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Frequently Asked Questions about Admission to Beechwood…

We know that the school admissions process can be daunting, and want to make it as straightforward as possible for prospective families.  Our Registrar, therefore, compiled this list of admissions FAQs parents have asked her about admission to Beechwood

Of course, if you have any other questions about your child’s entry into Beechwood that we have not covered here, we will be happy to answer them – please just ask!

How many pupils are there at Beechwood?

Currently, there are 530 pupils in the School, including Woodlands Nursery.  This number increases through the year as pupils join Nursery in January and April as well as in September.

When can my child join Beechwood?

We accept children from rising 3 into Woodlands Nursery through to age 11+ for children joining Year 7, and into any year groups in between where there are spaces.  Whilst most children join either Nursery or Reception, we do occasionally have spaces in other year groups due to relocations.  Our Registrar will be able to advise on specific place availability at any given time.  Most pupils join in September, but if you are looking for a place at a different time of year, we are happy to work with families to ensure a smooth introduction to the School.

How do I express an interest in joining the School?

The first thing to do is come and visit us! Once you have been and met with the Head and any other members of staff, we would encourage you to submit a Registration Form – you can do this at any point ahead of your child’s entry and we would encourage early applications given the School’s popularity. Depending on the outcome of  your child’s assessment, an offer of a place may be made.

How many places are available each year?

We have space for around 60 children in Reception each year; a proportion of these are usually taken up by our Woodlands Nursery pupils.

How selective are you?

We need to be sure that your child will be able to access our curriculum and enjoy their learning at Beechwood, so there is an element of “selection”. That said, as the children we are assessing are very young, it is more a question of how they interact. We need to ensure that developmental milestones have been reached rather than awarding places to children who have been “prepped” for success.

For pupils entering the Middle and Senior Departments, current academic ability will be assessed.  Please contact Mrs Graham for more information.

How are places allocated?

Depending on successful performance in entrance assessments, priority is given to siblings of current pupils first. Places in Woodlands Nursery are allocated on a “first come first served basis”.

Is there a closing date for applications?

For entry in September, we would encourage you to submit your application as early as possible in the year preceding entry to the School.

Do you have a waiting list?

Most year groups do operate with a waiting list; if you are interested in a place at the School, we would encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible so that we can add your child’s name to our list and advise if a place becomes available.

Can you support children with additional learning needs?

Yes. The School has a dedicated Learning Support Department which offers bespoke support to children with a number of additional needs such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and others. We are happy to arrange a meeting with our Learning Support Team to discuss your child’s specific learning needs.

Are there any “hidden extras” in the fees?

Published school fees include all tuition costs, school meals during the school day, school trips made within the school term and most clubs.  Not included are peripatetic music lessons and after school care.

Do you offer scholarships or bursaries?

Means-tested bursaries are available from Year 3 upwards.  For more information, please contact the Bursar.

What wraparound care options do you offer?

After School Care is available for pupils in Woodlands and the Junior Department whose parents are unable to collect them at the end of the normal school day. It is available from 3.15-4.45 or 5.30pm every day, and parents need to to book in advance.

Where do children move on to after Beechwood?

We are proud to be a truly “independent” prep school in that we are not a direct feeder for any particular senior school. Naturally lots of our children move on to local schools like St Albans, St Albans High, Haileybury, Berkhamsted, Queenswood and Bedford, but we also prepare children for entry to day and boarding schools anywhere in the UK .  In 2021, pupils took up places and scholarships at schools such as Merchant Taylors, Oundle, Uppingham, Bradfield, Harrow, King Edward’s Bath, Truro School and a number of excellent local state and grammar schools, including St George’s Harpenden.  In recent years pupils have progressed to Eton, Wycombe Abbey, Millfield, and Haberdashers Boys and Girls.

Where do Beechwood pupils typically come from?

Most of our pupils live within about 20-30 minutes of Beechwood Park, in towns and villages like Markyate and Flamstead, Harpenden, St Albans, Berkhamsted, Dunstable, Little Gaddesden, Studham, Potten End etc. but increasingly we are receiving enquiries from parents further afield who would like to take advantage of our Monday – Thursday boarding option.

What is the ratio between boys and girls?

This does vary by year group, but the mix within the school is currently around 60:40 boys:girls. We usually have more boys than girls in Year 7 and Top Form as more girls than boys leave at 11+, with the vast majority of boys staying on til 13+.

How many pupils are there in each class?

In Reception, our classes do not exceed 16 pupils, to enable the very best start to “big school”. As the children move through the School, class sizes go up to around 20-22. In the Senior Department these may then reduce again as children are streamed.

What is a typical Beechwood pupil like?

This is a simple question to answer – there is no such thing as a “typical” Beechwood pupil! We welcome children with many different talents and interests, and help every child to discover their strengths, supporting them to excel and build a growth mindset to prepare them for whatever the future holds for them.  What all Beechwood pupils have in in common is a love of learning and a love of life.

How do you keep me informed about my child’s progress?

Pupils themselves receive reports twice a year and we publish live attainment and engagement data via our Parent Portal