportunity for Highgate School to get to know your child further, and for your child to get a taste of school life at Highgate.

Learn more about private school interviews.

4. Offers

Highgate School will send you a letter with the outcome of your child's application in early February 2024. If your child is offered a place, you will be invited to an event for offer-holders in February to help guide your final decision.

Highgate School entrance exam

All children who are registered for Year 7 entry to Highgate School will take an entrance exam in early December in Year 6. Children will take three tests throughout the course of the morning.


The English paper lasts 45 minutes and includes both reading comprehension and creative writing tasks.

30 minutes are normally allocated for the comprehension section. Children will need to read a passage of text and answer questions to demonstrate their understanding. Highgate School will be looking for children who can read for explicit and implicit meanings, analyse how a writer achieves effects using language and grammatical features, and identify parts of speech and stylistic devices.

The creative writing task follows the comprehension task and has a time allocation of 15 minutes. Children will need to write a creative response to a prompt, with marks awarded for precision, creativity and ambition, accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar, and a wide range of vocabulary.


The maths paper has a time limit of 45 minutes and covers topics taught in the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. Successful candidates are able to show a clear understanding of the concepts they have learnt, including number, calculations, shape and space, and solving longer worded problems.

There is a mix of short questions and longer questions. To get top marks, some questions will require children to explain their reasoning in writing.

Non-verbal reasoning

The non-verbal reasoning test also lasts 45 minutes. This test is created by GL Assessments and consists entirely of multiple-choice questions which require children to analyse visual information and solve problems using shapes, diagrams and pictures.

Non-verbal reasoning assesses a variety of skills. This includes logic and problem-solving, spatial awareness, maths, the ability to identify patterns and rules, and overall intelligence.

How to prepare for entry to Highgate School

Here are our top tips to help your child prepare for the entrance process at Highgate School.

Preparation is key: familiarisation with the question formats and known styles ahead of the exam is essential. Access to quality Highgate School practice papers ensures confidence when tackling the exam.

Achieve mastery quickly: school entrance exams are designed to identify the children working at the very top of the ability range in their year group, so they assess a huge amount of content. Atom's adaptive algorithm creates your child's personalised learning journey specific to your target schools, with over 90,000 expert, teacher-created resources to support your child to fully master each topic.

Access to instant support: learners need clarification to address any misconceptions and become truly secure in their understanding of a topic. Access to videos, help sheets and engaging examples for each question builds confidence and competence in all areas covered in the exam.

Engage with their progress: celebrate their improvements in their areas of challenge together! An accurate, ongoing assessment of your child’s strengths and development areas is instrumental for preparing efficiently. Atom's Parent Portal gives you data-driven insights into your child’s areas of strength and development.

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Highgate School mock tests

With Atom Nucleus you'll unlock online mock tests tailored to the Highgate School entrance exam and GL 11 plus tests, so your child will go into the exam knowing exactly what to expect.

And what's more, everything is automatically marked for you.

80% of Highgate School applicants using Atom receive an offer.

Will your child be one of them? Begin their journey to Highgate School today.

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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 Highgate School or other selective schools.

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