Although the main intake is at the start of each academic year, applications can be considered at any time during the school year. Demand for places is high, and we therefore advise that you submit an application at the earliest date possible.

Applying to join St Leonards is a simple process:

UK families

Your first step is normally to contact the Admissions Team to arrange a visit to the school campus. On this visit you will meet with key members of staff and take a tour of the campus - including our boarding houses if you are visiting for admission in Year 6 and above - meeting teachers and students. This will give you the chance to ask any questions you may have about joining one of Scotland’s leading independent schools.

You would then complete an application for admission and pay the application fee of £100.  Registration does not guarantee a place within the school, as there is high demand in certain year groups and waiting lists may be in place. You will receive guidance on this from the Admissions Team at the time of registration.

You will also need to provide copies of the last two school reports or progress reports for your son and/or daughter, a short written personal statement detailing their interests, hobbies, and any specific areas in which they excel. Once we have this information, they will be invited to sit the school's entrance tests.

It is not possible to see past papers, but you are welcome to contact the Registrar if you have any concerns regarding the content of the tests.

A number of group testing sessions are held throughout the year, the first of these takes place in November. However, we appreciate that it can be difficult to attend these sessions and individual arrangements can easily be made. 

Once these have been marked you will be advised as to whether your son and/or daughter will be offered a place at St Leonards.

Entrance tests

The selection procedure for all applicants is based on ability and aptitude.

In Years 7, 8, 9, 10, Year 11/Pre-IB, 12 and 13, entry is through the Cognitive Abilities Test Fourth Edition (CAT4). This is a suite of tests developed to support schools in understanding a student’s abilities and likely academic potential. CAT4 assesses the ability to reason and manipulate different types of material. It comprises four batteries of tests which assess the main types of mental processing that play a substantial role in human thought. Together, these four aspects provide the school with a comprehensive understanding of the core abilities relating to learning by assessing a student’s capabilities when dealing with each type of processing.

The CAT4 entrance test assesses:

  • Reasoning with words
  • Reasoning with numbers
  • Reasoning with shapes and designs
  • Thinking with and mentally manipulating precise shapes

More information about the CAT4 tests can be accessed here for parents.

In Years 12 and 13, pupils for whom English is not their first language are expected to have obtained a standard of English equivalent to the B2 First for Schools or IELTS 5.5 - 6.

Children seeking entry to the Junior years (Years 1-6) are normally required to spend either a morning or afternoon in school to enable staff to assess their abilities. This helps to establish the correct level of entry for each child. Those wishing to enter Years 4-6 also sit the CAT4 test, either during their taster day at St Leonards or at another agreed time.

Any support for learning issues highlighted by the tests will be investigated further by the Head of Learning Support. The Admissions Team can provide more details about Learning Support at St Leonards, as well as the process for students with known specific learning needs. 

International families

St Leonards currently has students from over 30 different nationalities. We appreciate that it may not always be possible to visit the School, but if possible we would recommend it. If a visit is not possible, we are also able to accommodate an online interview along with references from the student’s current school.

The process is then very similar to that for UK families (please see above). The CAT4 entrance test papers can be taken online, either at the office of an Educational Agent, at a lawyer's office,  or at the current school of the pupil in their own country. 

If you have any questions about the admissions process, or for further information about our admissions policy, please contact our team on 01334 472126,  or email

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