Senior School pupil doing Art

Joining the Senior School

Joining at 11+

The main point of entry into the Senior School is at age 11+. Choosing the right secondary school for your daughter is an important decision and we hope that, through our website, you will learn a little more about us and the Channing community and whether we might be right for you. We would also like to encourage you to visit the Senior School to see the school in person and find out more about our admissions process.

Book a visit to the Senior School

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Channing student painting

We are an academically selective school and so all applicants are invited to sit an entrance examination. We are part of the London 11+ Consortium and as such have an agreed and co-ordinated approach to the 11+ examination. For entry in September 2023 onwards, the Consortium are introducing a new assessment process which goes beyond testing cognitive ability alone and seeks to discover a child’s potential in creative and critical thinking, analysis, synthesis and problem-solving. This test will be 100 minutes in total and taken in the candidate’s current school, but where this is not possible, provision will be made in all Consortium schools for candidates to sit the test there. You can find out more about the assessment here.

We invite all candidates to attend an interview and we also request a school reference for every applicant. Our policy is to offer places on the basis of the whole picture created by the examination result, the interview performance and the school reference. We look very carefully at all three aspects to gauge a candidate’s potential.

Advice on how to choose a school and 11+ FAQs

Choosing an independent senior school for your child is one of the biggest investments most parents will make after purchasing a house, and in fact there are a lot of similarities. On paper they’ve got the same basic attributes – a number of bedrooms, a nice kitchen, a garden; great results, lots of extracurricular activities, lovely facilities – but we all know you need to get in and behind the facade to truly get the feel for it. Sometimes you know just from walking through the front door whether it’s the place for you (that’s true for both houses and schools!) and I’d argue the main consideration has to be that the ethos, values and culture of a school match yours.

Let’s start by considering some of the questions you might ask yourself in deciding on your main objectives for a senior school. I am going to take as a given that your child being happy is your first priority – although sadly there are parents who choose schools on name and perceived bragging rights, rather than considering what will fit their child. As I regularly say at Channing, happy girls learn best. I’d suggest you begin by thinking about your daughter, her attributes and characteristics.  For example:

  • Is she academically able and motivated by challenge? Bearing in mind that the vast majority of secondary schools are academically selective, it’s the level of selection that is useful to understand.
  • Would she be happy at an overtly academic school and enjoy that competition? That might demotivate some girls, who compare themselves unfavourably to others – they may be better off in a school with a steadier pace where they can feel that they’re near the top of the class.
  • Some children will suit a hands-off school where they are independent and need to have plenty of self-motivation to get involved. I’ve seen those children with a fistful of early lunch passes to get to their 14 clubs and activities, beetling about with enormous rucksacks like Everest climbers, and loving every moment of it. Other children would suit somewhere they feel well-known and are encouraged and supported – enjoying success without undue pressure.
  • Does she have particular interests or talents which would be suited by a certain school’s specialism e.g. in music, sport, art or drama? Or would she suit a school where she can dip in and out of everything, follow new interests and try all sorts of activities?
  • Would she suit single-sex or a co-ed environment? The benefits of single-sex include a lack of gender stereotyping and the freedom to be yourself. In a girls’ school all the leadership roles are for girls which sets a confident precedent for life that there are no bars to achievement from being a woman – at Channing that’s all about being 10% braver. It’s your daughter’s character and personality which should help guide your decision here.

You will also want to think about the practicalities:

  • Do the location and transport options work for your family? Can your daughter get to and from school easily, especially if she attends after-school clubs or evening events?
  • Will she be able to make local friends? For example, 90% of Channing families live within 3 miles of the school.
  • If you have other children, where do they go to school? To be clear, you should ask that question not because convenience matters but because having children at the right school for them is what matters most – and if you rightly want your children at different schools, how will that work?
  • Do the finances work for you? Do check school websites for information about financial support if that may be necessary: at Channing we have always done our best to ensure that children who would benefit from an education at the School are not excluded for financial reasons and offer means-tested financial support with the payment of school fees to parents/guardians who would otherwise be unable to afford them. You can access this information here LINK to understand what is involved.

And then the fundamental question: what are the ethos and values of the school, and do they match yours? It’s important that your child is at a school where you support the aims and attitude of the Head and the staff – otherwise you will find yourself at loggerheads with them and the aim is to be working in partnership for the good of your child. Listen carefully to what they have to say and ask questions: you’re not being a pain, you’re making a significant investment and need to be sure!

So where do you start? Ideally you want to tailor an initial longlist down to 2 or 3 main contenders.

Initially you should visit all the schools or book onto virtual open days if you can’t attend in person.

What should you look for?

  • Look at academic and co/extra-curricular activities, especially in the areas where you/your daughter have a particular interest e.g., language provision, science and computing, sporting opportunities
  • Find out about the selection process and how your daughter should prepare for it.
  • Find out about the induction process; how does the school help the pupils settle in at the start of Year 7?
  • Find out about their remote provision – it gives you an idea of how adaptable the school is and what they consider important about education, and the likelihood is that all education is going to involve some level of blended learning in the future. Our experience with Channing Virtual School is that some of the additional capabilities afforded by technology are too good to let go.
  • Go armed with some questions based on what you saw on the website in case you forget on the day. Don’t be afraid to come back with more questions as they occur to you as you may not think of them until after the event.
  • Make sure you talk to the teachers: are they receptive and easy to chat to? Are they excited and enthusiastic about their subject and their school? Are they specialists in their subject?
  • Talk to as many of the pupils as you are able – often they will be leading the tours. Sometimes these will be Sixth Formers who have been all the way through the school and can tell you about their experience to date, as well as their plans for what comes next.  Some schools use second year students to take tours, who can tell you what it was like to join the school.
  • Try and chat to a member of the Parents’ Association if they are available. You need to be sure that after the active social life most parents experience at junior school the same will be on offer at senior school, if this is important to you. Members of the PA will also be able to give you the lowdown about the basics – travel, food, uniform etc.
  • And finally – is the ethos clearly explained and does it resonate with you? What are the Head’s future plans and vision for the school – is it a development of what exists and even more appealing to you, or will it take the school in a very different direction?
  • Try to narrow it down to 2-3 schools at most: a couple of first choices and then a good insurance choice that you and your child would still be happy with. Talk to your current Head about these choices if they are receptive:  are they academically realistic? What more can they tell you about the schools you like?  Do they see your choices as a good fit for your child?

A final plea from a Head who has to spend the next 5 years dealing with pupils’ fear of tests – please don’t put your child through lots of 11+ exams! And please do consider your daughter’s wellbeing in the process. It’s important that both you, and she, are calm and confident that there will be a positive outcome – and that wherever the 11+ might take them in the future she will flourish into a happy and confident young person.

Lindsey Hughes

What is the closing date for receipt of applications for Year 7?

Friday 11 November 2022.

What happens after I have returned my application form and fee?

You will receive an acknowledgement and your daughter will be registered for the entrance exam. We will also request a reference from the Head Teacher of your daughter’s current school.

When and where is the Entrance Test?

Candidates will either sit the assessment in their current school or at one of the
Consortium schools to which they have applied, if their current school is unable to
provide this facility.

Does it matter where my daughter sits the examination?

It does not matter where your daughter takes the test – she will not be disadvantaged in any way by not taking the test at Channing. If you have applied to several schools who have the London 11+ Consortium test for their entrance process your daughter only needs to sit the test once. The set of results produced will be shared with all the schools who have registered that candidate. Our Admissions department will be in touch with you to ascertain where and when your daughter will be taking the test after we have received your application. Please ensure you submit an application to Channing even if your daughter is sitting the exam at a different school so that we are able to access her results.

Will sample papers be provided?

Familiarisation materials will be published on the Consortium website in early
Autumn Term 2022. We recommend that all candidates look at these before taking
the assessment.

How long is the examination?

The new exam will be 100 minutes long (1 hour 40 minutes). There will be a 30-minute
break in the middle.

Can I make an application from overseas?

Yes. Overseas applicants are very welcome to apply to Channing School.

Will my daughter have an interview?

All applicants are invited to attend an interview in January 2023.   Candidates have an individual interview with a senior member of staff for approximately 15 minutes. There is no need for candidates to do any preparation prior to their interview or to bring anything with them.

Do you offer Scholarships and Bursaries?

All applicants who sit the entrance examination are automatically considered for an Academic Scholarship (10% of the fees). No separate application is required.

If you wish to apply for a Music Scholarship you must complete the Music Scholarship Application form in addition to the Year 7 application form. All applicants, who meet the published criteria, will be invited to attend a music audition in January 2023. Music Scholarships are awarded for up to 50% of the tuition fees as a result of the audition and qualification in the academic examination.

Bursaries can be awarded for up to 100% of tuition fees on entry to Year 7. In order to assess financial criteria, applicants will be asked to complete a Statement of Financial Circumstances. When considering applications the full family circumstances, not just income, will be considered.

Are applicants with a sibling already at Channing always offered a place?

We have a large number of applicants for every available place at Channing.  If we have to choose between two or more candidates who are equally suited to life at Channing and equally likely to flourish then we will give preference to a girl who already has a sister in the school.

When will I know the result of my daughter’s application?

Results will be emailed to parents on Friday 10 February 2023. Please note, if your daughter is placed on the Waiting List, information about her position on the Waiting List is not given. All girls on the Waiting List are considered to have qualified for entry should a place arise.

How long do I have to decide whether to accept the offer of a place?

The date by which you must accept or decline an offer of a place is midday on Monday 6 March 2023.

What sports are offered to pupils ?

In year 7, 8 & 9 students are able to try a wide variety of sports including netball, football, athletics, volleyball, gymnastics, trampolining, cricket, rounders, tag rugby, cross country and health and fitness. In Year 9 the students also get the opportunity to complete part of their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh in their PE lessons. From Year 10 girls have the opportunity to go skiing

What languages do pupils study?

Pupils can choose between French, German and Spanish in Year 7.  In Year 8 they can choose a further modern language (French, German or Spanish) and continue to study two languages in Year 9.  In addition all pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 study Latin.  In Year 10 pupils choose at least one modern foreign language to study at GCSE level.

Do you provide a school bus service for pupils?

We are very well served by public transport with many bus routes passing the school and we are close to two tube stations. Please go to our website to see the range of  transport links to the school. Many pupils walk to school and we encourage pupils to cycle if they can. As well as being good for general health, it is good for the environment. We not therefore currently provide a school bus service for pupils but this is reviewed and considered every year.

What clubs and extra-curricular activities do you offer?

Please visit our website to see the wide range of clubs and activities on offer to our pupils: Extra-curricular activities at Channing.

Key Dates for 11+ 2023 Entry

Closing date for applications: Friday 11 November 2022

Music Scholarship Application deadline: Friday 11 November 2022

Channing assessment day: Thursday 8 December 2022

11+ Interviews will take place: January 2023 for all candidates.

Result of application emailed to parents:  Friday 10 February 2023.

Closing date for Acceptance of offer: Midday on Monday 6 March 2023.

If you have previously applied to the Junior School and have not been offered a place, a new application is required for the 11+ process.

11+ application for Senior School

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Happy Senior School pupils

Scholarships and Bursaries

Chance Vacancies – Years 8 to 10

Occasionally, we have places in Years 8 to 10 that arise because of a pupil departure.

For all admissions queries please contact the Registrar on 020 8340 2328 or send an email to

Application Form for Years 8 to 10 Chance Vacancies

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Channing Students