Private schools should adopt a Ucas-style application system, leading headmaster says

Private schools should adopt a Ucas-style application system to stop children being left with nowhere to go in September, a leading headmaster has said. Out of over 1,300 private schools in the UK, 190 use the Common Entrance exam either at age 11 or age 13, but the vast majority of schools set their own bespoke tests. The Telegraph reports. 

Under the current set-up, eleven-year-old pupils are forced by pushy parents to sit endless entrance exams, according to Stephen Lehec, head of the £18,000-a-year Kingston Grammar School.  

If independent schools adopted a similar approach to the university application system, he argued, this would mean children can sit just one exam for all schools, and allow parents to prioritise their choices.  

“As schools cannot forecast with any degree of certainty how many children will start in September, because parents can make any number of applications and even accept multiple offers, they always make more offers than there are places,” Mr Lehec told The Telegraph.

“If, as the admissions deadline approaches, schools realise they do not have the capacity to make good on those offers they may start to withdraw them. In effect, that means schools may be forced to operate on a ‘first-come-first-serve’ basis even before the admissions deadline is reached.”  

He said that an independent, centralised admission system for all independent schools would “stamp out the worst abuses” by schools, and offer more certainty for parents.

“It can’t be good for a child’s wellbeing to have to sit eight or ten entry tests and dragged around eight or ten schools,” he said. “It would be a lot less stressful for them if applications were limited to four or five schools.”

Out of over 1,300 private schools in the UK, 190 use the Common Entrance exam either at age 11 or age 13, but the vast majority of schools set their own bespoke tests

Read more Private schools should adopt a Ucas-style application system, leading headmaster says

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