Dame Alice Owen's School

Dame Alice Owen's School

About Dame Alice Owen's School

Dame Alice Owen’s School is a large mixed secondary school in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. It was founded by philanthropist Dame Alice Owen as a boys’ school in Islington in 1613, then became fully co-educational after moving to the present Potters Bar campus in 1973. The 34-acre site includes a large lake and extensive sports fields and facilities.

Academic standards are high at Dame Alice Owen’s and students consistently achieve excellent exam results, with most students moving on to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. There is a wide range of extracurricular activities, including lunchtime clubs and societies, sports, drama, academic competitions and challenges, and residential and overseas trips.

Dame Alice Owen’s School holds several accolades from the Sunday Times, including Southeast State Secondary School of the Decade (2020).

  • Address: Dame Alice Owen’s School, Dugdale Hill Lane, Potters Bar, EN6 2DU
  • Local authority: Hertfordshire County Council
  • School type: mixed partially-selective school
  • Headteacher: Hannah Nemko
  • Number of pupils: 1,400+
  • National rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 29
  • A level results: 91.8% A*–B
  • GCSE results: 76.1% 9–7

Dame Alice Owen's School term dates

The 2023–2024 term dates at Dame Alice Owen’s School are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 21st December 2023
  • Half term: 23rd–27th October 2023
  • Spring term: 9th January – 28th March 2024
  • Half term: 19th–23rd February 2024
  • Summer term: 15th April – 19th July 2024
  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

How to apply to Dame Alice Owen's School

Dame Alice Owen’s School is a partially-selective school. Out of 200 places available in Year 7 each year, 65 are allocated to children who pass the school’s academic entrance test (known as the Governors’ Entrance Exam) and a further 10 places are allocated to children selected by Music Aptitude tests.

If you would like your child to be considered for an academic or music place, you will need to register for the test in addition to applying for a school place.

1. Register for the entrance exam

If you are thinking about registering your child for the entrance exam at Dame Alice Owen’s School, it’s a good idea to speak to your child’s teacher first to see if a selective education is right for them. The entrance exam is taken in two parts and is designed to be challenging to identify children working at the top of their year group.

Registration for the Governors’ Entrance Exam and the Musical Aptitude Test opened on 4th May 2023 and closed on 9th June 2023.

2. Apply for a school place

If your child takes the entrance exam or musical aptitude test, you will receive their final results within four weeks of the common application form deadline (31st October 2023). You can use your child’s results to decide whether to apply for a place at Dame Alice Owen’s School.

All children who would like to be considered for a place at Dame Alice Owen's – selective or non-selective – will need to complete a common application form and name the school as a preference. You must complete the form for your home local authority:

Before completing your common application form, make sure to check the school's oversubscription criteria. In the likely event that more children achieve the qualifying score than there are places available, the school will apply oversubscription criteria to prioritise places.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 31st October 2023.

What's on the Dame Alice Owen's School 11 plus?

The academic test for a selective place at Dame Alice Owen’s School is split into two parts. These are taken on separate dates:

  • Part 1: Monday 4th September 2023
  • Part 2: Saturday 23rd September 2023

You will receive your child’s Part 1 results on the 19th September. Only children who meet the qualifying standard for Part 1 will be invited to take Part 2, and will continue to be considered for an academic place.

Part 1

Part 1 of the Dame Alice Owen’s School entrance exam is a 50-minute verbal reasoning paper. This is provided by GL Assessment – one of the UK’s main suppliers of grammar school 11 plus exams.

There will be 80 multiple-choice questions for your child to work through. Your child will be assessed on skills such as reading fluency and comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, logic and problem-solving, and attention to detail.

Learn more and see the sorts of questions your child might come across in the exam in our complete guide to verbal reasoning.

Part 2

Children whose verbal reasoning results place them within the top 325 of ranked candidates will be invited back to sit Part 2 of the entrance exam. There will be two papers – both set by the school:

  • English: one hour. This includes a reading comprehension task and a creative writing task.
  • Maths: one hour. Children will be tested on key concepts in the Key Stage 2 maths curriculum

Free maths practice paper

Test your understanding and skills in Key Stage 2 maths with this free 11+ maths practice paper! Includes 50 questions, an answer key and parents’ guide.

What is the pass mark for Dame Alice Owen's School?

There is no specific pass mark for the Dame Alice Owen’s School entrance exam. Children will be ranked based on their marks in both parts of the exam:

  • Part 1: the raw scores from the verbal reasoning test will be converted to an age-standardised score, and then ranked in order. Children whose ranked marks are within the top 325 are invited back to take Part 2, while children ranked below position 325 are deemed as not eligible for an academic place.
  • Part 2: the results from the English and maths papers are age-standardised and combined with the results from the verbal reasoning test to produce a total combined mark. Children will then be ranked by their total combined marks.

Up to 65 places are available for children selected by academic ability. This means that children whose total combined marks place them within the top 65 of candidates are eligible for an academic place.

If two or more children have the same combined mark, priority will be given to children:

1. With the highest verbal reasoning score

2. If equal, with the highest English score

3. If equal, with the highest maths score

Achieving a particular score doesn’t guarantee a place at the school, as it’s usually oversubscribed with qualified candidates. We always recommend researching the admissions policies for your target schools and looking at their oversubscription criteria.

Dame Alice Owen's School admission criteria

There are 200 places available in Year 7 at Dame Alice Owen’s School. Children who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which names the school will always be admitted regardless of the number of places.

If more than 200 children apply to the school, places will be allocated in order of the oversubscription criteria. At least 20 places overall will be offered to children who either live within the London Borough of Islington or are at school in the borough at the date of application.

1. Looked after and previously looked after children

2. The 22 children who are living closest to the school on the application deadline (31st October)

3. Children who have a sibling at Dame Alice Owen’s School (excluding siblings who started in the sixth form)

4. Children who have passed the musical aptitude test (up to 10 places in total)

5. Children who have passed the Governors’ Entrance Exam (up to 65 places in total)

6. Children of Dame Alice Owen’s School staff (employed for at least two years)

7. All other children, ranked on how closely they live to the school. If two or more children have an identical distance between home and school, random allocation will be applied

School Details

Type of School Bilateral
Address Dugdale Hill Lane Potters Bar EN6 2DU
Phone 01707643441
Region Hertfordshire – SW Herts


Admission Year Sept 2024
Gender in YEAR 7 Mixed


Open Days 18/7/2023 2-5:30pm
Registration 4/5/2023 - 9/6/2023
CAF form 31/10/2023
Allocation Day 1/3/2024
Academic Exam 23/9/2023 Entrance Exam part 2

Academic Selection

Number of Places 200
Standardised No
Age Standardised Yes
Total Number of Exams 2
Number of Rounds 1
Admission Policy View

Exam Boards

  • Granada Learning (GL)

Exam Styles

  • Multiple Choice (MC)

Sample Papers

Name Document or Link Subjects
Multiple Papers View English, Verbal Reasoning

Find answers to our frequently asked questions about Dame Alice Owen's School

  • Is musical ability a significant factor in the admissions process at Dame Alice Owen’s School?
    Yes, musical ability is considered, with 10% of places reserved for students showcasing aptitude in this field.
  • What is the competition like for Year 7 placements at Dame Alice Owen’s School?
    The competition is fierce, with an average of 4 or more applicants vying for each available place.