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Sutton Valence School: parents’ guide to Year 7 entry

School guide

Jan 31, 2023, 2:18 PM

Sutton Valence School: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry


Sutton Valence School is an independent school in Maidstone, Kent for boys and girls aged 2 to 18. The school is spread across two rural sites, with day education provided at the nursery and prep school and day and boarding at the senior school (ages 11–18). Most senior school pupils board on-site in one of three houses (two for boys and one for girls), giving them the opportunity to become more independent and disciplined while flourishing within the school environment.

Academic achievement is paramount at Sutton Valence School and the school prides itself on adding value to each child’s academic potential. There are seven checkpoints throughout the academic year and a bespoke traffic light system to help monitor each child’s progress against their personal targets. In 2022, over 75% of A level grades were A* to B and just under half of GCSE grades were levels 9–7 (A*–A equivalent).

Beyond the classroom, there are plenty of enrichment opportunities to encourage students to work as part of a team, develop leadership qualities and learn a wide range of skills. Activities include the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), which is compulsory for pupils in Year 9, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, opportunities in sport, drama and music, and a comprehensive activities programme offering clubs, forums and societies in areas such as critical thinking, cardiovascular training and sustainable fashion.

Directory of private schools in Kent

Key information for Sutton Valence School

  • Head: Mr James Thomas

  • Address: Sutton Valence School, North Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 3HL

  • County: Kent

  • Admissions contact: Mrs Kathy Webster – [email protected], 01622 845206

  • Age range and gender: 2–18, boys and girls

  • Number of pupils: 809

  • Open day date: Saturday 4th March 2023

  • Overview of selection procedure: ISEB Common Pre-Test

  • Registration closes: early November in Year 6

  • Assessment date: mid-November in Year 6

Sutton Valence School fees and financial assistance

The current tuition fees at Sutton Valence School are £6,250 per term for Year 7, £6,660 per term for Year 8 and £7,740 for Year 9 and above. Lunch costs an additional £325 per term for day pupils. Boarding is a separate charge, ranging from £2,171 per term for three nights per week to £4,430 per term for full boarding.

Sutton Valence School offers means-tested financial assistance (bursaries) to children who pass the school’s entrance procedure but whose family would not otherwise be able to afford the school fees. If applicable, a percentage discount will be applied to tuition and boarding fees, but does not cover lunch and transportation costs. If you think your child would be eligible for a bursary at Sutton Valence, you will need to register your child for entry before requesting a bursary application form from the school.

Pupils who have a parent in the Armed Forces may apply for a Forces Bursary, which is the equivalent of a 20% discount applied to tuition and boarding fees. Sutton Valence School also has a sibling discount in place – when three or more children are enrolled in the senior school, prep school or nursery at the same time, a discount of 20% will be deducted from the youngest child’s tuition fees.

Everything you need to know about bursaries

Children applying for 11 plus entry to Sutton Valence School can also apply for up to two scholarships, which each carry a generous financial award at the discretion of the headmaster. 11 plus applicants can apply for art, design and technology, drama, music and sports scholarships, while children who perform well in the entrance exam may be invited back for an interview to be considered for an academic scholarship.

Sutton Valence School term dates

The term dates at Sutton Valence School for 2022–23 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 6th September – 16th December 2022

  • Half term: 22nd October – 6th November 2022

  • Spring term (Lent): 9th January – 24th March 2023

  • Half term: 11th–19th February 2023

  • Summer term: 17th April – 7th July 2023

  • Half term: 27th May – 4th June 2023

The term dates at Sutton Valence School for 2023–24 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 6th September – 16th December 2023

  • Half term: 22nd October – 6th November 2023

  • Spring term (Lent): 9th January – 24th March 2024

  • Half term: 11th–18th February 2024

  • Summer term: 17th April – 8th July 2024

  • Half term: 27th May – 4th June 2024

Admissions process for Year 7 entry to Sutton Valence School

1. Visit the school

If you are considering Sutton Valence School for your child’s secondary education, it’s recommended that you visit the school with your child for an open morning, followed by a meeting with the headmaster or another member of the senior management team (SMT).

The next available open morning at Sutton Valence is Saturday 4th March 2023.

2. Registration

The admissions process begins once you have registered your child for entry and completed payment of a £100 non-refundable registration fee. The registration form can be found on Sutton Valence School’s website.

The next admissions cycle is for children applying for Year 7 entry in 2024. The registration deadline for this cohort is yet to be set by Sutton Valence School, but is likely to be early November 2023 (when your child is in Year 6).

3. Scholarship assessments

Children applying for 11 plus entry to Sutton Valence School can also apply for up to two scholarship awards from a choice of art, design and technology, drama, music and sport scholarships. The closing date scholarship applications has not yet been set for 2024 entry, but is likely to be in September 2023 (note that this is before the main entrance registration deadline). Children will then be invited to sit the relevant scholarship assessment in late September or early October:

  • Art scholarships: children will complete an art assessment at Sutton Valence School and will have a short interview with the headmaster.

  • Design and technology scholarships: children will be expected to put together a body of work (including school work and pieces compiled as part of an external hobby), which will form part of an interview with the head of design and technology. Candidates will also have a short interview with the headmaster.

  • Drama scholarships: candidates will perform two pieces at an audition and will need to submit a presentation of work. They will also have a short interview with the headmaster.

  • Music scholarships: candidates are expected to be of at least Grade 4 standard for instrumental scholarships (and ideally offer either two instruments or one instrument and voice), or Grade 3 standard for choral scholarships. Children will be invited to an audition and a short interview with the headmaster.

  • Sports scholarships: children wishing to apply for a sports scholarship will need to be recommended by their current school and be able to demonstrate a record of outstanding ability in team sports, with the potential to represent the county in at least one major sport.

4. ISEB Common Pre-Test

All children who have been registered by the deadline will then be invited to take the ISEB Common Pre-Test at Sutton Valence School on a Saturday in mid-November 2023. You will need to register your child separately for the test via the ISEB website. Your child will only need to take this test once, regardless of how many schools you are applying for.

The ISEB Common Pre-Test is an online adaptive exam which takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete. Questions span four subjects:

  • English: 40 minutes available. The content covers reading comprehension and SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar).

  • Maths: 40 minutes available. Pupils are tested on Key Stage 2 maths, which includes number and place value, calculations, fractions, decimals and percentages, measurement, geometry, and statistics.

  • Verbal reasoning: 30 minutes available. Candidates are tested on their logic and comprehension, including problem-solving techniques, trial and error skills, the ability to work logically, the ability to recognise suitable solutions, and knowledge of vocabulary and definitions.

  • Non-verbal reasoning: 36 minutes available. Pupils will be asked to analyse 2D figures and diagrams and look for patterns, and manipulate 3D figures and diagrams to visualise them in different ways.

Exclusive resource: Best exam techniques for the ISEB. Free download

Children who perform well in the ISEB Common Pre-Test may be invited to have an interview with the headmaster and the head of academic scholars to be considered for an academic scholarship. This will take place in December, before the Christmas holidays.

5. Offers

Sutton Valence School will make offers of places subject to each child’s academic ability, as demonstrated in the ISEB Common Pre-Test. Special consideration will be given to siblings of existing pupils.

How to prepare for 11 plus entry to Sutton Valence School

Atom Nucleus

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All content is automatically marked, and you’ll get instant score breakdowns and data-led insights to help you track your child’s progress. You can use your parent dashboard to effectively help your child set targets and create exercises to target the content they find more challenging.

See how Atom Nucleus can help your child prepare effectively for the Sutton Valence School entrance exam – start your free trial today.

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