The answer is YES – though some are more selective than others. For a small number of non-selective schools (mostly in or near to London) the only way to gain a place is to register your child’s birth then head straight to the school and etch their name on the waiting list; most schools now organise admissions so that not all places are nabbed by autumn births. Fortunately at most schools things are not quite so competitive, with many rural prep and senior schools actively recruiting pupils.
Early years selection tends to be via a gentle assessment to see if your child will fit the bill (though even at such a tender age a handful have the hurdles set uncomfortably high). Speech, interaction, play and social skills are the order of the day. If your child has a difficulty in these areas we recommend you consult our extensive SEN section. Many independent schools welcome children with mild special needs, but numbers with the welcome mat out dwindle rapidly as degree of special need increases.
By 7 or 8 expect your child to be examined in maths and English possibly with some form of IQ test to measure potential. Many will invite the child along for the day to see how they fit with other children. Often they are trying to ensure a child is appropriately placed rather than screening. A handful, especially those in the capital, are looking for the brightest and best.
Most senior schools use the 11+ or common entrance exam (or scholarship for top-dogs) to assess whether the proposed pupil meets their academic requirements. Selection should be a two-way process – choosing the right school for your child is of paramount importance, so please get in touch today as have done your research for you and can help every step of the way.