Sub menu

Please find below the answers to some frequently asked questions. Additional questions should be directed to the Admissions Department, Admissions Registrar, either by telephone on 01727 892040 or by email at admissions@stcolumbascollege.org.

How many pupils are there in the Prep/Senior School?

There are approximately 240 boys in the Prep School and 590 in the Senior School.

How many boys are in each class?

There is a maximum of eighteen boys in the Lower Prep classes and twenty-two in the Upper Prep classes. Initially, in the Senior School, there are usually twenty-two to twenty-four boys in each teaching group, although additional teaching groups are created in some subjects further up the school, thereby reducing the number of boys in each group.

Is the school divided into Houses?

The Prep School has four Houses, each named after English Catholic martyrs: Alban, Becket, Fisher and More. The Senior School has six Houses: Charles, Guertin, Joseph, Martin, McClancy and Stanislaus. These are all named after Brothers of the Sacred Heart schools in North America.

What contacts/exchanges are there with schools abroad?

There are close links between St Columba’s College and the North American Schools above, with exchanges taking place from time to time. The College also has a successful exchange programme with Chartreux School in Lyon, France, and contacts with the Cordoba Language Centre in Spain. 

How many teaching members of staff are there?

There are just over thirty members of teaching staff in the Prep School, with specialist leaders for each subject. There are over eighty members of teaching staff in the Senior School, including nine in the Maths Department, six in the English Department, thirteen in the Science Department and four in the Modern Foreign Languages Department. For a full list of teaching staff, please click here.

Do you have a catchment area?

There is no catchment area for the College. Offers of places are made on the results of assessment.

Do you have a sibling policy?

Whilst the College looks favourably on siblings of boys already in the school, they need to be able to meet the academic criteria in order to be offered a place. Siblings are offered a reduction in tuition fees of between 3% and 5%.

What is the procedure for the admissions process and which subjects are boys tested in?

Please click here for a comprehensive guide to the College’s Admissions Process, which includes details of the subjects the boys will be tested in.

Are sample papers available?

Specimen papers will be sent to candidates once their Registration and Entrance Test Application Forms have been received.

Is there an interview?

All 11+ and  13+ external candidates are interviewed as part of the entry selection process. 13+ candidates are interviewed individually on the 13+ exam day.  11+ external candidates attend the school one evening, a few days after their written test and have a ten to fifteen minute interview with a senior member of staff, who will put them at ease and encourage them to talk about themselves. One or both parents attend the interview with their son.

When is the closing date for entry test applications?

There is no specific closing date. However, the College prefers to have received all applications by the end of the Michaelmas Term. For 11+ and 13+ applicants, the sooner the application is received, the sooner the boys will receive their specimen papers.

When will I hear if my son has been offered a place?

Offer letters for both 11+ and 13+ will be posted first-class on Thursday 13th February 2020. Replies are required for 13+ offers by Thursday 27th February and for 11+ offers by Tuesday 3rd March 2020.


Is there a waiting list?

After an appropriate number of places have been offered, the College may also offer a small number of waiting list places to boys who have reached an appropriate standard in the entrance examinations. In the event that there are still places available after the acceptance deadline has passed, the College will offer a place those boys on the waiting list.

Do you have places available in other year groups?

The main points of entry to the school are Reception (4+), Year 3 (7+), Year 7 (11+), Year 9 (13+) and Sixth Form. Occasionally, places become available in other year groups and prospective pupils can be tested on an ad hoc basis.

Please contact the Admissions Officer on 01727 892040 or admissions@stcolumbascollege.org to discuss your requirements.

We are relocating to the UK, can we apply from overseas?

Yes. If you are unable to visit the school in person, the College may be able to make arrangements for your child to sit entrance assessment tests at their current school or at the British Embassy. Alternatively, if you are visiting the UK at an appropriate time, the assessment can be carried out during your visit.

What are the coach routes?

What is the cost of the coach per day and is it possible to have one way travel or to use the coach on an ad hoc basis?

The cost of a return journey is £10.10 per day and the cost of  a single or late coach ticket is £8.  If there is space, occasional users may travel on the coach. This must be requested in advance and a temporary pass will be issued by College Admins at the Main Reception desk.

Are there late coaches?

The College operates a late coach service, at no additional charge for those who have paid for the regular coach service. It leaves school at 5.15pm every evening, other than Fridays.

List of Late Coach Routes

What after-school activities are available?

A wide selection of after school activities is available, a small number of which are chargeable. Please click here for a full list of extra-curricular activities.

What are the fees? Is financial assistance available?

Please click here for details of current fees.

Means-tested bursaries are available to Roman Catholic boys entering Prep 3 (Year 3) or Form 1 (Year 7). Please click here for further information.

What is the school’s policy on bullying?

Bullying is unacceptable at St Columba’s College and is dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

Safe-Guarding: Counter-Bullying Policy


Which sports do you play?

Winter sports include Rugby, Football, Basketball and Cross Country. Summer sports include Cricket and Athletics. The College also has Swimming and Golf teams. Please click here to visit the Sports microsite.

Does it matter that my son is not Catholic?

Although St Columba’s is Catholic school, it embraces all faiths and religions, but expects each boy to follow the charism and ethos of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart by respecting and caring for his fellow pupils and teachers.

Will he have to attend services?

All boys attend every service as part of the St Columba's College community. Indeed, any boy may wish to play an active part by reading a prayer or playing an instrument.

Are boys allowed to bring in packed lunches?

Yes, boys are allowed to bring in packed lunches.

Which universities do your boys go on to?

For a full list of last year’s leavers’ destinations, please click here.

Do you have provision for SEN?

The majority of students at the College who have learning difficulties or who, subsequent to entry, are diagnosed with learning needs, will be supported by the Academic Support department and through the in-class teaching strategies provided by all staff. Some additional specialised support is also available. The full policy is on the website and can be accessed for fuller details where learning difficulties are more acute. 

Do you have provision for EFL?

In order to access the full curriculum at the College, students need to have a good mastery of English. The College seeks to assess each individual case where this need is evident given its provision. The College policy for English as an Additional Language, known as EAL, can be found on the website.

Will you sponsor a pupil under a Tier 4 visa?


No, St Columba's College and Preparatory School is not registered to sponsor pupils who need a Tier 4 visa in order to study in the UK.