St Olave's School

St Olave's School

About St Olave's School

St Olave's Grammar School was founded in 1561 and provides a selective education to boys aged 11 to 18 and girls aged 16 to 18. It's one of the UK's highest-achieving state schools, currently ranked within the top 10 grammar schools in the country and within the top 5 grammar schools in London.

The school has a richly diverse student population, inclusive of all faiths and backgrounds, where students have a strong sense of pride and loyalty. Every student's success, be it academic, sporting, cultural or moral, is celebrated and encouraged in an environment which provides excellent co-curricular opportunities.

Olavians consistently achieve outstanding levels of performance and are challenged to reach their full potential through the Individual Pupil Mentoring Scheme. Virtually all students leave the sixth form for higher education, with more than 100 places secured at Oxford and Cambridge universities in the last five years.

  • Address: St Olave's Grammar School, Goddington Lane, Orpington, BR6 9SH
  • Local authority: London Borough of Bromley
  • School type: boys' grammar with mixed sixth form
  • Headteacher: Andrew Rees
  • Number of pupils: 1,050+
  • National rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 7
  • A level results: 96.4% A*–B
  • GCSE results: 91% 9/8/7

St Olave's School term dates

The 2023–2024 term dates at St Olave's Grammar School are:

  • Autumn term: 30th August – 19th December 2023
  • Half term: 16th–27th October 2023
  • Spring term: 4th January – 28th March 2024
  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024
  • Summer term: 15th April – 23rd July 2024
  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

How to apply to St Olave's School

1. Register for the Selective Eligibility Test

St Olave's Grammar School admits pupils based on their performance in the Selective Eligibility Test (SET). This is a two-round 11 plus process, designed to select children who are working at the very top of the academic ability range for their year group. Before registering for the exam, speak to your child's teacher to see if the 11 plus and a grammar school education is right for them.

To register for the St Olave's Grammar School SET, you will need to complete the school's Supplementary Information Form (SIF). This will be available on the school website from 9am on Monday 12th June 2023. The deadline for submitting the form is midday on Monday 3rd July 2023.

2. Apply for a school place

St Olave's Grammar School will write to you with your son's Stage 1 results in mid-October 2023. If your child is one of approximately 450 boys invited back to take the Stage 2 test in November, you will be able to name the school as one of your options on your common application form.

Before listing St Olave's Grammar School as a preference on your form, check its admissions policy and make sure your child is eligible. Passing the second stage of the assessment will still not be a guarantee of a place as more boys reach the qualifying standard each year than there are places available.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 31st October 2023. The form must be completed for your home local authority – i.e. if you live in Bromley you will need to complete the form on the Bromley Council website. If you live in a different local authority, make sure to apply through the relevant website for that council.

What's on the St Olave's School 11 plus?

All boys applying for St Olave's Grammar School will take Stage 1 of the Selective Eligibility Test (SET) on Friday 22nd September 2023. This is a one-hour exam, consisting solely of multiple-choice questions in the following subjects:

  • English comprehension
  • Maths
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Non-verbal reasoning

The 450 boys with the highest results will then be shortlisted for Stage 2. This exam will take place on Friday 17th November 2023 and boys will sit two written papers:

English: one hour, assessing both reading and creative writing. The reading section is multiple-choice

Maths: one hour, based on Year 5 and Year 6 key concepts

Learn about the exam in more detail in our full guide to the Bromley 11 plus:

What is the pass mark for St Olave's School?

There is no specific pass mark for either stage of the St Olave's Selective Eligibility Test. Children's scores in Stage 1 will be placed in rank order and the 450 boys with the highest results will be invited back to Stage 2. Following the second stage, scores will be standardised and aggregated, together with the first stage results, to create a final ranking.

Passing both stages of the St Olave's Grammar School 11 plus process doesn't guarantee a place at the school. St Olave's is a popular school and is heavily oversubscribed, with up to 12 applications for every available place. We always recommend researching the admission policies for your target schools, looking at their oversubscription criteria and their catchment area.

St Olave's School admission criteria

St Olave's Grammar School has a planned admission number (PAN) of 124. Boys who achieve the required standard and who have an Education, Health and Care Plan which names the school will be admitted as a priority. The remaining places will then be allocated to children who have passed both stages of the 11 plus in the following order of priority:

1. Looked after and previously looked after children

2. Boys in receipt of pupil premium, in rank order (up to 10 places available)

3.The remaining places will be allocated in rank order

Places will also be offered in accordance with the parental preference on the common application form (i.e. families who have named St Olave's Grammar School as their most preferred school will be prioritised). If there is a tie for two or more candidates, the final rank order will be determined in this order:

1.Results in the Stage 2 maths paper

2. Results in the Stage 2 English writing paper

3. Results in the Stage 2 English reading paper

4. Results in the Stage 1 SET test

5. If there is a final tie-break, the remaining place(s) will be allocated using a computerised random number generator

There is no catchment area at St Olave's Grammar School. The school welcomes applications from all boys, irrespective of their home address, and does not take location into account when applying oversubscription criteria.

School Details

Type of School Grammar
Address Goddington Lane Orpington Kent BR6 9SH
Phone 01689820101
Region Bromley


Admission Year Sept 2024
Gender in YEAR 7 Boys


CAF form 31/10/2023
Open Evenings 29/6/2023
Registration 3/7/2023
Academic Exam 17/11/2023 Stage 2
Allocation Day 1/3/2024

Academic Selection

Number of Places 124
Standardised Yes
Age Standardised Yes
Total Number of Exams 3
Number of Rounds 2
Qualifying Rank 124
Admission Policy View

Exam Boards

  • Other (OTHER)

Exam Styles

  • Mixed (MC & STD)

Sample Papers

Name Document or Link Subjects
stage 1 - question paper View Mixed Subjects
Stage 1 - answer sheet View Mixed Subjects
Stage 2 sample questions View Mixed Subjects

Find answers to our frequently asked questions about St Olave's School

  • How many places are there in Year 7?
    The PAN (published admission number) is 124 plus up to 4 places for students via our Wakeham Choristership scheme. If we do not fill all 4 chorister places, we would offer the remaining places out via the local authority in order to reach a final cohort of 128 students.
  • How many applicants are there?
    Applicant numbers have risen steadily each year with an average of around 1500 applicants for the 2023 and 2024 application seasons.
  • How do I apply?
    You must fill out the online application form (also referred to as a Supplementary Information Form – SIF), available via the website during the advertised application period (usually mid-June to early July of the applicant’s Year 5 with specific dates being advertised well in advance). Applications will not be possible outside of this window.
  • Does St. Olave’s have any affiliation with feeder schools?
    No. Entry to the school is based solely on performance in our entrance tests and in a typical Year 7 cohort we would expect students to have come from around 90 different primary schools.
  • Does St. Olave’s have a catchment area?
  • Does St. Olave’s have a sibling policy?
  • What is the format of the entrance tests?
    Please see Entrance Test Information for details. Here you will also be able to download sample questions for both tests. We do not provide past papers.
  • What happens if my son is unwell on the day of the test?
    If your son is affected by illness or other circumstances to such an extent that you feel his results will be affected, you should not let him sit the test as no allowance can be made for under-performance. You must inform the School no later than 9am on the day of the test and subject to receiving documentary evidence supporting the reason for non-attendance an alternative day may be offered.
  • Can I park at the School on Test days?
    There is no parking anywhere near to the School’s site on test days. Candidates arriving for our entrance tests should enter the School site via the Park Avenue pedestrian gate only. There is no access to the School from Goddington Lane. Anyone driving to the test is urged to park well away from the School and make use of public car parks in Orpington. Please be aware that parking restrictions will be in place in the surrounding areas and we ask you to be considerate and mindful of not causing obstructions or blocking residents' access to their driveways. In addition, please note that there will be traffic enforcement officers patrolling and the London Borough of Bromley impose temporary no waiting restrictions in both roads to maintain emergency access during test days. Candidates are strongly advised to use public transport wherever possible. Orpington Station is around 15 minutes’ walk away and there are a number of local bus routes. Please plan your journey in advance and allow sufficient travelling time taking into account that there may be delays due to the sheer volume of people attempting to arrive at the same time. If you have a disabled badge or other extenuating reason for needing access to the School’s car park, please contact the School regarding this well in advance.
  • My son has Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and / or medical needs. When do I inform the School?
    Details of any SEND or medical needs (or other circumstances which may require positive action during the entrance tests) must be submitted with your online SIF. Please see application procedure for further details.
  • My son is in receipt of Pupil Premium, how do I apply?
    When completing the online SIF you will be asked this question and if you answer “yes” then you will need to upload supporting documentation to verify that your son is in receipt of pupil premium (or has been at any stage during the 6 years prior to the application deadline). Your son’s current primary school should be able to provide you with the correct documentation verifying his status.
  • St. Olave’s Stage 2 test is after the common application form (CAF) deadline with the Local Authority (LA). How do I know if I should name St. Olave’s as one of my preferences?
    Following our Stage 1 test (SET) in September, the top 450 performing boys will be invited to proceed to our Stage 2 test. Parents/carers will be informed of this before the CAF deadline (we aim to have results out by mid-October). All 450 boys will have met the minimum standard required for entry to St. Olave’s and as a result all will be eligible for the offer of a place subject to the final rank order (following performance in our Stage 2 test) and parental preferences on the CAF. Any boy who does not proceed to the Stage 2 test will not be eligible for an offer. The final rank order will be shared solely with the LA and parents/carers will find out on National Offer Day whether or not their son has a place at the school.
  • My son did not pass the SET, can I name St. Olave’s as a preference on my CAF?
    Only those who sit both the SET and Stage 2 tests will be considered for entry. If your son is not invited to proceed to the Stage 2 test, then he will not be eligible for an offer. You should therefore not name St. Olave’s on your CAF as this would be a waste of one of your school preferences.
  • My son was not offered a place on National Offer Day. How do I make sure he is on the waiting list?
    If you have placed St. Olave’s as a higher preference to the school your son is allocated on National Offer Day then he will automatically be on the waiting list and will be for all schools placed as a higher preference. He will not be on the waiting list for any school listed lower in the preference order than the one allocated and you will need to contact your LA about this if you wish to amend your choices following National Offer Day.
  • Will you tell me my son’s position number on the waiting list?
    The waiting list is held and managed by the London Borough of Bromley. As we are not party to parental preferences, we will not know the exact position on the waiting list, but we will be able to give you an indication of how many boys are still above your child in the remaining rank order. It is possible that not all of these boys will be on the waiting list, however, as they may have received an offer from a higher preference school elsewhere.
  • When will you offer more places following National Offer Day?
    Following National Offer Day, the LAs usually give parents/carers around 2 weeks to respond. Once this deadline has passed, the coordinated admissions process commences again and a second round of offers usually takes place during April (your LA may provide a date). Once the second round of offers has taken place, subsequent offers will happen on a case-by-case basis until all of our places are filled. There is no set deadline for this and the waiting list remains open until the LA closes it at the end of December of the admission year.
  • How do I appeal against the Governors decision not to offer my son a place?
    All parents/carers have the right to appeal to an independent appeal panel should their son not be offered a place on National Offer Day. Please see the Appeals page for further details.
  • My son did not sit the entrance tests, how can I apply for him to join St. Olave’s?
    You may apply to the Bromley in year admissions team from the January of your son’s Year 7 (once they have closed the waiting list). Should a vacancy occur from January onwards, we would contact Bromley for the details of all those on the appropriate list and invite them in for an entrance exam at that stage. Further details can be found here: In Year Applications