The first step is to get in touch and request a prospectus. You might then like to attend the next Open Day, or arrange for a personal meeting with the Head, Jo Thomson. Meeting new parents and pupils is one of the Head’s principal roles and she does it several times a day, most days of the week.
A first visit to Clayesmore usually involves meeting Mrs Thomson for half an hour or so and being shown around the school by two of our pupils. The length of a visit will vary but we generally advise parents to allow at least 1½ hours, although obviously your visit will take longer if you need to see both boys’ and girls’ areas and/or if you also need to see the Prep School. Again, this is everyday life for us and our Registrar, Margaret, will discuss your visit with you when you call her.
It is entirely up to parents whether they bring their children on their first visit, but if you decide to come on your own the first time, you can easily book a second visit so that the Head can meet your son or daughter. And you are more than welcome to come again after that, too.
Once you have decided that Clayesmore is the school for your child, there is an Application Form to fill in and return to us with an application fee of £100. Once this is done you will be on board as a member of the Clayesmore family!
How far in advance should you visit? At the present time, places in Year 9 seem to be more or less taken a year in advance of entry. That doesn’t mean that places don’t become free after that time, but it is a sensible rule of thumb for the application process to be completed whilst a child is in year 6 or year 7 at their current school. Some prep schools will urge you to visit very early: in Year 4, for example. This is fine but it is often very difficult for parents to visualise their little 8- or 9-year-old, who may have only just started at prep school, in the much more grown up world of a senior school. It’s all a matter of balance.
Five terms before your child is due to start with us, we will ask you to secure and confirm his or her place by paying a deposit, (which is returned against your final school bill). We would hope that, by this stage, the final choice of school has been made and that parents are sure about their wish to proceed.
The main entry point into the Senior School is at age 13 into Year 9, and then age 16 into Year 12, which is the first year of Sixth Form. There are also some admissions into Year 10.
A small number of Scholarships and Bursaries are offered each year.