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Entry to Canford

The main points for entry to Canford are at 13+ and 16+.  There is also the possibility of 14+ entry if space is available and if test results and the school report indicate that a pupil is able to embark successfully on a two-year GCSE/IGCSE programme.  The first step is to visit the school.   

You are welcome to contact the Admissions Office to arrange an appointment to meet the Headmaster and tour the school with a pupil on a visit which lasts approximately two hours. Alternatively you can visit us on an Open Day.  Our Open Days are held twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, and offer the chance to visit all the houses, meet pupils and staff and have lunch at the school.

Entry Outline

13+ Entry

16+ Entry


After visiting the school, the submission of a completed registration form and fee secures a place on our Admissions List, known as the 'Headmaster's List'.  It is advisable to register for Canford as early as possible. 


Around 30 pupils each year join Canford in the Sixth Form from a wide range of backgrounds, both educationally and geographically.  After visiting the school, the submission of a completed registration form is required by October for the following academic year. 


We will be in touch ahead of time to ask parents of registered children to confirm that they wish to sit the ISEB test.  Those that meet the required standard are invited to Canford for a pre-assessment day in Year 6 or Year 7.  This consists of a mixture of activities, tests and informal interviews (please see graphic below for possible pre-assessment entry options).


Applicants are invited to the school early in November for tests, interview and a tour of the school. Applicants from overseas may take these tests at their school. 


The number of places available by this route will vary from year to year but over recent years about 65% of those who attended Headmaster's List assessments were later offered conditional places.


Places are offered subject to candidates' achieving a minimum of 42 grade points on the best seven GCSEs including English and Maths (where alphabetical grades are still used then A* = 8, A = 7, B = 6, C = 5).  Normally we would expect at least a grade 7 (or an A grade) in each subject to be studied in the Lower Sixth and at least a 6 (or a B grade) in English and Maths.


The door is seldom closed, so if you are not offered a place immediately, it does not mean that one won't become available later on.  The Registrar is happy to advise you on the current position at any stage.


Late places sometimes become available.

13+ Pre-Assessment Options

* for 2020 entry, applicants need to have taken the iseb common pre-test by the following dates:

Option A: Thursday 16th November 2017

Option B: Saturday 16th June 2018

Option C: Friday 16th November 2018

Option D: Tuesday 30th April 2019


Option A: Thursday 15th November 2018

Option B: Saturday 15th June 2019

Option C: Friday 15th November 2019

Option D: Tuesday 28th April 2020


Overseas Entry

Canford welcomes applications from overseas families.  As a 7 day a week boarding school, we are well equipped to cater for the needs of pupils whose parents live abroad, with a full programme of evening and weekend activities offered.    Currently around 5% of pupils are British ex-patriates, and a similar number are foreign nationals.

Chinese Student Applications and Enquiries

All enquiries from students or agents relating to Chinese students should be addressed to the school's representative for China or telephone +86 (0)21 63306270 (Shanghai Office),+86 (0)10 85317356 (Beijing Office)

电话:+86 (0)21 63306270(上海办公室),+86 (0)10 85317356(北京办公室)


EAL policy in Traditional Chinese

EAL policy in Simplified Chinese

House Preference

While it is not essential to choose a House, parents are welcome to express one or two preference(s) at any stage, and we will follow these where space allows.  All the Houses are run along very similar lines, however.

Parents are invited to meet Housemasters and Housemistresses during the Year 7 and there are various social events organised to ensure that you and your child can become more familiar with the House before they start at Canford.

House Preference Form

Life as a Boarder

Life as a Day Pupil