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Those All Grown Up Blues!

Updated on March 4, 2021

The Primary to Secondary Transition

Preparing for the transition from primary to secondary school can be daunting for both child and guardian. Not only are there different admission procedures based on the types of schools, but there is also the task of finding a school which is suitable for your child’s needs and your own accessibilities.

This task can prove to be drain both on your physical energy and your mental energy. It is important to be well rested and maintain a healthy approach when discerning the selective tests from the entrance exams and the scholarships from the bursaries.

There are however, a few good-to-know things that can make the changeover a little easier to handle.

Firstly, Primary schools often have lists of local schools, state, grammar and independent which their year six students most commonly attend, it is always a good idea to gain this information and check the criteria for those schools at the start of term.

Times can vary throughout the UK when it comes to application time for secondary schools and it is always worth checking with your local authority website, but below you can find the typical time frames that schools adhere to:

  • September - October schools tend to have their open days/evenings.

    Most schools do not require you to book in advance but do have set

    times where the head teacher makes an appearance.

  • October - November usually sees the closing date for applications.

    November is usually when aptitude tests take place if necessary.

  • November - February interviews for potential students are generally

    organised if relevant as well as scholarship tests for some independent


  • February - March offers for places are typically made and acceptances

    of places are required soon after.

  • March - August sees those potential students on the waiting lists offered

    available places.

Some Top Tips

Taking travel time into consideration is also important, the last thing you want is to find a school you love the look of online and then travel for an hour to get there. This is going to be a daily commute and it’s important to find what is feasible for you.

Next it is paramount to consider just what school route you want to take. Luckily for those who choose the state school or grammar school route, the key starting point is always online applications. This differs from independent schools where registration can be done at any time throughout the school year and comes with a cost.

11+ exams are usually around the same time so a calendar specifically for key dates can be a lifesaver when it comes to keeping your schedule in check.

How far in advance do you start preparing for secondary school?

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