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North London Collegiate School 11 plus guide

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 4:20 PM

North London Collegiate School, London

Are you considering North London Collegiate School for your daughter? We've collated everything you need to know about entry to Year 7, including key dates and what's covered on the entrance exam.

About North London Collegiate School

North London Collegiate School (NLCS) is a private day school in London for girls aged 4–18. It was founded in 1850 by Frances Buss – a pioneer in girls’ education – as the first school in the UK to offer girls the same educational opportunities as boys. It’s currently ranked within the top 10 private schools in the UK.

The school was originally founded in Camden Town but is now located in a Georgian mansion on a 30-acre site in Edgware, northwest London. A new site masterplan is in development, which includes an Innovation, Design, Engineering, Art and Science Hub (IDEAS Hub), a new administration building, an extension to the existing Tractor Barn and two additional tennis courts.

North London Collegiate School is one of the most academically successful schools in the country. Girls can choose to take A levels or the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) from the ages of 16 to 18. Students go on to study at some of the world’s most prestigious universities, with regular offers from Oxbridge, Yale, Stanford, Boston, Berkeley and McGill.

  • Headteacher: Vicky Bingham

  • Address: North London Collegiate School, Canons, Canons Drive, Edgware, Middlesex HA8 7RJ

  • London Borough: Harrow

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

  • Number of pupils: 1,100+

  • National league table rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 10

  • A level results: 97.2% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 96% 9–7

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admissions contact: Mrs Jo Hemmings – [email protected], 020 8952 0912

  • Open day: throughout the autumn term – register your interest

  • Overview of selection process: entrance exam, interview and reference

  • Registration opens: Friday 26th May 2023

  • Registration closes: Wednesday 15th November 2023

  • Assessment date: Thursday 7th December 2023

North London Collegiate School fees and financial assistance

The fees at NLCS for the academic year 2022–2023 are £7,436 per term. Lunches are an additional optional cost and are billed termly at £1,023 per year. There is no additional charge for textbooks, stationery or exam fees.

Financial assistance

Since the school was founded in 1850, North London Collegiate School has committed to providing financial support to children who are likely to thrive at the school, but whose families would not be able to afford the fees. Means-tested financial assistance, known as bursaries, can cover any proportion – including 100% – of the costs of school fees. 78 students are currently receiving a bursary to support their education at NLCS.

As a guide, families with a total income of below £40,000 with limited assets would be likely to receive a 100% bursary, with partial bursaries available for families with a combined income of up to £86,000. If you would like your child to be considered for a place at the school but would need assistance with fees, make sure to complete the bursary application form before 15th November 2023. You will be informed of the outcome of your application if your child is offered a place.


North London Collegiate School is able to offer music scholarships to children applying for 11 plus entry. These are awarded on the basis of musical talent and merit, and are not means-tested. Known as a Handel Music Scholarship, the award is equivalent to the cost of individual music lessons in two instruments. Eligible 11 plus candidates should be playing at Grade 5 standard or above on their first instrument.

If you would like your daughter to be considered for a music scholarship, register for the 11 plus entrance exam then complete the Handel Music Scholarship application form before 15th November 2023. Children who meet the required standard will be invited to a short audition on Saturday 27th January 2024.

North London Collegiate School term dates

The term dates at North London Collegiate School for 2023–2024 are:

  • Autumn term: 7th September – 15th December 2023

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

  • Spring term: 8th January – 22nd March 2024

  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024

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

  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

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North London Collegiate School 11 plus admissions process

North London Collegiate School welcomes around 60 new girls into Year 7 every year. Registration is now open for entry in September 2024 and is available for girls who were born between 1st September 2012 and 31st August 2013.

We’ve outlined the key parts of the admissions process below.

1. Visit the school

If you’re considering NLCS, it’s important to visit the school with your daughter first. North London Collegiate School is very academic, so it’s a good idea to get a feel for the environment and see whether your daughter would thrive there.

NLCS holds frequent in-person and online events throughout the year, including open afternoons and taster mornings:

  • Open afternoons: include talks from the headmistress, key members of staff and current students, and tours of the school site

  • Taster mornings: include talks from the headmistress, key members of staff and current students, tours of the school site, and two taster lessons with teaching staff for prospective pupils

For details about upcoming open events, visit the school website.

2. Register for 11 plus entry

When you’re ready to begin your child’s application to North London Collegiate School, complete the online registration form. Registration costs £150 (or £200 for overseas applicants) and must be submitted before Wednesday 15th November 2023.

If you would like to apply for a bursary or a music scholarship, you will need to complete an additional bursary or scholarship application form by the same date.

Once the school has received your child’s registration form, the admissions team will contact their current school to ask for a reference.

3. 11 plus entrance exam

All girls who are registered for Year 7 entry to NLCS will take the 11 plus entrance exam on Thursday 7th November 2023. Children will take the exam in small groups in classrooms.

Children will have two written papers. These are both set independently by the Heads of English and Maths respectively:

  • English: 1 hour and 20 minutes. Children will have approximately 30 minutes to answer Part A, which is a reading comprehension task. They will then have approximately 50 minutes to answer Part B, which will test their creative and persuasive writing skills. There are no multiple-choice questions – both sections require full answers.

  • Maths: children will be tested on their knowledge and application of Key Stage 2 maths. This includes key topics such as number, measurement, geometry and statistics. Your child should show their working out as they may pick up extra marks – even if the answer is incorrect.

4. Interviews

Children who perform well in the 11 plus entrance exam will be invited back to an interview in NLCS. Interviews will take place between 15th and 26th January 2024.

The interview is a friendly and informal experience, and designed for key staff to get to know your child better – rather than just basing a decision on exam results. There will also be additional English and maths testing in the form of verbal questions.

Find out more about why schools use interviews, and see the sorts of questions your child might be asked, in our complete interview guide.

5. Offers

North London Collegiate School will send you an email with the outcome of your child’s application by 9th February 2024. If your daughter is offered a place, you will be invited to an offer holders’ event at the school to help you make your decision.

If you would like to accept a place, you will need to confirm your acceptance in writing and make the deposit payment (half a term’s fees) before the deadline in early March.

Top tips to prepare for entry to NLCS

North London Collegiate School is a very successful and popular option for families, so entry is naturally competitive. Here are our top tips to help your daughter prepare for the selection 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 English and maths 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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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 North London Collegiate School or other selective schools.

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