What is an occasional place for admission in to a school?

A Guide to Occasional Places for Independent Schools

If you are looking for a place in an independent school for your child at a non-standard entry point (i.e. not 4+, 7+, 11+ or 16+), you might be interested in applying for an occasional place. These are places that become available when a pupil leaves the school before completing their education. However, these places are rare and competitive, so you need to be flexible and prepared for the school’s assessment process. Here is some information on how to apply for an occasional place and what to expect from the process.


How do you apply for an occasional place?

    • The first step is to register your interest with the school’s admissions department. You can do this by filling out a form on their website or contacting them directly. You may also need to provide a recent school report to support your registration.
    • If a place becomes available in the year group that your child wishes to join, the school will contact you with a date for an assessment. This can happen at short notice, so be ready.
    • The assessment will vary depending on the school and the age of your child. For junior school applicants, it usually consists of a maths and English test, with a possible additional reasoning test. For senior school applicants, it usually involves a maths and English test plus other subjects such as science, modern languages or reasoning.
    • If your child passes the tests successfully, they will be invited for an interview. This is an important part of the selection process that evaluates their personality and potential. The interview can be either individual or group-based and will test their curiosity, their co-curricular interests, their teachability, their interpersonal skills and their behaviour.


What are the assessment criteria?

The school will look at various factors when deciding whether to offer your child an occasional place. These include:

  • Their academic performance in the tests
  • Their personal qualities in the interview
  • Their suitability for the school’s ethos and values
  • Their ability to adapt to a new environment
  • Their potential contribution to the school community

The school will usually contact you quite quickly after the assessments whether your child was successful. For unsuccessful applicants, some school may keep your child’s name on the waiting list in case further places become available.


Which schools offer occasional places?

Below you will find a short list of schools offering occasional places to students.

Junior schools

  • Highgate School
  • City Junior School
  • Ibstock Place
  • Harrodian
  • Haberdashers Girls

Senior schools

  • City of London Girls School
  • Highgate School
  • Ibstock Place
  • Queen’s College
  • St Dunstan’s
  • Wetherby Senior School
  • Latymer Upper School
  • Haberdashers Girls
  • Harrodian

There are plenty more schools who offer occasional places, so please contact the schools and ask for further detail.


If you have any queries or need assistance with tutoring your child for an occasional place, feel free to contact us 0203 488 1278 or info@11pluslondon.co.uk