Our Lady's Abingdon - Admissions: Senior School

Admissions: Senior School

Process change from September 2022

For 2021 and 2022 entry we waived our formal entrance examination in response to the impact of Covid-19 on pupils’ learning and pastoral needs. We have used this opportunity to re-evaluate our admissions approach. We have developed an assessment process that is kinder to your child whilst yielding in-depth information for our admissions decisions. Our new admissions process comes into effect on 01 September 2022 and applies to all applications from this date.

Our new process uses a test designed to identify each child’s potential and aptitude for learning, not simply their current performance. This gives us a deeper understanding of each individual child; whilst also minimising the impact of lost learning due to Covid-19. Our move away from formal written assessments in large examination halls provides a kinder and less daunting experience for your child. Candidates will take a computer-based test of approximately 1-hour duration, followed by an admissions meeting with our Head or one of our senior teachers. The test includes multiple-choice questions assessing verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and numeracy. Results are calibrated against national norms to yield fair and objective outcomes.

We are confident that our new admissions approach will provide all children with a fair and sympathetic path to entry at OLA. We welcome applications from pupils of all faiths and none who have the potential to make the most of the many educational opportunities on offer at OLA. Our entry process is designed to identify applicants who will thrive from the broad, balanced education that the school provides.

Intake Periods

The main intake of boys and girls into our Senior School is at age 11 (Year 7) and age 13 (Year 9).  However, pupils may be accepted into any Year Group where there is availability.

Admission partway through GCSE and A-level courses is only possible in very exceptional circumstances.

Senior School Selection Criteria

Pupils are selected for entry on the basis of their performance in our computer-based admissions test; an admissions interview with a member of our Leadership Team; and the Report and Reference received from their previous school.

The assessments for 11+ entry are held in November for admission the following September, but supplementary assessments are held as needed for late applicants and for places in other year groups if there is availability. If it is not possible to offer a place immediately, a pupil’s name may be placed on a waiting list. You can read our full Senior School Admissions Policy by clicking the button below.

OLA recognises the range of previous educational experiences of its applicants and takes this into account when offering places. We also recognise the wish of many families for siblings to be educated together. OLA will therefore always offer places to younger brothers and sisters as long as it is able to provide for their needs. A siblings fee reduction scheme is available. You can find out more in the Fees, Sibling Reduction Scheme and Funding Options section on this page.

Senior School Admissions Process

We encourage parents to visit our school before registering their children for admission, this provides an opportunity to tour our school and to meet our Head. Parents are welcome to join us at one of our regular Open Mornings, or to make an individual appointment through our Admissions Office. Contact: admissions@ola.org.uk or telephone 01235 544808.

Following the school visit, parents may register their child for admission by completing our Registration Form, and paying the Registration Fee of £100. Details of how to make payment can be found on the registration form. The forms for completion are available for download below.

We ask parents to also provide a recent school report and (if relevant) SEN information for a Learning Support evaluation. Where possible predicted GCSE grades should be provided.  We contact the child’s current school to obtain a reference.

Your completed registration form and supporting documents should be emailed to admissions@ola.org.uk or posted to Admissions, Our Lady’s Abingdon School, Radley Road, Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire OX14 3PS.

International Candidates: International pupils, and British pupils joining us from overseas education, will undergo a modified assessment process.  This allows us to assess pupils’ English language skills and learning levels, and to plan tailored support for each pupil.

Offers and accepting a place

Pupils who fulfil all entry requirements will be offered a place. Parents are sent the offer pack to complete and should return all forms as quickly as possible to Admissions and pay the deposit of £500. We then confirm enrolment and provide a start date.


Pupils entering Year 7 or Year 9 can apply for a range of scholarships offered through the McAuley Scholarship Programme. Scholarships in Academic, Art, Drama, Music and Sport are available to Year 7 and Year 9 candidates.

Scholarship candidates must complete the relevant application forms and attend the scholarship examinations, interviews and auditions, in November preceding the year of entry. You can find out more about OLA Scholarships on the link below.

Fees, Sibling Reduction Scheme and Funding Options

We recognise the wish of many families for siblings to be educated together. OLA will therefore always offer places to younger brothers and sisters as long as it is able to provide for their needs. A siblings fee reduction scheme and bursaries are available. Click the buttons below to find out more.