Scholarship & Common Entrance Routes

Our final two years (Years 7 & 8) see our boys follow two exam routes:

  • Common Entrance
  • Scholarship

Scholarship Route

Should it be felt that boys would benefit from, and can access, the kind of work, pace and thinking demanded of Scholarship, and are strong across all subjects, as well as have an appropriate attitude and work ethic, then those boys will be invited into 7S (Scholarship) for that year. This class is timetabled apart, but starts to follow a different syllabus and style and in terms of intensity, content and also pace, to be able to prepare boys for the rigours of scholarship papers the following year.

Common Entrance (CE) Route

Common Entrance is a very robust examination route, with an exit/entrance exam written at the end of Year 8. It is an excellent preparation for the rigours of senior school and GCSE, which we are finding is becoming increasingly a three-year course, starting in Year 9 at several senior schools, or at the least with GCSE options chosen a few months into Year 9. Common Entrance prepares the boys particularly well for this early start. There are many bright boys who sit Common Entrance rather than Scholarship, for a variety of reasons.

In Year 8, boys may be invited to join 8S (final year of Scholarship) should we feel that in relation to their schools which have been finalised and the challenging nature of those papers (some are GCSE-style and bordering on A-level style of thinking) the boys will be able to thrive. If it is just that bit too difficult, beyond boys’ capabilities at that stage, or boys are not sufficiently strong or secure across the whole range of subjects, enabling them to reach their potential, then boys will follow Common Entrance. Some boys opt themselves, to join Common Entrance, where they excel equally and are often awarded subject prizes by senior schools (see Leavers’ Destinations and Awards and Scholarships). 

There are many opportunities for boys to thrive and accelerate right from Year 3, regardless of whether they find themselves in Scholarship or Common Entrance routes in Year 7 and 8.  Academically, our final two years are about academic and curriculum extension and acceleration, polish and leadership opportunities at such an important time in boys’ physical, mental, emotional and intellectual development.

We look for the best possible route for the boys to enjoy themselves, be stretched academically, thrive and achieve the results entering their senior school in Year 9, of which we know they are capable. Boys’ well-being is also a significant factor in the choices of exam routes in our final two years and we wish to ensure that each boy is best placed to access what is best for him and that he enjoys the process.