Selection Policy for State Schools in the UK
With the introduction of the new ‘Hong Kong BN(O) Visa’, HK families have more choices of schools to select for when planning their children’s education route in the UK. Apart from independent schools, we can now also apply for state-funded schools. Among the many types of state schools, selective state schools are the most desirable for families looking for good school culture and top academic results. Making an early start will definitely improve your chances of securing your child a place to an ideal state school.
The selection policy for each school differs but generally, test performance is the main consideration when offering places to applicants. Take Colchester Royal Grammar School for example. Only 128 places are available for Y7 (11+) entry, with 12 priority places for "looked after" children or those in receipt of the Pupil Premium Grant (disadvantaged children). Another top ranked girls' school, Tiffin Girls' School in Kingston upon Thames, has 180 places up for grabs. However, unlike Colchester, Tiffin Girls' also has a catchment area requirement. Only those living in the catchment area are eligible to apply. Tests are generally sat in September prior to application deadline in October Y6.
Mid-year (Y8-10) and sixth form (Y12-13) entries also vary for different schools. As students do not generally move away from schools unless families relocate, there is minimal availability for mid-year entry. Applications can be made throughout the year (with a deadline for some schools) and tests in English, Math and Science will need to be sat prior to entry. Sixth form, on the other hand, is also a popular entry point. Both Colchester Royal and Tiffin Girls' accept applications from external students, and offer places based on their GCSE results or their current school results if the student does not follow the British National Curriculum. The number of places available vary, with Colchester having an expanded sixth form cohort (also accepting girls) and Tiffin having a smaller and elite cohort.
It is important to observe the timelines and requirements when applying to these selective state-funded schools, and be very academically prepared in order to gain admission priority.