Oundle is one of the largest co-ed boarding schools in the UK with just under 1,120 pupils, around 820 boarders and 310 day pupils, set in a Northamptonshire market town from which it takes its name. Oundle is a true all-round boarding school, with strong academic results, some of the best DT facilities in the country and fantastic sports and music. The school has three main entry points; at 11 plus,13 plus and 16 plus.
How to get into Oundle School
Entering Oundle in Year 7 (11 plus):
Over 50 pupils join Oundle at 11 plus.
Entering in Year 9 (13 plus):
Oundle accepts 220 pupils each year into Year 9.
11 Plus Entrance Process for Oundle School:
Oundle recommends registration one to two years prior to entry (Year 5 – 6). For those applying from outside of the UK, candidates are advised to provide the school with a UKiset report prior to registration. All overseas applicants follow the same entrance procedure and sit the same entrance papers as UK candidates. Those not taking the examination at Oundle School should arrange to sit them at a British Council Office.
Candidates sitting the 11 plus Entrance Examination take papers in Mathematics, English, Science and a Cognitive Ability Test in the January prior to entry (Year 6). Pupils sitting the papers at Oundle have an interview, with prospective boarders staying overnight. The strongest performing candidates are invited to sit the Academic Scholarship paper the following day. Music Scholarships are also awarded at this stage with selection made on the basis of an audition and interview. Offers are made, following assessments, in late January.
13 Plus Entrance Process for Oundle School:
Oundle recommends registration three to four years prior to entry (Year 5 – 6) and ideally before the start of Year 6. For those applying from outside of the UK, candidates are advised to provide the school with a UKiset report prior to registration.
Stage 1 Reference letter and school report - Oundle will request a reference letter from the Head of your child’s school and latest school reports during the Autumn term of Year 6. Oundle offers places based on the reports, they do not pre-test.
Stage 2 Offers are given out during the Spring term of Year 6 based on a satisfactory school report. There are two types of offers:
1. A firm offer - Oundle would expect your child to confirm their place with ease in the Year 8 Common Entrance or Oundle Entrance exams. For those at a UK School which does not offer Common Entrance, candidates will sit the Oundle Entrance. Their own entrance tests are sat in January of Year 8. They consist of an informal interview alongside a Cognitive Ability Test and papers in Mathematics, English, Science and normally a Modern Foreign Language. All overseas applicants will also sit the Oundle Entrance in January of Year 8, sitting the same entrance papers as UK candidates. Candidates not taking examinations at Oundle School are asked to sit them at a British Council Office.
2. An offer subject to continued progress and the sitting of their Practice Common Entrance papers early in the Autumn term of Year 8.
Entering Oundle in Year 12 (Sixth Form Entry):
Oundle has an intake of 58 boys and girls into Year 12.
Oundle 16 Plus Entrance Process:
Applications Forms should be submitted 18 months prior to entry (in Year 10). Overseas candidates should arrange to sit UKiset assessment tests, ensuring that results are sent to the school prior to registration.
The minimum entry requirement is three subjects at Grade 6 and three at Grade 7, or equivalent, at GCSE (including Mathematics and English). It is highly desirable to have a Grade 7, 8 or 9 in the subjects to be taken at Sixth Form and, in practice, most successful candidates will have an 8 or 9 or equivalent in most subjects.
In October of Year 11, once registered Oundle will contact candidates to request their expected GCSE grades, a CV and a short, handwritten passage outlining why they wish to come to Oundle. Candidates are shortlisted based on this information and, those that are successful, are invited to assessments in November.
Shortlisted candidates invited to an assessment weekend at Oundle in the November prior to joining the following September. The weekend allows candidates to immerse themselves in Oundle boarding life and includes an interview and papers in either three of their chosen subjects for Sixth Form study, or a general paper and two subject papers.
Offers are released in early December.
Scholarships for Oundle School
13 plus scholarships are awarded during the Autumn and Spring Terms of Year 8. Application deadlines range from October for Sport to January for all other disciplines.
Assessments take place at Oundle at the following times:
- November (Sport)
- January (Academic and Music)
- March (Art; Design, Engineering and Technology; Drama and the Oundle Scholarship).
Is there a 16 plus scholarship for Oundle School?
Academic, Art, Drama, Music, Sport and Design Engineering Technology Scholarships are available at 16 plus entry.
What questions does Oundle School ask at interview?
Like many school interviews the Oundle School interview seeks to explore the following about each student:
- Family (e.g. What do you like to do on the weekend as a family?)
- School (e.g. What do you most enjoy about your current school?)
- Academic Learning (e.g. What is your favourite subject and why?)
- Reading (e.g. Do you enjoy reading?)
- Extracurricular (e.g. What activities do you get involved in at school outside of the classroom?)
- Hobbies (e.g. What do you do in your spare time at outside of school?)
- Oundle School (e.g. Why would you like to come to Oundle School?)
Why is Oundle School so popular?
Oundle School is highly regarded for its academic achievement, sporting superiority and creative success and has a reputation for being ahead of the game and a fantastic all-round school. The school starts at 11 plus for both boys and girls which is attractive for some families who want an all-through boarding school. It has a strong boarding tradition and pupils all eat in-house which creates a warm and convivial atmosphere. The school has strong sporting provision and boasts state of the art sporting facilities with its newly opened sports centre complete with 50-metre pool. Oundle has a proud engineering heritage and is at the forefront of STEM provision.
Academic results and achievements are strong. In 2023 results were at (I)GCSE, 27% of all grades awarded were grade 9, 54% were graded 9 or 8, and 74% were graded 9-7. Across all entries, the most common grade was a grade 9. At A level, 26% of grades awarded were at A* or equivalent, with 63% A*A and 83% A*–B.
Pupils go onto popular Russell Group universities such as Edinburgh, Durham, Newcastle, Bristol, Exeter and Manchester among the most popular. 17 pupils took up places at Oxbridge in 2023 and increasing numbers get into top US universities.
Is Oundle School hard to get into?
Owing to its academic reputation and success Oundle attracts a lot of applications so parents are advised to plan ahead. Entrance at 11 plus and 13 plus are very competitive and there are few places available at 16+ entry.
Oundle School Famous Alumni
Conservationist and painter Sir Peter Scott, Richard Dawkins, rugby player Tom Curry.
Tutors for Oundle School Entrance
Keystone has over a decade of experience providing tuition to families who wish to send their children to some of the leading UK independent schools including Oundle School.
The tutors we work with are experienced in the intricacies of the 13 plus common entrance, the Oundle Year 8 entrance tests and 16 plus entrance to Oundle School.
For more details on how Keystone can help with preparation for entry to Oundle School, please call the office for a chat with one of our client managers, or contact us via our request a tutor form.