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Radley College: 13 plus entry guide

By Atom | Apr 13, 2023, 9:46 AM

Radley College: 13 plus entry guide

Are you considering Radley College for your son? We've collated everything you need to know about applying for a place in Year 9. Find out key dates, discover what's covered on the entrance exam, and get tips and resources to help your son prepare.

About Radley College

Radley College is an independent full boarding school for boys aged 13–18. This close-knit boarding community is set on a beautiful 800-acre estate, enjoying the benefits of rural surroundings as well as easy access to Oxford, being only four miles from the university city.

Since its founding in 1847, a Radley education has been centred around a Christian ethos, emphasising humility, kindness, responsibility and duty. Radley College encourages applications from boys of varied social, cultural and economic backgrounds, offering several funded places and scholarships.

Life at Radley is designed to encourage boys to develop leadership skills, cultural understanding and community relationships. The campus sports centre boasts excellent facilities including a 25-metre swimming pool with diving pit, five squash courts and a real tennis court, three-full size astroturf pitches, an eight-lane athletics track and a state-of-the-art rowing tank.

Key info

  • School type: private boarding, boys 13–18

  • Address: Kennington Rd, Radley, Abingdon OX14 2HR

  • Headteacher: John Moule

  • Number of pupils: 768

  • National league table rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 61

  • A level results: 92.5% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 86.8% 9–7

13+ admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected]

  • Places available at 13+: 150

  • 13+ registration opens: open now

  • 13+ registration closes: end of June, Year 5 (open entry and overseas applicants) or end of May (Radley List)

  • Assessment date: October and November of Year 6

  • Assessment type: ISEB Common Pre-Test, school report, interview

  • Open days: throughout the year – book here

Radley College term dates

The term dates at Radley College for 2023–24 are:

  • Michaelmas (autumn) term: 5th September – 12th December 2023

  • Half term: 13th–29th October 2023

  • Lent (spring) term: 4th January – 26th March 2024

  • Half term: 9th–18th February 2024

  • Summer term: 18th April – 6th July 2024

  • Half term: 24th May – 2nd June 2024

Radley College fees and financial assistance

The current fees for Radley College are £14,850 per term. This includes accommodation, meals, most textbooks and personal accident insurance.

Additional fees include iPad lease (£80 per term), external exam charges for A levels and GCSEs, any specialised support, and optional careers training. There are also costs involved with some of the co-curricular activities, such as rowing, sailing, diving, fishing, music lessons, and adventure training. Field trips are subsidised by the school but may require a small fee.

Radley College funded places

Radley College is able to offer a number of means-tested funded places to boys who, without financial support, would be unable to afford the school fees. These places can be awarded to talented boys at three different stages (11+, 13+ or 16+) and can cover up to 100% of the school fees. Boys must be performing at an exceptional level in academics, sports, music, art or drama.

11+ funded places

For children who don’t currently attend a private school, Radley College can contribute up to 100% of fees to attend a prep school for Year 7 and 8. These awards are means tested and go to talented boys with ‘potential to be academic leaders at Radley’. There are also options for boys who do attend a prep school with financial support. Learn more and enquire here.

13+ funded places

Talented boys who require help for funding at 13+, but have not entered through the 11+ funded places scheme, can enter the scholarship process and be assessed for means-tested financial support as part of that process. Learn more and enquire here.

Radley College scholarships

Radley College awards scholarships for excellence in academics, sports, music, art or drama. These are only available at 13+. Scholarship assessments take place from November to January while boys are in Year 8.

Many scholarships are honorary, only covering up to 5% of fees. However, boys can be considered for additional means-tested support as part of this process.

Academic scholarship assessment

There is a two-stage process for academic scholarships at Radley. Stage one comprises an English and maths exam, which are written by the school. This is taken at children’s current school or an exam centre.

English (2 hours): The literature section of the paper will test skills of understanding and literary analysis. Questions are designed to allow the best candidates to show that they can think for themselves, and have read widely. There is usually a mixture of poetry and prose, though these are often approached in an unconventional way.

There is also a writing task which may be either creative or discursive, and in which candidates are expected to show that they can take pleasure in language with precision and flair. Clear, accurate, and agile use of English is essential throughout the paper.

The interview is an important part of the examination, and is the candidate’s opportunity to show that he is ambitious about, and takes pleasure in, his study of English.

Maths (1 hour): The maths paper consists of routine questions based on algebra and calculation. Calculators are not allowed.

Past papers are available here.

Stage two is for shortlisted candidates and consists of a two-day event held at Radley. Boys take a range of exam papers in geography, religious and ethical studies, languages, science, and maths. There are also a series of interviews and a group activity.

Results are given to prep schools and/or parents about a week after the stage two assessment day. Boys who are successful in stage two will not need to take the Common Entrance exam, which is used at 13+ for setting purposes.

Learn more and apply for scholarship entry here.

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Radley College admissions process

There are three admissions processes for entry at 13 plus (Year 9), which differ slightly from each other.

Via the Radley List

Many parents choose to register their sons for the Radley List, usually before the age of three, at a cost of £100. If your child is on the Radley List:

  1. In April when your son is in Year 5: you will be contacted with a conditional offer and a link to an online application form, as well as further information about boarding at Radley. The deadline for this form is the end of May and there is an entry fee of £250.

  2. By September of Year 6: register directly with ISEB for your son to take the ISEB Common Pre-Test.

  3. By 31st October of Year 6: Radley will request a report from your son’s current headteacher which must be submitted by this date.

  4. During October and November of Year 6: your son will also be invited to assessment days, visits and interviews at Radley.

  5. By 30th November of Year 6: your son must sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test either at their current school or a trusted centre.

  6. At the end of March of Year 6: you’ll get your child’s results. This is either an unconditional offer (for boys who score 60% or above in the assessments and perform well in the interviews), an offer of a place on the waiting list, or no offer (for boys who would not cope with the academic pace at Radley). Upon getting an unconditional offer, you’ll need to pay a non-refundable acceptance fee and you will find out which boarding house your son will be placed in.

  7. During Year 8: boys go on to take the ISEB Common Entrance test before starting at Radley College in Year 9. This is used for deciding which set to place children in, rather than for entrance decisions. Boys can also go through the 13+ scholarship application process at this time – those who are successful are exempt from the Common Entrance test.

Via Open Entry

If your child is not on the Radley List, the admissions process is as follows:

  1. In May or June when your son is in Year 5: contact the admissions office to request an Open Entry application form. The form must be completed by the end of June.

  2. By September of Year 6: register directly with ISEB for your son to take the ISEB Common Pre-Test. You will also need to pay a non-refundable entry fee of £350 at this stage.

  3. By 31st October of Year 6: Radley will request a report from your son’s current headteacher which must be submitted by this date. You should also attend an open day at this stage.

  4. By the end of December of Year 6: you’ll be informed whether your son has been shortlisted for further assessment.

  5. In January and February of Year 6: shortlisted boys will come to Radley for interviews and assessments, and to visit the boarding houses.

  6. At the end of March of Year 6: you’ll get your child’s results. This is either an unconditional offer or an offer of a place on the waiting list. Upon getting an unconditional offer, you’ll need to pay an acceptance fee of £2,500. Several boys on the waiting list will go on to get unconditional offers as other boys withdraw.

  7. During Year 8: boys go on to take the ISEB Common Entrance test before starting at Radley College in Year 9. This is used for deciding which set to place children in, rather than for entrance decisions. Boys can also go through the 13+ scholarship application process at this time – those who are successful are exempt from the Common Entrance test.

Overseas applicants

The application process and for families who live overseas is much the same as the Open Entry process for UK candidates (above), with a few exceptions:

  • If your son has sat the UKiset, you’ll also need to share his results with Radley College by 30th November of Year 6.

  • If your son gets an unconditional offer, you will need to pay an acceptance fee of £2,000, plus a refundable deposit equal to one term’s fees, to secure his place.

(Learn about applying to UK schools from overseas here.)

Radley College 13+ exam: the ISEB Common Pre-Test

All children applying for 13 plus entry to Radley College take the ISEB Common Pre-Test in the autumn term of Year 6.

The ISEB Common Pre-Test is taken on a computer. It's completely adaptive, meaning the questions become easier or more challenging depending on how your child is performing. Boys will answer questions in four subjects:

  • English: covering comprehension and spelling, punctuation and grammar.

  • Maths: questions cover the Key Stage 2 national curriculum taught up to the end of Year 5. The main topics are number, measurement, data, algebra and geometry.

  • Verbal reasoning: tests logic and problem-solving with written information.

  • Non-verbal reasoning: tests your child’s ability to understand and analyse visual information.

How is the ISEB Common Pre-Test marked?

Each child will be given a Standardised Age Score (SAS), which is calculated based on the number of correct and incorrect answers, the level of difficulty in each question and their date of birth in years and months (to prevent younger children from being disadvantaged). Your child's ISEB Common Pre-Test score will be sent directly to Radley College and any other schools you are applying to which use the ISEB.

As a guide, competitive selective schools like Radley will generally require candidates to reach an ISEB Common Pre-Test score of 120 or more.

Atom Learning

Guide to the ISEB

Read our comprehensive guide to the ISEB Common Pre-Test and get advice to help your child prepare.

Learn more
ISEB test on Atom Nucleus

How to prepare for entry to Radley College

Entry to Year 9 (13+) is significantly competitive, particularly for children seeking scholarships. Here are our top tips on how to best prepare your child for the selection process in Year 6.

Preparation is key: familiarisation with the question formats and known styles ahead of the exam is essential. Access to quality, unlimited practice material for the ISEB Common Pre-Test ensures confidence when tackling the exam.

Achieve mastery quickly: the ISEB Common Pre-Test assesses 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.

All-in-one exam prep platform

Wondering how to make sure your child learns all the exam content, 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 Nucleus is the award-winning school exam prep platform that gives your child everything they need to prepare for entry to the UK's leading schools.

Children work independently through over 90,000 interactive practice questions in English, maths, verbal and non-verbal 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.

ISEB mock tests

With Atom Nucleus you'll unlock online mock tests tailored to the ISEB Common Pre-Test, so your child will go into the exam knowing exactly what to expect.

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

Prepare for Radley College the smart way

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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 Radley College or other selective schools.

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