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Admissions FAQs

The following replies to FAQs are given for general guidance only and refer to Secondary Transfer and In Year Admissions. If you have any further queries or suggestions to add to this list, which may be of help to other parents, please contact the Admissions Office – thank you.

For Sixth Form Admissions, see Sixth Form.

Please find below a comprehensive list of Admissions and Exam FAQs


Admissions FAQs

What opportunities are there to visit the school?

If you have more than 200 applications how do you allocate places?

Can I apply under more than one criteria?

If I rank Dame Alice Owen’s as my second or third preference on the Secondary Authority Application Form does that lessen my chances of getting into the school?

Are there ‘feeder’ schools whose pupils take priority?

Are any places allocated according to proximity to the school?

How is the geographical/distance criterion measured and who measures the distance?

Do you carry out address checks on those qualifying under “closest to school” criteria?

We have lived in the same house for many years -do you still require proof of address?

We live very close to the school but have only lived there for two months when we apply for a place. Will I qualify under the “closest to school” criteria?

What is the situation regarding the school’s sibling criteria – has it changed?

What is the situation if my eldest child is a current pupil but will have left the school by the time my younger child would be due to start?

I have triplets/twins. If one is offered a place but not the other, does the sibling policy come into effect?

My child has an Educational Health Care Plan and I would like him/her to come to Owen’s. What do I need to do?

My child is at another secondary school. We are moving into the area and we would like him/her to come to Owen’s. What do we need to do?

My child has not been offered a place and we wish to appeal, what do we do?

My child is not sitting the entrance tests but we wish to apply for a locality/sibling place at the School – what do we need to do?

If I don’t live within the Local Priority Areas can I still apply to the school?

Entrance Exam FAQs

Where do I get information about your secondary transfer application process including the school’s Test Registration Form (TRF)?

When and how can I register for the tests?

Where can I find out more about the tests content?

What is the Local Priority Area and do I live within it?

Can our child take the entrance and/or music exams even though we don’t live in the Local Priority Areas?

So if I don’t live within the Local Priority Areas which means my child can’t be considered for a music/test place can I still apply to the school?

What if I enter my child’s details incorrectly on the Test Registration Form?

I want my child to sit the Musical Aptitude test but NOT the academic test – is that allowed?

Can I stay with my child during the tests?

How can I get hold of familiarisation papers?

When will I receive details about the Entrance Exams and/or Musical Aptitude Tests?

What if the test date clashes with another school?

What happens if my child is unable to attend the Academic and/or Musical Aptitude Tests?

What should I do if my child is ill on the day of the Academic and/or Musical Aptitude Tests?

I would like my child to be considered for Special Arrangements during the Entrance Exam, how do I go about this?

Can siblings take the Entrance Exam and/or Musical Aptitude Test?

What mark does my child need to achieve?

How will I find out my child’s test results?

Once the marks have been received can I see, or have a copy of my child’s test paper?

Can you give my information about how to complete the verbal reasoning answer sheets and also how they are marked?

How are the English and Maths papers marked?

Once the marks have been received can I request a review of marking?

Once the Music rest results have been received can I request a review of marking?

Are the scores age-standardised?

Once my child has taken the test/s do I need to complete further forms?

I understand that 20 places are allocated to Islington children. How are these places allocated?


Admissions FAQs

What opportunities are there to visit the school?

Our Annual Open Afternoon takes place in July and is usually during the last week of the academic year.  This is the best opportunity to see the school and talk to teachers.

We also have tours during a normal school morning which usually take place over three mornings in October.

Please note we are unable to arrange individual visits to the school for families outside of the opportunities mentioned above, as this would disrupt the teaching and learning of our current students which must always take priority.

See our Key Dates for details.

If you have more than 200 applications how do you allocate places?

We use our oversubscription criteria to allocate places if we have more than 200 applications. The criteria are available to view in our Admissions Arrangements.

Can I apply under more than one criteria?

Applicants are welcome to apply under one or more of our listed criteria. Many children sit both the music and the academic tests.  Each criteria is mutually exclusive – for example, if your child applies for two or more categories, and is not successful under one of them, then they would still be considered under the others. The exception to this is siblings who are not eligible to sit our Entrance and music tests as the sibling criterion comes before the academic and music criteria so will always be allocated first (for a full description of sibling please refer to our Admissions Arrangements).  All applicants are considered under distance from the school.

If I rank Dame Alice Owen’s as my second or third preference on my application form does that lessen my child’s chances of getting into the school?

The ranking that you put on your application form is not passed on to any individual school. We allocate places solely on our admission criteria. However, be aware that you will only receive one offer via your Local Authority and preferences ranked lower than the school offered will automatically be withdrawn. It is therefore very important that you rank schools according to your true preference.

Are there ‘feeder’ schools whose pupils take priority?

We do not have ‘feeder’ schools.

Are any places allocated according to proximity to the school?

Under Oversubscription Criterion 2, 22 places are allocated to applicants living nearest the school and under Oversubscription Criterion 7 we also admit on proximity to the school.

A map showing the allocation of places under criteria two and seven over the past 3 years is available to view at the school and within the Application Info section of the school’s website. Please also see the Student Audit Reports in the same section.

How is the geographical/distance criterion measured and who measures the distance?

Distances of all applicants are provided to us by Herts County Council and are measured using a computerised mapping system (to two decimal places), along a straight line from the AddressBase Premium address point of the child’s home to the address point of the School.  AddressBase Premium data is a nationally recognised method of identifying the location of schools and individual residences. Please refer to www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/admissions for more detailed information.

Do you carry out address checks on those qualifying under “closest to school” criteria?

The Governors take their duty to ensure that our admission rules are applied fairly, very seriously and that these comply with DfE (Department for Education) School Admissions Code. All applications are rigorously checked to ensure they relate to the permanent address of the prospective student.

These checks include verification by the Local Authority and the current primary school. Furthermore the parent/carer of each student is required to provide additional documentation to confirm the address submitted is the permanent address. The Governors will withdraw places or offers of places if fraudulent, incorrect or misleading information is given. The school’s Guidance for Verification of Permanent Addresses can be found in the Admissions Arrangements section on this website.

IF YOU HAVE PROOF OF FRAUDULENT, MISLEADING OR INCORRECT INFORMATION HAVING BEEN GIVEN TO THE SCHOOL PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO US TO ALLOW THE SCHOOL TO INVESTIGATE.

We have lived in the same house for many years – do you still require proof of address?

Other than children applying under Oversubscription Criteria 1 (Looked After Children) and 3 (Sibling), parents will be required to provide proof that the home address submitted is the permanent residence of the child. You are NOT required to send this with your application. It will be requested at a later date. Acceptable evidence may include an original child benefit letter, the most recent council tax statement and an original utility bill. Further information may also be requested if this is reasonably considered necessary.

We live very close to the school but will only have only lived there for two months when we apply for a place. Will I qualify under the “closest to school” criteria?

Allocation of places under criteria 2 and 7 (closest to the school) is based on the child’s permanent address at the time of application (31st October).  The Governors may refuse to allocate a place where they consider that the permanent home address as stated on the application form is a temporary address. If the child has changed address within 36 months before the date of application but the previous address has been retained, the new address will be treated as a temporary address only (even if the previous address is rented to a third party). The school’s Guidance for Verification of Permanent Addresses which provides more information on locality applications can be found in the Admissions Arrangements section on this website.

What is the situation regarding the school’s sibling criteria – has it changed?

The Governors and Headteacher remain totally committed to maintaining the sibling criterion for admissions. Our current sibling criterion is as follows:-
Children who have a sibling attending the school at the time of application, excluding siblings who first entered the school in the Sixth Form (Y12 and Y13).  Siblings are no longer eligible to sit our Entrance tests as they will always be allocated places before the academic and music test criteria (please refer to our Admissions Arrangements for a definition of sibling)

What is the situation if my eldest child is a current pupil but will have left the school by the time my younger child would be due to start?

Our sibling criterion includes siblings of students that are in Year 13 at the time of application but does not extend beyond this to past siblings. The sibling criterion does not apply to the siblings of students that join the School in the Sixth Form.

I have triplets/twins. If one is offered a place but not the other, does the sibling policy come into effect?

Our sibling policy applies to multiple birth applicants provided one is offered a place under one of our listed criteria. The other multiple birth sibling/s will then be offered a place under our sibling criterion.

My child has an Educational Health Care Plan and I would like him/her to come to Owen’s. What do I need to do?

Parents of children with EHCPs are invited to meet with the Headteacher to discuss their child’s individual needs.  In the first instance please email the Head of Learning Support.  More information can be found on the EHCP Applications section.

My child is at another secondary school. We are moving into the area and we would like him/her to come to Owen’s. How do we apply for an In Year Admission?

We are currently oversubscribed in all year groups so are unable to offer any places. We very rarely have any such vacancies as the number in a year would need to fall below the published admission number of 200 before we could offer a place. The numbers in all year groups remain above this figure and as student’s very rarely leave the school it is unlikely we will be able to offer a place to any child.

In Year Applications to the school are made via Hertfordshire County Council’s In Year Department who manage this process on behalf of the school.

Please refer to our In Year Applications information for more details on this process.

My child has not been offered a place and we wish to appeal, what do we do?

Hertfordshire County Council organise our appeals for us.  Information on the appeals process and relevant dates can be viewed on our Overview page under Appeals.

My child is not sitting the entrance tests but we wish to apply for a locality/sibling place at the School – what do we need to do?

You MUST include our School as one of your preferences when you submit your application to your home local authority between 1st September and 31st October. There are no additional forms to complete for the school.

If I don’t live within the Local Priority Areas can I still apply to the school?

The Local Priority Areas are the areas you need to live in in order to sit our academic and music tests so yes you can still apply. Your application will be considered under any other applicable criteria (i.e. locality (criteria 2 and 7 which refers to distance from the school). However, as our application numbers are so high, based on historical allocation details, if applying under locality it is unlikely that your application would be successful. Please refer to our Admissions Arrangements for full details of our admissions criteria.


Entrance Exams FAQs

Where do I get information about your secondary transfer application process including the school’s Test Registration Form (TRF)?

Please refer to our Application Info page.

When and how can I register for the tests?

Online registration takes place in May/June via the Admissions section of the school website.  See our Application Info page and Key Dates for details.

Where can I find out more about the tests content?

See our Entrance Exam Information and Music Test Information pages for details.

What is the Local Priority Area and do I live within it?

The Local Priority Areas consist of various parishes and postcodes within Hertfordshire, Enfield, Barnet and Islington and also includes children that are educated in the London Borough of Islington. Large format maps indicating the Local Priority Areas are available to view at the school.

The allocation of places under over-subscription criteria 4 (Music) and 5 (Entrance Exam) is made only to children who have their permanent home address within one of the Local Priority Areas both at the date of test registration and at the date of application (31st October).

Can our child take the entrance and/or music exams even though we don’t live in the Local Priority Areas?

If your child’s permanent address is not within our Local Priority Areas he/she would not be eligible for consideration for a place under our music or academic criteria so would therefore not be eligible to sit our tests.

So if I don’t live within the Local Priority Areas which means my child can’t be considered for a music/test place can I still apply to the school?

Yes you can still apply via your home Local Authority.  Your application will be considered under any other applicable criteria (i.e. locality (criteria 2 and 7) which refers to home-school distance). However, as our application numbers are so high, based on historical allocation details, it is extremely unlikely an application from outside of our Local Priority Area would be successful under our locality criteria. Please refer to our Admissions Arrangements for full details of our admissions criteria.  There is also a map showing the furthest distance we have been able to allocate to under our distance criteria over the last three years on the Application Info page.

What if I enter my child’s details incorrectly on the Test Registration Form?

If you have made an error, please do not register for the second time. Instead, contact admissions@damealiceowens.herts.sch.uk with your amendment; please confirm your child’s name and date of birth, clearly indicating the changes you would like to make.

Incorrect details could be date of birth/spelling of name/inaccurate choice of tests.

It is very important that you give the full, correct name of your child and that you check spellings carefully. It is important that you use the same name on all correspondence. If a different version of your child’s name is used, this could lead to difficulty or delay in processing your test registration form and/or secondary transfer application.

I want my child to sit the Musical Aptitude test but NOT the academic test – is that allowed?

Yes.  Children can register for  just the Musical Aptitude test, just the academic tests or can register for both.  The academic and music criteria are completely independent of each other ie the results of the academic tests have no influence on the music test ranking and vice versa.

Can I stay with my child during the tests?

No parent/carers are allowed to stay with their children during the tests.  They may be dropped off at the entrance at the designated time and should be collected at the designated time after the tests have been completed.  There is no space/parking for parents/carers to wait whilst the tests are ongoing.

How can I get hold of familiarisation papers?

Information is available on our Familiarisation Papers page.  We encourage all families to look at these to familiarise themselves with the format of the tests – there are free downloads for verbal reasoning, English and Maths. Additional English and Maths papers are available to purchase.

When will I receive details about the Entrance Exams and/or Musical Aptitude Tests?

See our Key Dates for details.

What if the test date clashes with another school?

Our test calendar is planned with as much consideration for other local school tests and religious festivals as possible.  Although with so many schools trying to arrange tests within the same small time period clashes are sometimes inevitable.  You should contact the other school in the case of a clash to see if the session can be swapped i.e. morning to afternoon, or afternoon to morning so that your child can attend both tests.  It is not possible to offer alternative dates for such clashes.

What happens if my child is unable to attend the Academic and/or Musical Aptitude Tests?

Children that are medically unfit on the test day (a medical certificate will be required) or have religious reasons for being unable to attend will be offered one further date to attend.

PLEASE NOTE – WE ARE UNABLE TO ACCOMMODATE CHILDREN WHOSE HOLIDAY COMMITMENTS CLASH WITH OUR TESTS OR FOR ANY OTHER REASONS THAN THOSE STATED ABOVE

What should I do if my child is ill on the day of the Academic and/or Musical Aptitude Tests?

You must notify the Admissions Office at the School as soon as possible (within 12 hours of the tests taking place) – written/email confirmation will also be required.  On receipt of official confirmation (ie a medical certificate) one further date may be offered.  A child may only take the Entrance Tests for admission to Year 7 once.

I would like my child to be considered for Special Arrangements during the Entrance Exam, how do I go about this?

There is information on this under the Access Arrangements section of the school’s website.

Can siblings take the Entrance Exam and/or Musical Aptitude Test?

Siblings (as defined in our Admissions Arrangements)  are not eligible to take these tests. Siblings will always be allocated places before the academic and music places are allocated so there is no reason for them to partake in these tests As the overall numbers of children taking the tests is  increasing year on year not having siblings sitting will go  a little way to relieving the financial and capacity pressure on the school during these very busy test days.

All new starters sit CATs (Cognitive Ability Tests) in June (Year 6), which provides us with sufficient objective data to help us ensure students are appropriately grouped for the start of Year 7.

What mark does my child need to achieve?

There is no pass mark for the academic test.  Once you have received your child’s ranking you will then be able to decide if you wish to apply.  Historical data will be provided giving the lowest scores which gained entry into the school over the last 3 years.  Although these historical scores are broadly comparable they should be treated with some caution as standards do vary from year to year.  Student Audit reports which contain historical information are also available on the Application Info page of the website.

How will I find out my child’s test results?

We hope to send results via email this year.  If not they will be sent via Royal Mail.  Please refer to Key Dates for more details.

Once the marks have been received can I see, or have a copy of my child’s test paper?

We are unable to allow access to, or provide copies of, any of the test papers.

Can you give my information about how to complete the verbal reasoning answer sheets and also how they are marked?

The answer sheets are marked by a computer. They are machine-marked (scanned) and the computer detects the shading made on the answer sheets using OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) technology.

To record an answer on the answer sheet in the test:

You will need to mark your answers on a separate answer sheet.  You will have to mark the correct answer for each question by drawing a line with your pencil through the small rectangular box beside it –see example below.  Some questions may require you to mark two correct answers so make sure you read the instructions carefully in each section of the test!

In the test itself, be sure to keep your place on the answer sheet.  You should always check that you are marking your answer in the box that has the same number as the test question you are on.  This is especially important if you decide to skip a question that you can’t answer and come back to it later.

In the test you can use the question booklet for rough working, but you should not write any working-out on the answer sheet.  If you need to change an answer, you should rub out the incorrect answer and mark the correct one instead.  Do not cross out your answers on the answer sheet as the computer will not be able to read them.

Example answer sheet:

 

 

 

 

 

Each answer needs sufficient shading (enough of a ‘mark’) for it to be recognised as such. The scanning process will also look at the size, sharpness, density and position of the ‘mark’ within the box

How can I be sure that my child’s answer sheets have been marked correctly?

Each child has a unique pupil ID and bar code which are clearly displayed on the answer sheet. This enables the answers to be linked to the particular child. Answer sheets are marked in batches as follows:

During the marking process

As the batch of answer sheets is being scanned, the scanner stops if there is an ‘issue’ with a particular answer sheet (answer not marked, multiple marks) and the operative will look at the answer sheet via a viewer and make a decision on the question concerned (correctly answered or not), seeking the support of a supervisor as necessary. Scanning then recommences.

What happens if more than the required number of answers (marks) are detected on the answer sheet during the scanning process?

The scanning software uses an ‘erasure discrimination’ process to determine whether two marks are different enough for one to be considered an ‘erasure’, or whether they are too similar and should be treated as a ‘multi-mark’.

In the instance above, what guidelines do the scanning team work to in order to determine which answer to mark?

Multi-marks are flagged by the scanning software and the scanning operator will view the answer suspected to be a multi mark on the screen, the scanning operator will then look at the answer sheet to determine whether a mark has been crossed out, erased or appears to be a genuine multi-mark. If required, the query is flagged for a supervisor to make a decision.

A record is kept where manual intervention has been required and also if the outcome is that a question has been multi-marked or not attempted.

What quality assurance processes are in place?

In addition to the information above, if it is not possible for an answer sheet to be scanned the scanning operator will transcribe the original answer sheet onto a new answer sheet, the responses are then checked by a different scanning operator and the transcribed answer sheet is then scanned. GL Assessment, the test provider, will keep the original answer sheet and the transcribed answer sheet together.

How are the English and Maths papers marked?

Each paper has a mark scheme which is strictly adhered to. The papers are marked within departments. Each section of the English paper is marked by the same English teachers working together to ensure complete consistency in the marking.   Samples of each tests marking are taken and re-marked to ensure accuracy.

Once the marks have been received can I request a review of marking?

A review of the marking may be possible. Requests should be emailed to the Admissions Department and parents should allow up to 10 school days for the review.

Once the Music rest results have been received can I request a review of marking?

A clerical review of the marking may be possible for Part 1. Requests should be emailed to the Admissions Department and parents should allow up to 10 school days for the review.  If you believe that your child has extenuating circumstances which may have affected the outcome of the Round 2 Music test and you go on to make an unsuccessful application, you will have a statutory right of appeal (as part of the secondary transfer process after March 1st).

Are the scores age-standardised?

Yes.  The raw scores of all tests are converted to an “age-standardised score” based on the child’s age in completed months. Standardisation balances the overall performance of the children from one year to the next and makes sure that all children are placed on equal footing and that no child is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged because of their age. For more information on age standardisation please visit:-
https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/media/286611/standardised-assessment-13-4.pdf

Once my child has taken the test/s do I need to complete further forms?

Yes – if you wish to apply for a place at the School, you MUST include our School as one of your preferences when you submit your application to your home Local Authority (31st October). There are no additional forms to complete for the School.

I understand that 20 places are allocated to Islington children. How are these places allocated?

A minimum of 20 Islington places are allocated in accordance with our oversubscription criteria in number order. Therefore the number of academic ability places that can be offered to Islington children will vary depending on the number of places being offered under other criteria i.e. –  Looked After Children, sibling, music or staff. The Governors maintain 2 exam result lists in rank order, one for Islington, and the second for all Local Priority Areas. This ensures that a minimum of 20 places overall are allocated to Islington children each year.