English, Maths and Reasoning tests, as well as participation in group-based activities, are standard for 7+ or 8+ entry to London day schools.
These are challenging tests for young children, so you may also wish to consider boarding and country prep at this stage. 8+ is their traditional entry point, but many pupils now join later and the academic requirements are often much more flexible. Some schools even pride themselves on developing test that they allege cannot prepared for in advance.
You should be aware that there are no standard tests - each prep school sets its own exam, and as such has a slightly different way of assessing applicants. This can seem like a minefield for many parents, but it’s important to remember they are all looking for children who will suit their particular environment. Certain highly selective prep schools will insist on registration fees before scheduling a visit. If your child is accepted, these schools will likely ask you to pay a deposit, or the first term’s fees, or both.
The best way to really understand the intricacies of the entry procedures is by talking to the people who know them best - the schools themselves. At the show this year there are over 150 leading schools for this age group, drawn from London and across the UK.
In our theatre sessions leading experts and heads will be answering parents’ questions. I would like to highlight one particular talk that will give you a good overview of prep school entry requirements: ‘Starting out in London: from nursery to prep'. This talk is taking place in the angels&urchin’s Junior Theatre on Saturday at 10:30 and Sunday at 11:15am. You can find out more about all the theatre sessions here.