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St Dunstan's College: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry

School guides
St Dunstan's College: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry

St Dunstan’s College is an independent day school for boys and girls aged 3–18 in Catford, South East London. The school is set across 68-acres among historic and contemporary buildings which include a wellness centre, a woodland classroom and ecology pond, a brand new STEM centre and facilities for performing arts, sports and leisure.

St Dunstan’s College is driven to develop individual character above institutional personality and it cherishes the diversity of its pupils. In 2022, the school won the TES Award for Independent Senior School of the Year as recognition for its clear vision, drive and ambition. Alongside traditional subjects, pupils study an additional curriculum which covers three strands: relationships, skills for the future, and critical thinking and rhetoric.

The school focuses on teaching children how to proactively manage their mental health, celebrate diversity within the community and show compassion and kindness to all. Staff and sixth form students are trained as Youth Mental Health First Aiders, ensuring that all children have someone to turn to for additional support, while the school’s new Wellness Centre provides spaces for relaxation and respite.

There is an extraordinary range of co-curricular activities on offer at St Dunstan’s College, with up to 150 to choose from. Activities are linked to one of five profiles which are based on a college value – Courage (CCF, Duke of Edinburgh Award and adventurous activities), Curiosity (academic enrichment, clubs and societies), Creativity (art, dance, design, drama and music), Compassion (charity, community service, volunteering and leadership) and Core (competitive and developmental sports and wellness).

Key information for St Dunstan's College

  • Headmaster: Mr Nicholas Hewlett

  • Address: St Dunstan's College, Stanstead Road, Catford, SE6 4TY

  • London Borough: Lewisham

  • Admissions contact: Mrs I Blake-James – [email protected], 020 8516 7226

  • Age range and gender: 3–18, co-educational

  • Number of pupils: 1,039

  • Number of places in Year 7:

  • Ratio of applicants to places:

  • Open day date: Saturday 24th September 2022 – book a place online

  • Overview of selection procedure: ISEB Common Pre-Test, school’s own test, interview and school reference

  • Registration opens: Currently open – apply on St Dunstan’s College’s website

  • Registration closes: Friday 25th November 2022 at 4pm

  • Assessment date: Thursday 5th and Monday 9th January 2023

  • Scholarship assessment date: January 2023 (different dates for different disciplines)

St Dunstan's College fees and financial assistance

The termly fees at St Dunstan’s College for 2022–23 are £6,642, or £19,926 per year. The fees cover the cost of normal tuition as well as lunches, most books and stationery.

St Dunstan’s College is able to offer means-tested financial assistance (known as bursaries) to pupils who meet the school’s entrance requirements but are otherwise unable to afford independent education. To qualify for consideration for a bursary, the gross family income must be below £75,000 per annum and the family must be resident in the UK. The financial value of a bursary ranges between 10% and 100% each year, dependent on the level of need. For current pupils whose families are experiencing temporary financial difficulties, St Dunstan’s College provides a Benevolent Fund to support such pupils while financial problems are resolved (usually until the end of the term or academic year).

Prospective pupils may also apply for a scholarship to St Dunstan’s College. All scholarships come with a range of benefits including fee remission, which is worth either 10% (minor) or 25% (major) of tuition fees. The scholarships available at 11 plus entry are academic, art, drama, music and sports.

The music department at St Dunstan’s College additionally offers standalone Benson exhibition awards. These provide pupils with free tuition on their main instrument (equivalent to £630) and are awarded through the same audition process as Music Scholarships.

St Dunstan's College term dates

The term dates at St Dunstan's College for 2022–23 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 5th September – 16th December 2022

  • Half term: 17th–28th October 2022

  • Spring term (Lent): 10th January – 31st March 2023

  • Half term: 13th–17th February 2023

  • Summer term (Trinity): 24th April – 7th July 2023

  • Half term: 29th May – 2nd June 2023

Admissions process for Year 7 entry to St Dunstan's College

If you have visited St Dunstan’s College and decided to register your child for entry to Year 7 in 2023, you will need to complete the online registration form on behalf of your child and pay the non-refundable registration fee of £125. The deadline for completion, and for paying the registration fee, is Friday 25th November 2022 at 4pm.

All candidates who are registered before the deadline will then be invited to take the ISEB Common Pre-Test at St Dunstan’s College on Thursday 5th January 2023. In addition, all candidates will sit the school’s own entrance assessment on Monday 9th January 2023. This consists of a critical thinking lesson and a written English test.

Pupils who perform well in both the ISEB Common Pre-Test and the St Dunstan’s College entrance exam will be shortlisted for an interview with a member of senior staff. Interviews will take place during the week commencing 23rd January 2023.

Academic Scholarships are awarded to children who excel in the school’s entrance exams and, after shortlisting, perform well in a one-to-one Academic Scholarship interview. There is no need to apply for these. However, if your child is applying for a Co-Curricular Scholarship, there are additional steps in the admissions process:

  • Art Scholarships: Applicants will need to submit a digital portfolio of their work and up to two references from an art teacher/tutor. Candidates will be invited to an assessment day on either Friday 20th or Saturday 21st January 2023, where they will undertake a practical art task, a written task and an interview.

  • Drama Scholarships: Applicants will need to submit a personal statement and up to two supporting references from a drama teacher/coach. They will be invited to an assessment day on Friday 27th January 2023, where they will work in groups of 10 for one hour with the support of existing drama scholars. Candidates will take part in social games and ice-breaker activities, as well as a performance in response to an unseen stimulus and a group discussion task.

  • Music Scholarships: Applicants should normally be at least Grade 4 in their main instrument (although the school can award based on a candidate’s potential). Applicants will need to submit a personal statement and up to two supporting references from an instrumental teacher. They will be invited to an assessment day on either Friday 20th or Saturday 21st January 2023, where they will perform on two pieces, undergo sight-reading and aural tests, take part in an informal interview and join an ensemble activity with existing St Dunstan’s College music scholars and instrumentalists.

  • Sports Scholarships: Potential sports scholars should be able to represent the school across at least two of the school’s core sports, which include swimming, netball, hockey, football, cricket and rugby. Applicants will need to submit a personal statement and up to two references from a sports coach or teacher. They will be invited to an assessment day on Thursday 26th or Friday 27th January 2023, where they will be assessed through a series of challenges and multi-sports games, sport-specific activities and an informal interview.

St Dunstan's College will send out offer letters on Friday 10th February 2023, with successful candidates invited to a series of post-offer events during the week commencing 20th February 2023. The deadline for acceptance is Friday 3rd March 2023 at 4pm.

St Dunstan's College entrance exam

All pupils applying to St Dunstan’s College for 11 plus entry will take the ISEB Common Pre-Test on Thursday 5th January 2023.

This is an adaptive online exam which covers English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. The English and maths sections are based on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum taught up until the end of Year 5, while verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning assess children’s logical thinking and problem-solving skills.

It takes about two and a half hours to sit all four sections of the ISEB Common Pre-Test:

  • English: questions test comprehension, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

  • Maths: questions assess the topics of number, measurement, data, algebra and geometry

  • Verbal reasoning: questions are split across six different topics. In 2021, the topics that appeared in the ISEB Common Pre-Test were letter codes, homographs, antonyms, join the words, transfer a letter and number codes.

  • Non-verbal reasoning: questions are split over three topics. In 2021, The topics featured in the ISEB Common Pre-Test were pairing shapes, matching to a pair and finding a code.

Take a look at our complete guide to the ISEB Common Pre-Test for more detailed information about what the test involves.

Atom's complete guide to the ISEB Common Pre-Test

Candidates will also take the school’s own entrance exam on Monday 9th January 2023. This consists of two parts:

  1. Critical thinking lesson: candidates will be observed on their approach to learning, collaboration with others and their critical thinking skills

  2. Written assessment: an English test which comprises reading comprehension and persuasive writing.

How to help your child prepare for the selection process at St Dunstan's College

Build foundational knowledge

For 11 plus entry to St Dunstan’s College, candidates are tested across the Key Stage 2 curriculum – and beyond – with questions on English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning in the ISEB Common Pre-test, in addition to reading comprehension, persuasive writing and critical thinking skills in the school’s own entrance exam.

Atom Nucleus can help your child consolidate everything they need to know for the exam. Your child can access over 90,000 interactive questions, complete with helpsheets and tutorial videos, to build the foundational knowledge necessary for exam success.

Verbal reasoning learning journey on Atom Nucleus

Preparation is key

Familiarisation with the question formats and known styles ahead of the exam is essential to help your child build exam confidence.

An exam preparation subscription with Atom Nucleus enables your child to access quality, unlimited practice material with full score breakdowns to help your child feel confident by the time the exam day comes around. Best of all, your child can take unlimited practice tests – including the ISEB Common Pre-Test – for one monthly cost.

Atom Learning has adaptive mock tests available for the ISEB Common Pre-test.

Access to immediate support

When working through challenging topics, your child will need immediate clarity with any misconceptions so that they feel truly secure in the exam.

Atom Nucleus includes video tutorials, help sheets and examples with every question to help your child build confidence and competence across all the areas assessed.

Maths learning journey on Atom Nucleus

Engage with their progress

Celebrate your child’s improvement in areas of challenge together. An accurate and ongoing assessment of their areas of strength and development is helpful.

As an Atom subscriber, you’ll have a parent dashboard which offers data-driven insights into your child’s progress. You can use this effectively to help your child set targets, see a detailed breakdown of their progress by subtopic and set custom practices to target those they find most challenging.

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Get started with Atom Learning

It’s our mission to help your child feel prepared and confident before the exam day. Begin your free 5-day free trial of Nucleus today to help your child succeed.

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We know how crucial this time is, so our team is on hand to support you and your family every step of the way. You can book a call with one of our Education Experts to ask any questions you might have about 11 plus entry to St Dunstan's College:

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