Wicked Smart are dedicated to understanding the ins and outs of the top prep schools in London, and every week we will be shining the spotlight on a different prep school. Our focus is to zone in on the 7+ procedure, to shed some much-needed light on what parents and children should expect. This week it’s the turn of City of London School for Girls!
Headteacher: Ena Harrop
Pupil role: 707 (girls only)
Termly fees: £5727
Ages: 7 – 18
What’s good about it?
Arguably the leading school for girls in the UK, City is a highly competitive school that delivers a rigorous academic programme. The school is often considered to be more diverse than other leading London prep schools as the student body is formed of a wide mix of ethnicities and cultures.
Alumni of City of London School for Girls often end up in Oxbridge or Ivy schools, and carry with them a true sense of self, determination and a ‘can do’ attitude. Resilience is key for City girls, and they are surrounded by like minded teachers, who also have impressive academic records.
Although the school is notorious for its packed academic curriculum, extracurricular activities are strongly encouraged and there’s an impressive range of sports facilities for girls to enjoy both at lunch time and after school. Despite being an inner-city school, City of London School for Girls boasts its own swimming pool, tennis court, indoor gym and climbing wall to name but a few.
What does the 7+ exam look like at City of London School for Girls?
Of the hundreds that apply, 24 girls are welcomed each year, making the 7+ entry procedure at City fiercely competitive. The initial assessment day is held in November - rather than most other schools who assess in January - where 50 girls complete papers in English and Maths. Reading and story writing abilities are assessed in the English paper and the school is looking for evidence of accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.
City are aware of the impact that age has on the ability to perform academically, which is why tests are age standardised. Exam papers are completed in small groups to make prospective students feel more relaxed and comfortable and the school is very vocal in its instance that prospective students should not receive tuition in the run up to the big day. They are looking for independent thinkers, girls who have integrity and a unique personality. Teachers at City believe that it is very evident on exam day which girls have been overworked prior to the exam, and they stress the importance of girls coming to the assessment day feeling fresh.
That being said, the content of the exam is challenging, and only those who show high levels of academic ability are likely to be awarded a place at the school.
If successful in the written examinations, girls will be invited back to the school to complete practical assessments in a classroom, where teachers are looking for girls who are able to interact with their peers as well as show an inquisitive nature. After participating in activities in English, Maths and DT, girls attend an informal interview which lasts for around 20 minutes. Again, this is a chance for the staff members at City to get to know your child, as well as an opportunity for girls to ask any questions that they may have about life at the school.
In a nutshell…
More than 10 girls apply for 1 place in the City 7+ entrance exams, and despite insisting that no tuition is necessary to pass the exam process, there is no denying the fact that the schools are looking for the crème de la crème. Educators and parents both share the same goal in that they want what is truly best for the individual child. City even say themselves in the school handbook that they are keen to develop happy, independent girls who come to school looking and feeling energised, rather than tired and demotivated from being overworked. It would be unfair to advise those who favour the ‘slow and steady’ approach that City is the school for them, as the pace is fast and the curriculum is demanding. If, however your child is a true high flyer who tends to just ‘get it’, then this school may very well be the one for them.