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Notre Dame Senior School: parents’ guide to Year 7 entry

School guide

Jan 31, 2023, 2:12 PM

Notre Dame Senior School: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry


Notre Dame Senior School is an independent Catholic day school for girls aged 11–18 in Cobham, Surrey. The school belongs to the Company of Mary Our Lady, which was founded in Bordeaux in 1607 to educate girls of all faiths, and is the oldest recognised educational order in the world. There are more than 300 CoMOL schools across 26 countries, of which Notre Dame Senior School is the only one in the UK.

Notre Dame offers girls thinking space, growing space, and breathing space. All students are supported and encouraged to pursue their highest aspirations while discovering new interests and developing unique talents. The school recognises that society’s focus on examination from a young age can detract from time spent building character and life skills, and combats this by focusing on happiness first and foremost.

The pastoral care system at Notre Dame is the building block upon which individual growth takes place. There’s a ‘big sister’ scheme for Year 7 pupils, who have sixth form students as mentors and friends, while every girl in Years 10 and 11 has a staff academic mentor to monitor progress and support each child to maximise their learning. The school’s bespoke well-being strategy, The Lestonnac Approach, sees students engage in multiple activities to build key skills and plan ahead for their futures.

Directory of private schools in Surrey

Key information for Notre Dame Senior School

  • Head: Mrs Anna King

  • Address: Notre Dame Senior School, Burwood House, Convent Lane, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1HA

  • County: Surrey

  • Admissions contact: Mrs Beccy Johnson – [email protected], 01932 869993

  • Age range and gender: 11–18, girls only

  • Number of pupils: 460

  • Open day date: Thursday 9th February 2023 – book a place online

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

  • Registration closes: October in Year 6

  • Assessment date: November in Year 6

Notre Dame Senior School fees and financial assistance

The current fees at Notre Dame Senior School are £6,323 per term. Lunch is compulsory for pupils in Year 7 and costs £346 per term.

Notre Dame is able to offer bursaries (means-tested financial assistance) to families who might be unable to pay the fees to have their daughters educated at the school. While the school is proud of its heritage as a Catholic Foundation, it welcomes girls of any faith background. If you think your daughter might qualify for a bursary for entry to Notre Dame Senior School, you will need to submit a bursary application form before 30th November when your child is in Year 6.

Notre Dame Senior School offers a 20% sibling discount. This is applied to the youngest child when three or more children are studying at the school at the same time.

Children applying for Year 7 entry to Notre Dame Senior School may also apply for a scholarship. Scholarships are not means-tested and are worth 10% of tuition fees per year. Candidates can apply for art, drama, music or sports scholarships – academic scholarships are automatically awarded to children based on their performance in the entrance exam, and do not need to be applied for.

Notre Dame Senior School term dates

The term dates at Notre Dame Senior School for 2022–23 are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 13th December 2022

  • Half term: 20th–28th October 2022

  • Spring term: 5th January – 24th March 2023

  • Half term: 13th–17th February 2023

  • Summer term: 18th April – 7th July 2023

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

The term dates at Notre Dame Senior School for 2023–24 are:

  • Autumn term: 6th September – 12th December 2023

  • Half term: 19th–27th October 2023

  • Spring term: 4th January – 27th March 2024

  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024

  • Summer term: 23rd April – 12th July 2024

  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

Admissions process for Year 7 entry to Notre Dame Senior School

The closing date for Year 7 entry to Notre Dame Senior School in September 2023 has now passed. If your daughter is currently in Year 5 and you are considering entry for September 2024, you are invited to enrol on the school’s 7 Twenty-Four programme. When the programme launches later this year, Notre Dame Senior School will send you a welcome pack and a link to your dedicated webpage, providing you with information and insights about the school and the admissions process.

Once the admissions cycle for 2024 has officially opened, the process will be as follows:

1. Registration

You will need to complete an exam registration form and pay a non-refundable registration fee of £125. The deadline for this will likely be in late October 2023. If your daughter is applying for a co-curricular scholarship, you will need to complete the relevant scholarship application form and submit this by the same date.

After you have registered your daughter, Notre Dame Senior School will request a detailed character reference from your child’s current school.

2. 11 plus entrance exam and interview

All children who are registered will be invited to attend an entrance exam at Notre Dame in November 2023. This comprises three written papers, an informal interview, and fun activities for candidates to relax and get to know one another.

Your daughter will take the following tests. As a rough guide, successful candidates are normally working within the top 40% of the cohort’s ability range:

3. Offers

Notre Dame Senior School will post a letter detailing the outcome of your child’s application before Christmas in 2023. If your daughter has been successful in securing a place in Year 7, you will need to formally accept by early March 2024 (the deadline will be after state school offers).

4. Scholarship assessment days

Children who perform particularly well in the 11 plus entrance process may be awarded an academic scholarship for entry to Notre Dame Senior School. If your daughter applies for a co-curricular scholarship, there will be additional assessments in January 2024 relevant to the particular scholarship:

  • Art scholarships: children will need to submit a creative portfolio. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to a practical assessment which will take two hours in total.

  • Drama scholarships: candidates will need to inform the admissions office of any drama activities and productions they have participated in and submit LAMDA/Guildhall/Festival comments sheets (if applicable). They will also need to submit a short review evaluating a drama production they have seen, which will form the basis for an informal discussion if invited to an audition. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to perform a short character monologue from a play and will participate in a group drama workshop.

  • Music scholarships: all music scholarship candidates will be invited to an informal and relaxed audition. This will consist of two contrasting solo pieces on the child’s first instrument, a solo on the child’s second instrument or voice (if provided) and some simple aural tests. You will also need to supply information about your child’s level of skill and involvement in music in and out of school.

  • Sports scholarships: sports scholarship candidates are expected to offer at least one sport to a high standard. To apply, you will need to send a written record of your child’s sporting achievements to the admissions office. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to a practical assessment, where they will be assessed in a variety of fundamental motor skills in addition to their ability in a selection of activities.

How to prepare for entry to Notre Dame Senior School

Build foundational knowledge

The 11 plus exam for entry to Notre Dame Senior School will assess your daughter’s knowledge and understanding of levels 4–6 in Key Stage 2 English and maths. Your child will also be tested on their non-verbal reasoning ability, which is 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 and non-verbal reasoning (in addition to verbal reasoning and science).

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 daughter can take mock tests that replicate common 11 plus English, maths and non-verbal reasoning exams multiple times 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.

5 day free trial

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 Notre Dame Senior 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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