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Year 9 (13+) Scholarships

Year 9 (13+) Scholarships

The number and value of the awards made each year depends on the quality of the candidates. They are available to all applicants, including current pupils at The Leys who are within the age range. In the case of external candidates the Headmaster/Headmistress of their present school should be informed of your intention, as his/her signature is needed for the Scholarship Forms and they may be able to offer advice. All external candidates for entry to The Leys are required to undertake the standard academic tests in the January of the year of entry.

Further information can be found below.

How to apply

For Year 9 candidates the deadline for completing your application for 2024 entry has now passed.

Year 9 (13+) Scholarships - Further Information

External Candidates

External candidates need to inform the Head of their present school of their intention to apply, as they may be able to offer advice. All external candidates for entry to The Leys are required to undertake the standard academic entrance tests. For those who do not already hold an offer of a place, these are held at The Leys in January.

The Value of Awards

The value of awards is expressed as a percentage of the fees payable. A pupil who is awarded a scholarship may, in exceptional circumstances, gain a fee concession of up to 100% of the fees payable. A maximum of 5% of this can be in the form of a non-means-tested scholarship. Any concession above this would be in the form of a Supplementary (means tested) Bursary. The number and value of the awards is dependent upon the calibre of the candidates, and their continuation is subject to the pupil maintaining satisfactory standards. Reviews will be held in Years 8, 9 and 11 to ensure this is the case. Music and Drama candidates may also be offered free private tuition.

Successful external candidates will normally be required to enter The Leys in the Autumn Term following the Scholarship examinations. The Headmaster’s decision on any disputed point relating to or arising out of the examination, or award of Scholarships is final.


The following pages set out the requirements for each award. Every candidate must fill in the general application form and then complete the relevant form for each of the scholarships for which they wish to be considered. (We recommend a maximum of two).

Academic Awards

Those wishing to be considered for an academic award will take FOUR papers. All candidates will take papers in English, Mathematics and Science. Candidates will also take ONE elective paper selected from French, German, Spanish, History, Geography, Divinity, Latin or Greek. The requirements for each paper are set out below.


The paper will require candidates to respond to one or more literary pieces either analytically or creatively.


Candidates will be required to complete one 60 minute calculator paper. Candidates should bring a calculator, pen, pencil, rubber, ruler, protractor, set square and compasses. The latter questions on this paper will be more demanding and of an investigational style. The syllabus content will be based upon the National Curriculum, levels 3 – 6.


The paper encompasses work most likely to have been covered in schools in Years 7 and 8 (as guidance the following website has the 13+ Common Entrance Syllabus It may also contain some ‘open-ended’ questions asking for suggestions and ideas based on scientific knowledge, ideas or evidence. A calculator will be required.

French, German and Spanish

Written paper will contain two sections: a reading comprehension, with questions in English and the relevant language on a text in the relevant language (of current interest); a writing paper


Questions may be set on the following topics from KS3 of the National Curriculum: OS map work, weather and climate, landforms (coasts and rivers), settlements (sites, hierarchies, urban land use). In addition there may be questions on tectonic processes, economic activities and environmental issues.


Candidates will be required to answer questions on sources that they need no particular prior knowledge to understand. The sources will be focused on a period of 20th Century History and will test the following source work skills: comprehension, similarity and difference, utility/ reliability, sufficiency of evidence and conclusions to be drawn about the past


The paper covers themes that are broadly similar to the Common Entrance Syllabus. There will be a substantial Biblical element, some World Religions, and a requirement to reflect on moral issues. An awareness of world issues will be expected. Reading a broadsheet newspaper regularly is recommended.


The Paper is in three sections. All candidates are asked to attempt Part A which is a comprehension passage. The passage is in Latin and the questions and answers in English. Candidates may then choose between Section B or Section C. Candidates are asked to translate an unseen text. The level required for this paper is equivalent to Level 2/3 Common Entrance.


The questions will be graded, the hardest being at the standard of Wilding: Greek for Beginners, Chapter 14.

Art Scholarships

Candidates will be asked to sit a drawing test involving an observational study. This will take place in the main studio of the Art Department and will last between two and three hours. Candidates will be provided with materials.

Candidates will be expected to submit a portfolio and/or sketchbook of recent material reflecting the full range of their work (this should mainly be work produced in the last year). Examples or photographs of any three-dimensional work should also be included and they are very welcome to bring any other work they feel is relevant.

Candidates will also have a short interview with the Art Department staff. They will be encouraged to discuss either an Art exhibition recently visited or some piece of an artist’s work they particularly like.

Drama Scholarships

All candidates will be interviewed and will be asked to demonstrate excellence in either (a) Dramatic performance OR (b) Technical skills. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate a strong appreciation of theatre, an understanding of production issues and knowledge of theatre outside the school context.

In addition to the reference from their current Drama Teacher candidates may provide the name of a person(s) from outside of school who is able to provide a supporting statement. This supporting statement should be sent to the School before the end of the Autumn Term. Please note that it is the Parents’/Guardians’ responsibility to ensure that these references are submitted. Drama Exhibitions may be awarded to those who show potential but do not quite reach Scholarship level. Free LAMDA lessons will be offered to those awarded a Drama Exhibition.

(a) Dramatic Performance

  • Candidates will be asked to perform a solo piece of their choosing, which may be one with which they are already familiar.
  • The piece to be performed may be from a published text or from a piece that the candidate has devised himself/herself.
  • The solo piece should last no longer than three minutes and should be performed without costume.
  • Candidates may also be expected to be assessed in a group setting where improvisation skills will be observed.
  • Candidates offering a dramatic performance will be asked about the performance they have given, previous performances (where appropriate) and their ambitions in this area. The adjudicating panel would also be pleased to learn of any skills and experience in musical theatre and dance.

(b) Technical Work

Candidates will be asked to provide evidence of work they have completed for a production in any area of technical theatre.

Such areas include:

  • Set design/construction/decoration
  • Costume design/construction
  • Make-up design
  • Stage lighting
  • Sound
  • Stage Management

Set, costume and make-up work will be primarily considered in theatrical rather than artistic terms. Evidence should include, in all cases, notes, diagrams, photographs/video (where appropriate). Candidates should have a proven commitment to working backstage in a theatre, be prepared to develop their skills, and be capable of working efficiently and well in a team. They should be prepared to make work in the Theatre at The Leys a major commitment.

Candidates offering technical work will be asked in detail about the material they have brought.

Music Scholarships

Candidates are normally expected to be at the level of ABRSM grade 5 or equivalent. Any instrument may be offered. The Paul Crosfield Choral Scholarship can be applied for in addition to a Music Scholarship (see Paul Crosfield Choral Scholarships below). Musical potential is important and will be considered. Music Exhibitions may be awarded to those who show potential but do not quite reach Scholarship level. Free music lessons will be offered to those awarded a Music Exhibition.

Auditions usually consist of a performance of two contrasting pieces on first instrument and one on subsequent instruments, sight-reading, aural tests and a short interview with the music team.

All Music Awards Holders are expected to contribute fully to the musical life of the school, taking part in ensembles, concerts and masterclasses. There are frequent opportunities for performance, either as a soloist or in the various choirs, orchestras, bands and chamber groups.

The Director of Music is very happy to meet candidates considering an application in advance of a formal audition to hear them play/sing, and to offer advice and encouragement.

Paul Crosfield Choral Scholarships

Candidates are expected to be singing at a high level (approximately ABRSM grade 5) and any cathedral chorister or choir experience will be taken into account. Paul Crosfield Choral Scholarships can be applied for in conjunction with a Music Scholarship or Music Exhibition and are available to outstanding singers across all voice parts. Free singing lessons will be offered to those awarded a Paul Crosfield Choral Scholarship in addition to an annual sheet music allowance to the value of £100.

Auditions usually consist of a performance of two contrasting pieces, sight-reading, aural tests and a short interview with the music team.

All Paul Crosfield Choral Scholars are expected to contribute fully to the musical life of the school and be an integral member of the Chapel Choir and Chamber Choir. They will have unique access to the benefits offered by the newly-created partnership between The Leys and Trinity College Choir, Cambridge, which will include the opportunity to attend rehearsals, services and concerts at Trinity in addition to receiving specialist choral training sessions.

Sports Scholarships

Candidates are expected to show a high level of proficiency and commitment in two or three major sports, chosen from Rugby, Hockey, Cricket, Netball and Tennis. As an alternative, candidates may choose one sport from those listed and specify another, which is not listed.

Candidates will be interviewed and participate in practical tests, which are designed to test their skills and fitness. They will also, where possible, participate in team games (reduced sides).

Candidates will be expected to provide a full CV of their sporting involvement and to provide the name of a person(s) from outside of school who is able to provide a supporting statement. This supporting statement should be sent to the School before the end of the Autumn Term. Please note that it is the Parents’/Guardians’ responsibility to ensure that these references are submitted. Certificates and additional information on sports achievements to support the application may also be submitted.

STEM Scholarship

Candidates will be asked to sit an academic paper, which allows them to demonstrate their STEM skills. For example, they will be asked about necessary considerations when designing and managing a project. They will also be tested on their technical skills in the areas of Mathematics and logical reasoning (coding). It is recommended that they reflect upon the STEM activities they have undertaken in preparation for this paper.

Candidates will have an opportunity to show their scientific reasoning skills in an interactive interview.

Neil White Scholarship (All rounder)

Candidates who enter for more than one category of scholarship will also automatically be considered for a Neil White Scholarship. These scholarships are awarded to pupils who are able to contribute at a very high standard in two or three different fields, and also show potential for leadership. In accordance with the original terms of this award, preference will be given to candidates who wish to board.

Scholarships FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What Scholarships do you offer?

We offer Academic, Art, Drama, Music and Sport Scholarships at both Year 9 and Sixth Form level. In addition, there is a STEM scholarship available for entry into Year 9.

How many Scholarships can a candidate apply for?

There is no formal restriction on the number, but we advise against any individual applying to more than two, except in exceptional circumstances and only following discussion. Tests for different scholarships are often on the same day and applying for multiple scholarships can place a heavy burden on the individual. Those who are successful in more than one category for entry into Year 9 will be considered for The Neil White Award; preference is given to those who wish to board.

Is there a minimum standard for application for a Scholarship?

All applicants must have already demonstrated excellence in their chosen field. Applicants for a Music Scholarship must have reached Grade 5, for example and those applying for a Sixth Form Academic Scholarship should have high GCSE predictions; 7 or higher in most of their subjects. Applicants for Sports Scholarships are expected to show a high level of proficiency (County standard or above) and, along with Drama Scholarship candidates, are required to have supporting references.

Are there any Scholarships for entry into Year 7?

Yes, we offer Academic Scholarships at this level. There is no application process; the most promising candidates are invited to interview following the entrance tests in January.

Why is there no technology Scholarship for Sixth Form?

We encourage outstanding, aspiring engineers to apply for an Arkwright Scholarship.

How much is a Scholarship worth?

All our Scholarships carry a 5% fee remission. The only exception to this is the Foundation Scholarship, available to those applying in Year 6 from St. Faith’s School (which is part of the same Foundation). However, all scholarships can be supplemented by a means-tested Bursary, up to 100% in exceptional circumstances.

If a candidate is awarded more than one Scholarship, is the fee remissions cumulative?

No. 5% is the value, no matter how many scholarships are held.

Do you offer Exhibitions?

Yes, we offer Music and Drama Exhibitions to those who fall just short of Scholarship standard. Music Exhibitioners will be offered free tuition on one or two instruments and Drama Exhibitioners will be offered free LAMDA lessons.

Do Scholars retain their Scholarship thoughout their time at the School?

Yes, subject to satisfactory performance. There is normally no need to reapply for a scholarship for entry into Year 9/Sixth Form. However, scholarships are subject to regular review.

How do we apply for a Scholarships?

Forms are made available on the website during the summer before the year of entry. The Admissions Office will be happy to answer any questions you may have. You will need to have the endorsement of your current school.

How do you select Scholars?

All candidates are invited to The Leys for a day of testing and interviews. Details of the process and deadlines for applications for each of these can be found on the website.

When do the Scholarship exams and assessments take place?

In early November for Sixth Form Scholarships, mid-January for Year 9 Scholarships. Details and exact dates can be found on the website or by contacting the Admissions Office.

When will we find out the results?

Parents are informed at the same time as receiving the offer letter, usually early December for Sixth Form and early February for Year 9 scholarships.

Do successful applicants still have to sit the entrance exams?

Yes. All scholarships are dependent on successfully meeting the academic criteria for entry to the school.

What are the expectations of Scholars?

All scholars are expected to take a full and active role in school life especially in the area for which they were awarded their scholarship. They should take a lead in demonstrating excellence and should set an example to others.

Do Scholars have to take A Levels or GCSEs in the subjects they are awarded Scholarships for?

Art Scholars must study Art GCSE and then A level. There is no obligation for other Scholarship holders to sit the GCSE or A level in the relevant academic subject. Music Scholars do not have to take Music GCSE or A level, for example.

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