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The Perse School: parents’ guide to Year 7 entry

School guide

Jan 31, 2023, 2:05 PM

The Perse School: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry


The Perse School is a large independent day school in Cambridge, providing education to boys and girls aged 3–18 across four constituent schools (the Pelican School for ages 3–7, the prep school for ages 7–11, the upper school for ages 11–16 and the sixth form for ages 16–18).

The Perse School was founded in 1615 and provided a boys-only education until 2010, when girls were first accepted into the upper school, before becoming fully co-educational by 2012. Exam results are consistently outstanding, resulting in regular high placements in national league tables. Pupils’ 2022 exam results (95.7% A*–B at A level and 92.9% 9–7 at GCSE) placed The Perse School as 24th among independent secondary schools in the country and first in Cambridgeshire (The Sunday Times Parent Power 2023).

Pupils at Perse study a varied curriculum which stretches and challenges. Many pupils take advantage of additional or fast-track GCSE qualifications or other certifications in subjects such as maths, drama, computer science, music, additional modern languages, ancient history, 3D art and ICT. There are extensive opportunities to develop research skills as early as Year 7, with all pupils taking the Perse Research Skills Qualification – a bespoke independent online course. Pupils continue to pursue independent study interests each year, resulting in two hours of timetabled enrichment activities by the time they start Year 11.

Children have plenty of opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities beyond the classroom, including over 100 clubs and societies, national and international expeditions, sport, music, drama and dance. The school’s Talented Athlete Programme and Junior Academy provide support for the most gifted sporting students, while a Creative Mentors scheme supports pupils to explore opportunities in the creative arts industries.

Key information for The Perse School

  • Head: Mr Edward Elliott

  • Address: The Perse School, Hills Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 8QF

  • County: Cambridgeshire

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 01223 403800

  • Age range and gender: 3–18, co-educational

  • Number of pupils: 1,200+

  • Open day date: 23rd June 2023 – online booking will open in spring 2023

  • Overview of selection procedure: English, maths and verbal reasoning tests, interview, school reference and school report

  • Registration closes: 1st December in Year 6

  • Assessment date: January in Year 6

The Perse School fees and financial assistance

The current fees at The Perse School are £6,481 per term. Lunch is compulsory in Years 7 and 8 and is an additional charge of £311 per term.

Perse is committed to ensuring that talented pupils have the opportunity to benefit from its education, regardless of financial circumstances, and is currently providing more than £1 million of means-tested support to pupils. Bursary awards range from 5–100% of annual fees, and can provide additional support with the cost of school lunches and middle school devices (Years 9–11) if there is sufficient need. Bursary assessments are carried out independently to the academic selection process; if you would like to apply for means-tested assistance, you will need to tick the relevant box on the registration form.

Everything you need to know about bursaries

There are no scholarships available for 11 plus candidates. Pupils in Year 7 will be invited to audition for a music scholarship at the end of the academic year.

The Perse School term dates

The term dates at The Perse School for 2022–23 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 2nd September – 9th December 2022

  • Half term: 21st–31st October 2022

  • Spring term (Lent): 4th January – 29th March 2023

  • Half term: 13th–17th February 2023

  • Summer term: 17th April – 6th July 2023

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

The term dates at The Perse School for 2023–24 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 5th September – 13th December 2023

  • Half term: 20th–30th October 2023

  • Spring term (Lent): 4th January – 27th March 2024

  • Half term: 19th–23rd February 2024

  • Summer term: 15th April – 4th July 2024

  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

Admissions process for Year 7 entry to The Perse School

1. Visit the school

If you are considering The Perse School for your child’s secondary education, it’s a good idea to visit the school first to see if it’s a good fit for your child. The next open date for the upper school (Year 7–11) is on the 23rd June 2023. You will be able to take a tour with a current pupil, hear a talk from the head and chat with teachers and admissions staff.

You will need to book a place to attend this event. Booking will open on the school website in spring 2023.

2. Registration

The admissions process begins when you register your child with the school. To register for a place to join in Year 7, you will need to submit the online registration form and pay a non-refundable fee of £150 before 1st December when your child is in Year 6.

In addition to basic details about your child, you will need to upload a photo page of your child’s passport, a copy of their latest school report, and a brief outline of their hobbies and interests. If your child has special educational needs or disabilities, you will also need to disclose them at this stage so that appropriate adjustments can be made if required.

3. Entrance exams and interview

All children who are registered for a place will take the school’s entrance exams in mid-January when they are in Year 6. They will also have an informal interview with a member of staff, to see how likely they will engage with extracurricular life at Perse and support the school values.]

Children will take three tests:

  • English: a 45-minute creative writing paper. Children will choose to write one creative response to one of two passages. They will be tested on their understanding of the passage and their creative writing ability. Find out more about how to help your child prepare for 11 plus creative writing.

  • Maths: a 45-minute non-calculator paper. Children will be tested on their knowledge of the national curriculum up to and including Year 5, which includes reasoning, problem-solving and mathematical comprehension. Take a look at the topics your child will be tested on.

  • Verbal reasoning: children will be tested on their ability to reason and solve problems with written information. Question types may cover areas such as vocabulary, finding words, building words, codes and sequences, and logic. Note that The Perse School does not provide sample papers for this – take a look at common questions in our guide to 11 plus verbal reasoning.

4. Offers

The Perse School will make offers based on each child’s performance in the entrance exam, the interview, the school report and school reference.

You will be notified of the outcome of your child’s application in early February in Year 6, with an acceptance deadline of early March.

How to prepare for entry to The Perse School

Support exam prep with 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.

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Book a mock interview with Atom Tuition

Children registered for 11 plus enty to The Perse School will have an interview with a member of staff on the assessment day. This is a common practice at independent schools, as it can provide a more holistic insight into your child’s abilities, interests and character. However, even informal interviews can still be daunting for many 10 and 11-year-olds!

Atom Tuition offers online mock interviews with experienced tutors who are specialists in the private school admissions process. A one-hour session consists of a 30-minute interview, a 10-minute break, 20 minutes of feedback and a follow-up report.

These mock interviews are an ideal opportunity for your child to:

  • Encounter typical private school interview questions

  • Learn and practice techniques that will serve them well in the real interview

  • Develop their conversational skills and storytelling style

  • Demystify the interview process and know what to expect

  • Reduce any anxiety and feel confident for the real interview

One mock interview, including one-to-one feedback and a follow-up report, costs £115 (or book two mock interviews for £200). Book a mock interview today and give your child the benefits of expert guidance and a confidence-building experience.

Book a mock interview with Atom Tuition

More support for private school entry

Book a call with an Education Expert

Confused about applying to independent schools, and not sure what you or your child needs to do? Atom’s friendly and informative Education Experts are on hand to support you and your child every step of the way. Book a call to discuss any questions you have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to a private school.

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Join our WhatsApp groups

Why not join over 2,000 parents already using our Atom Learning community WhatsApp groups? You’ll get access to free resources and advice, while our Education Experts will be on hand to provide instant answers to any questions you have about the school admissions process and your child’s exams.

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