7 January 2021

ISEB Update on Examinations and Assessments

Following the government announcement on 4 January and the current closure of all UK schools, we hope that the following information will be of help in planning for the term and year ahead.

The DfE has now provided the following notification.

‘Tests can continue to operate for in-year admissions to selective schools. Wherever possible such tests should be delivered remotely. If, for some reason this is not possible, admission authorities should follow the protective health measures set out within the guidance on assessment processes for selective school admissions and the actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak. Wherever possible the use of public transport should be avoided.’

11+ and 13+ Common Entrance examination arrangements for January 2021

ISEB has contacted all senior schools and prep schools involved in January Common Entrance examinations to share the DfE notification permitting schools to bring candidates into school to take admissions tests. We have alerted schools to the arrangements we have made to allow examinations to be taken at home, where relevant senior schools have indicated they wish to proceed in that way.

ISEB Common Pre-Tests

It is not possible for the Common Pre-Tests to be conducted in a home or informal setting while continuing to maintain the integrity of the tests. ISEB has reminded registrars that the Common Pre-Tests may only be taken in schools or invigilation centres and alerted them to the above DfE notification.


As far as the summer term is concerned, ISEB intends to make the 13+ Common Entrance examinations available, recognising that it is important to provide focus for the learning and teaching of pupils in Year 8.

We are very much aware that different countries and schools may still be working in restricted ways in May/June, and that schools/centres must always follow the most recent regulations and guidelines issued by their local government.

We will notify schools in due course of any examination adjustments to be made in the light of continued interruption to normal teaching.

We will also continue to keep schools informed about contingencies in the event of extended closure or any lockdown in the summer term.

Electronic sharing of past papers

To support schools and pupils while remote learning is in place, we are pleased to confirm that schools may share past papers electronically. Please see the message below, from Galore Park.

Galore Park are keen to support teachers and students in every way they can. Please feel free to share Common Entrance exam papers electronically with any of your students who are planning to sit the exams this academic year, provided you have purchased them in the usual way. Please share exam papers via a secure network. Parents and students must be informed they cannot share the papers more widely.’