Skip to content ↓


Senior school preparation

Pilgrims’ feeds some of the top independent schools in the country and ambitions are high. Each year, over 40% of our boys go to Winchester College.  However, a majority head elsewhere, and Pilgrims’ feeds a wide number and type of school: from co-ed (for example, Canford or Marlborough) to single sex (for example, Radley or Sherborne); and full boarding (for example, Charterhouse or Harrow) as well as day (for example, King Edward’s in Southampton and Portsmouth Grammar School).


Applying for senior schools

The Head, with the Deputy Head (Academic) and your son’s tutor, will work closely with you to help identify the best ‘fit’ of senior school - a school where your son will be happy and continue to thrive.

11+  successful entry to senior schools

Nearly all the boys stay until the end of Year 8 and move on to one of the country’s major independent schools.

Some boys will opt to move at the end of Year 6 to take a place at one of the nearby independent day schools. Specialist teachers prepare them for the entry test and interviews in Year 6 (11+), often resulting in a scholarship or other award. Some boys will defer the offer from the senior school and delay their move until the end of Year 8 (13+), preferring the breadth and pace of the Pilgrims’ curriculum and the rich opportunities as a Senior in a prep school.

Specialist preparation for 13+ senior school entry

We prepare the boys thoroughly for their senior school applications, ensuring that they feel confident in the entry exams and interviews and able to do their very best.

Boys apply for entrance to senior schools through scholarship, Common Entrance, or a school’s own entrance examination. The formal process begins either in Year 6 or Year 7, depending on the choice of senior school.  Before then, all the boys are given lots of practice for the ISEB's Common Pre-Test (CPT) from Year 4 onwards, which gives them confidence with the computer-based tests and experience of the best techniques for interviews and practical-based group tasks.  

ISEB Common Pre-test (CPT) in Year 6

In the Year 6 pre-tests in 2019, 10 boys were given conditional offers from Eton and 23 boys received conditional offers from Winchester College.

Senior school interview practice

A good interview can make all the difference to the success of a senior school application.  We spend considerable time helping our boys to be comfortable in conversation and teaching them the skills needed to offer an interesting exchange of views and opinions.  With a strong focus on interview technique and lots of practice, we guide the boys to give considered responses to interview questions rather than overly schooled, prepared answers.  Our aim is make sure that the boys come across as interested and interesting.

Senior school references

These are very important!  The Headmaster and Deputy Head Academic spend a great deal of time and focus tailoring the reference for each individual boy for his specific senior school. They will consult with your son's tutor and teachers to ensure the reference reflects the essence of his character and personality, with content about his hobbies and passions as well as his academic strengths.

Our Location

We are blessed with a truly idyllic location. Just an hour south of London by direct train, with easy access to all the major travel hubs, and yet we are surrounded by the stunning countryside of the South Downs National Park. The school is tucked away between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, within the secure and secluded Cathedral Close. Moments from our front door is the heart of the historic city of Winchester, or step through our back gate to find water meadows, countryside, and the South Downs Way.