By Atom | Jun 7, 2023, 11:35 AM
Are you considering St Paul’s School for your son? We've collated everything you need to know about entry to Year 9, including key dates and what's covered on the entrance exam.
St Paul’s School is one of the top private schools in the UK and provides a prestigious education for boys aged 7–18. It was founded in 1590 by John Colet, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, to educate boys ‘from all nations and countries indifferently.’ The school encompasses a senior school (13–18) and a prep school, St Paul’s Juniors, for boys aged 7–13.
The school is located on a 45-acre site by the River Thames in Barnes, South West London. Boys have access to exceptional facilities, including a RIBA award-winning science building and the new Samuel Pepys Theatre (named after the famous former pupil). St Paul’s has a very strong reputation for sport, with almost 30 physical activities to choose from, and many pupils progress to regional, national, and international levels.
80% of students at St Paul’s go on to study at the top 12 UK universities, while 13% take up places at North American universities (Ivy League or equivalent). The school describes its own pace of life as fast – bright boys thrive in a wide variety of academic pursuits and an unparalleled range of co-curricular activities.
The main entry point to St Paul’s School is at 13 plus. Boys looking to join St Paul’s at 11 plus apply separately to St Paul’s Juniors.
Headteacher: Sally-Anne Huang
Address: St Paul’s School, Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London SW13 9JT
London borough: Richmond-upon-Thames
Age range and gender: 7–18, boys only
Number of pupils: 1,500+
National league table rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 2
A level results: 98.8% A*–B
GCSE results: 98.9% 9–7
Admissions contact: [email protected]
Open day: Saturday 9th September 2023. Book online
Selection process: ISEB Common Pre-Test, written tests, interviews and headteacher’s reference
Registration deadline: Wednesday 20th September 2023 (entry in 2026)
Assessment date: October/November 2023 (ISEB), 8th January 2024 (St Paul’s tests)
The fees at St Paul’s School in 2023–2024 are 9,895 per term.The fees include the cost of tuition, sports games, loan books, stationery, the library, medical inspection, careers aptitude tests, certain school publications and school lunch – which is compulsory for all pupils.
St Paul’s School is able to provide financial support to boys who pass the entrance exams but whose families would not otherwise be able to afford the school fees. Known as a bursary, this type of financial assistance is means-tested.
Most financial support is focused towards boys applying at 11 plus and 16 plus to reflect the natural state school entry point. As a guide, families with a combined household income of less than £120,000 may be entitled to some level of financial support.
Find out more about bursaries at St Paul’s School.
St Paul’s School awards scholarships at 13 plus entry. Scholarships are not means-tested, but awarded based on a child’s talent in a particular subject.
Academic scholarships are awarded to boys who perform particularly well in academic scholarship exams, which are held in May in Year 8. These are honorary awards, worth £60 – which many families put towards book costs.
Music scholarships and exhibitions are awarded to talented musicians, based on the outcome of an application, audition and interview. Music scholarships carry a reward of £60 plus free tuition on two instruments. Music exhibitions provide free tuition on one instrument.
The 2023–2024 term dates at St Paul’s School are:
Autumn term: 1st September – 14th December 2023
Half term (remedy): 16th – 27th October 2023
Spring term: 10th January – 22nd March 2024
Half term (remedy): 12th – 16th February 2024
Summer term: 16th April – 5th July 2024
Half term (remedy): 27th – 31st May 2024
The term dates in 2024–2025 are:
Autumn term: 30th August – 13th December 2024
Half term (remedy): 21st October – 1st November 2024
Spring term: 8th January – 28th March 2025
Half term (remedy): 17th–21st February 2025
Summer term: 23rd April – 4th July 2025
Half term (remedy): 26th–30th May 2025
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St Paul’s School welcomes around 176 boys into Year 9 every year. Almost half of these pupils have moved up from St Paul’s Juniors, while the other half join from a wide range of schools – both preps and primary.
The next available entry point to St Paul’s School is Year 9 entry in 2026.
If you’re considering St Paul’s School for your son, it’s a good idea to visit first. St Paul’s is selective and has a fast-paced environment, so it’s important to make sure your son would be happy and thrive at the school.
13 plus open afternoons are held in the spring, summer, and autumn terms. Find out more about upcoming events and book a place on the school website.
Once you have decided to proceed with your child’s application to St Paul’s, you will need to register for entry to Year 9. The next available entry point is for 2026, for boys born between 1st September 2012 and 31st August 2013.
To register, complete the online application form before midnight on Wednesday 20th September 2023. You will need to upload an electronic copy of your son’s passport and pay a registration fee of £200, which is non-refundable.
After St Paul’s has received your son’s application, the admissions team will contact your child’s current headteacher to request a report. The headteacher will be asked to comment on your child’s character, academic strengths and interests.
All boys who are registered for 13 plus entry to St Paul’s School will take the ISEB Common Pre-Test. This will be preferably completed at your child’s current school between 2nd October and 24th November 2023. However, if your child’s current school cannot administer the test, your son can take it at St Pauls’ School on 18th November 2023.
The ISEB Common Pre-Test is taken online. The questions are completely adaptive, meaning that they become easier or more challenging depending on how your child is performing. Children will answer questions in four subjects:
English: covering comprehension and spelling, punctuation and grammar
Maths: questions cover 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
You will need to register your son separately to take the ISEB Common Pre-Test. Registration for 2026 entry will be available from the ISEB from mid-August 2023.
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 St Paul’s School.
As a guide, we generally recommend aiming for a standardised score of 125 or more when applying to competitive selective schools like St Paul’s.
In mid-December, you will find out if your child has been invited to the second stage of the entrance process. This will depend on your son’s performance in the ISEB Common Pre-Test and the strength of the reference from his headteacher.
Children who are selected to move to stage two will be invited to sit written tests at St Paul’s. These will take place on 8th January 2024 – when your child is in Year 6.
Maths: 60 minutes
English: 45-minutes. Children will be asked to write a response to one of three topics.
Children who perform well in the written tests will be invited back to St Paul’s School for the third and final stage. This will take place between January and June in Year 6.
The third stage of the process consists of two interviews, each with a senior member of the teaching staff. Each interview will last approximately 25 minutes and will be a discussion about your child’s academic studies. While your child is being interviewed, you will have the opportunity to meet with a senior member of staff.
Find out more about the sorts of questions your child might be asked in our guide to school interviews.
You will find out if your child has been offered a place at St Paul’s School approximately three weeks after the interviews. There are three potential outcomes:
Place on the main list: a conditional offer which must be accepted by the end of Year 7. Children who accept this offer will need to maintain good conduct and progress at their current school, with a further reference of support from their headteacher in Year 8.
Place on the reserve list: after the deadline for acceptance of main list offers has passed, the reserve list will be reviewed early in Year 8. St Paul’s will request an up-to-date report from your child’s headteacher and your son might be invited to take further written papers in English and maths. Following these, some boys will be offered unconditional places and a few more will be placed on a small waiting list.
St Paul’s School is looking to identify boys who are naturally curious about learning for learning’s sake, and have interests beyond their school curriculum. As a top school in the UK, it’s also a highly popular choice for families – so entry is competitive.
Here are our top tips to help your child prepare for the selection process and feel confident for the exams.
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 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.
Wondering how to make sure your child effectively recaps the curriculum, 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 online learning platform, designed to support families with entry to the UK's leading schools.
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 St Paul's School or other selective schools.