Common Entrance

Danes Hill chooses to prepare children for Common Entrance (CE) through Years 7 and 8 because we believe it is a reliably solid programme of study which not only stimulates and challenges the children but also because it has proven to be the perfect platform for GCSE later on.

Currently over 200 of the top senior schools in the country use it to assess entrants. At Danes Hill we value the breadth of the curriculum, the equal emphasis it places on a wide range of subjects and the blend of the traditional and the modern that it offers.

CE may have been around since 1904, but regular syllabus updates mean that it has consistently tracked changes in GCSE courses in order to ensure that our pupils make a seamless transition into the next stage of their learning. Pupils build up a body of important knowledge in the assessed subjects, but also develop skills that are meaningful outside of any future formal assessments: critical thinking and presentation skills, fluency with language and appreciation of literature to name just a few. 

At Danes Hill pupils sit exams in maths, English, science, geography, history, RS (from 2019 renamed theology, philosophy and religion), and one or possibly two foreign languages. Our experience shows that this is an achievable expectation, with 94% of pupils gaining A*- C grades in 2019, and all pupils securing their place at senior school (as they have for many, many years).

Whilst in some senior schools Years 7 and 8 can lack focus and direction as a result of attention being concentrated on older year groups preparing for GCSEs and A Levels, at Danes Hill our pupils’ academic standards are driven by a purposeful goal and an enriching curriculum. The valuable lessons they learn from sitting a set of exams prior to GCSEs, and the sense of achievement they feel on results day, teach them that their efforts are entirely worthwhile.

As important as those examined subjects are, they make up only two thirds of a pupil’s timetabled lessons, leaving an important third to nurture their creative, sporting and personal development. A child’s week is an enviable and varied mix of exciting activities in a range of environments – art rooms, sports fields, music rooms – that means the final two years do not become a treadmill towards a set of exams, but a stimulating, challenging and motivating time in which they are able to progress in all aspects of the curriculum.

At Danes Hill we have found that our boys and girls enjoy and indeed thrive on challenge. We have seen countless children over the years embracing this challenge and reaping the rewards of a full and exciting CE programme. 

Common Entrance
Julian Thomas, Master, Wellington College

"It is clear to everyone at Wellington College that the boys and girls
who have joined us from Danes Hill in recent years have absolutely loved their time at prep school,
so it seems a no-brainer for parents to keep their children in prep school for Years 7 & 8"