13+ Admissions

Choosing the right school for your child is clearly an extremely important decision, with many factors to take into consideration. Embarking on the Admissions process for senior school can therefore appear quite a daunting task, but the Admissions Team at Stowe is here to guide, support and advise you as you navigate the various steps of the process. We have endeavoured to put in place a logical, simple and digestible Admissions process which we hope will assist you in your decision-making process. 

The 13+ Admissions Process 

Each year we take approximately 180 pupils into the Third Form (Year 9).  We advise families to start the initial process when their child is in Year 4 or 5 and recommend visiting on an Open Morning with the aim of narrowing your long list of schools to a short list of three or four. There are then three important steps to be negotiated: 

  • A private visit with interviews at Stowe or by exception remotely for overseas pupils 

  • Success in the ISEB Common Pre-Tests (or UKiset for whom English is not their first language) 

  • A satisfactory reference or report from the candidate’s current school 

Whilst the majority of pupils at Stowe are Boarders, we do also have Day children. Although the Admissions steps are the same, the timings are different. The important difference is that for Day pupils all three of the steps listed above must be completed between September and mid-January of Year 6, whilst for Boarders, candidates are expected to visit for their interviews in Year 6, but the assessments take place in Year 7. 

Stage 1.  Enquiry & Registration 

Entry to Stowe is competitive so we advise parents to contact the Admissions team when their child is in Year 4 or 5. You may initially wish to request a prospectus or having completed your research online, you might be contacting us for the first time to enquire about next steps. We have produced a number of easy-to-follow Next Steps Guides by year of entry. 

At this point you may wish to attend one of our Open Mornings

There is no fixed date by which Registration must take place as we will fill our places on a first come, first served basis. However, we recommend that parents Register their children no later than Year 5. Registration means that your child is formally added to the School List for that year of entry. Please note that Registration alone does not guarantee admission to the School or a particular House. To Register your child please complete our online Registration Form

Stage 2.  Private Visit & Interview 

Character is important to Stowe and therefore we prefer to interview pupils prior to them sitting their academic assessments. In that way we are not pre-judging candidates on their academic results. All prospective pupils are expected to visit the School for their interviews when they are in Year 6: 

  • Day pupils - September to mid-January of Year 6.   

  • Boarders - September to June of Year 6.   

The individual visit consists of interviews with the Registrar and a Houseparent, a tour of a House and tour of the School with a member of the Sixth Form. During term time we offer four appointments per weekday and three on a Saturday morning. Please contact the Admissions Office to make an appointment. Please also bear in mind that visits are routinely booked up one to two months in advance.

Stage 3.  Academic Assessments & Offer of a Place 

Stowe uses the online ISEB Common Pre-Tests to assess academic ability and potential. Where it is difficult for a pupil to take the ISEB Pre-Tests or their application is received in the year of entry, the School will accept CAT4 tests or midYIS scores as a means of academic evidence. The testing periods are as follows: 

  • Day candidates - Autumn Term of Year 6 

  • Boarders - Autumn Term of Year 7   

We are conscious that there will be several Boarding candidates who will be asked by other schools to sit their Tests in Year 6. In this instance we are very happy to accept these results as long as they meet our entry level. If not, candidates have the opportunity to re-sit the Tests in Year 7.  

Overseas pupils, for whom English is their first language will be asked to sit the ISEB Pre-Tests. Candidates for whom English is not their first language will be asked to sit a UKiset test. 

The Stowe Group (Swanbourne House and Winchester House) are not required to sit the ISEB Pre-Tests, but they do sit CAT4 or midYIS tests as part of their routine academic programme at their Prep School and Stowe uses these scores as their entrance assessments.  It is important to note that children from the prep schools within The Stowe Group are required to meet our Entry Criteria; progression to Stowe is not automatic.     

The third piece of evidence we require is the school reference or report. For candidates from UK State or Independent schools as well as those schooled overseas, reports will be requested from parents during the initial stages of the enquiry. For those pupils attending a Prep School we will request these references from the Prep School Head in October of Year 6 for Day pupils and October of Year 7 for Boarding pupils. 

On completion of the three key elements of the Admissions process, a decision about whether to offer your child a place will be made. Successful candidates will receive an unconditional offer. The School reserves the right to apply additional academic assessments for those candidates who are deemed to be borderline.   

Stage 4.  Acceptance of Place 

On receipt of the completed Acceptance of Place Form and payment of the deposit of £1,500 (an Additional Deposit of £12,000 is required where a pupil’s normal residence is outside the UK), your child’s place at Stowe and House are confirmed.   

For further information please contact the Admissions Office by email at admissions@stowe.co.uk