Admissions Procedures

Oaklands is a privately-owned independent preparatory school for children from 2½ to 11. These procedures apply to candidates applying to join the School at any point. Prospective parents are always welcome to contact the Admissions Registrar to check the availability of places and discuss their application in more detail.

The admissions procedures differ depending on the age of your child. However, the process usually begins with a visit to the School, either on one of our Open Mornings or on a pre-arranged personal tour.

We expect our pupils to stay with us until they complete their time with us at age 11 and would not normally accept children where it is known that they intend to leave at an earlier age.


Parents are invited to tour the School and meet with the Headmistress to discuss their child/ren.  In order to secure a place on our waiting list parents will need to complete the Online Registration Form which requires a non-refundable deposit payment of £50.

A place on the waiting list does not guarantee admission. The School must feel reasonably sure that it will be able to educate and develop the prospective pupil to the best of his/her potential and in line with the general standards achieved by the pupil’s peers.

Entry into the Early Years (Lower Kindergarten, Upper Kindergarten & Reception) – children aged 2½ (rising 3) to 5

At all points of entry in the Early Years, the School sets its own tests as appropriate through extensive informal observations that take place by one or more members of staff during an extended Taster Session.

We are looking to admit children who:

  • Are able to interact appropriately with children of a similar age and adults
  • Display a level of behaviour that meets the school’s high expectations
  • Are able to listen to directions and follow instructions
  • Are able to concentrate on set activities
  • Are able to use the toilet independently, and are dry at the point of entry
  • Are able to use language appropriate to their age.

Children must be 3 in the term in which they start school (rising 3) to join Lower Kindergarten.

Parents will normally be required to update their paperwork, including completing a Pupil Health Questionnaire, at least 6 months prior to their start date.

All places in the Lower Kindergarten, Upper Kindergarten and Reception are subject to availability and will be offered conditional upon successful attendance at a Taster Session that will be arranged at school. In all cases there will be a discussion with the parents by the Headmistress.

Children in Lower Kindergarten start with a minimum of 3 half-day sessions per week and children in Upper Kindergarten start with a minimum of 5 half-day sessions per week. They are encouraged to attend full time mornings and afternoons by the Summer Term before they start in Reception.

Entry into Years 1 to 5 – children aged 5 to 9

At all points of entry from Year 1 to Year 5, the School sets its own tests as appropriate through informal classroom observations and formal academic assessments. The School is looking for pupils who show potential as well as those who are academically able.

We will only admit a child who:

  • Has met the academic criteria
  • Shows the capacity to engage with the learning
  • Is able to interact productively with children of a similar age
  • Does not display a level of behaviour deemed to disrupt the education of the other pupils.

In all cases there will be a general interview to explore the candidate’s interests, attitude to school, personal qualities, ability to contribute to the school community, support available at home and any relevant connection with the School.

We do not normally accept children into Years 5 or 6 unless for very exceptional circumstances.

Additional Factors

The School is oversubscribed in many areas.  If we need to decide between two or more candidates who meet our admission requirements, after all appropriate allowances and special considerations have been given, we may give preference to:

  • A child who already has a sibling in the school or whose parent is a former pupil here
  • A child whose parent is a current member of our staff
  • A child with a particular skill, talent or aptitude
  • A child who will stay at the School until age 11.

We recognise that a candidate’s performance may be affected by particular circumstances, eg:

  • If he / she is unwell when taking tests or has had a lengthy absence from his / her school
  • If there are particular family circumstances such as a recent bereavement
  • If there is a relevant educational history, for example education outside the British system
  • If the applicant has a disability or specific learning difficulties
  • If English is not the candidate’s first language.

In any of these cases, we may request further information such as a medical certificate, educational psychologist’s report or any family history as we consider necessary to make a fair assessment.

The School will not normally accept children with challenging behaviour or who have been required to leave another nursery, school or college due to unacceptable levels of behaviour.

Character References

At all points of entry the candidate’s current school or nursery will be asked to provide a written reference as to the candidate’s academic ability, attitude and behaviour, involvement in the School Community, talents and interest, and any other special circumstances such as special educational needs, or a disability. The reference may also include the results of tests taken at the school.


Parents must as soon as possible disclose any particular known or suspected circumstances relating to their child’s health, allergies, disabilities or learning difficulties.

Essex County Council Early Years Development Plan

Oaklands School currently participates in Essex County Council’s Early Years Development Plan, under which all pupils in the term after they are three years of age until the term in which they are five are eligible to receive a reduction on fees, as authorised by the Essex County Council Grants Office, who refund the money to the School. The School administers the scheme on behalf of its families.

Find out more at our next Open Event, held in March and October. Click on the button below to register your interest.