Henrietta Barnett Admissions: Here’s What You Need To Know

A picture of Henrietta Barnett School*

A picture of Henrietta Barnett School*

An Overview of Henrietta Barnett School

Henrietta Barnett School (HBS) is a girls’ grammar school that is consistently ranked amongst the top state schools in the UK. In fact, their reputation for providing a world-class education is commensurate with the number of pupils that go on to achieve a bright and successful education and career. Many notable former pupils of HBS have become authors, actresses, philosophers, athletes, and political figures. 

The state grammar school is located in the Hampstead Garden Suburb of London, which was founded by Dame Henrietta Barnett in 1911. She had always wished to provide poor girls from the surrounding London suburb with a quality education according to their natural ability rather than their financial means. The Hampstead Garden Suburb is currently an affluent area of London and the school currently has around 745 pupils enrolled.

When the school had originally opened, less than 1% of girls in the UK pursued a university education. Today, HBS is proud to see many of its pupils achieve amongst the highest results in the UK for both GCSEs and A Levels, with most gaining entry to Russell Group universities and Oxbridge.

What You Should Know About Henrietta Barnett School

School leavers from HBS have a disproportionately high acceptance rate to Oxbridge and other Russell Group universities across the UK and to prestigious universities abroad. In 2019 alone, 15 went to Cambridge, 10 to Oxford, and many others went on to study a broad range of undergraduate programmes at other world-class institutions.

HBS is actually an academy and it specialises in music and English, nonetheless, they offer a broad range of subjects including classics, economics, maths, government and politics, history, languages, sciences, and more. There are also plenty of extracurricular activities and societies for your daughter to join, such as music and drama, and. Your daughter can rest assured that she’s in a safe, productive, and engaging environment that’s conducive to learning.

In terms of the school’s environment, HBS is small. Although there are many modern facilities, class sizes are limited to 25 pupils and the acceptance rate for new pupils is low. It’s encouraged that all parents who endeavour to apply for their daughters prepare accordingly well in advance.

How to Get into Henrietta Barnett School

HBS is a very competitive girls’ school and as such vacancies are rare. It’s important to note that the school handles a large number of applications (2,944 in 2019) yet only 300 candidacies are considered for the second round of testing as of 2019. Moreover, cohorts for each year are limited to 100 students. That’s why it’s better to apply early and to fill out the required documentation properly and thoroughly to be considered.


Prospective Year 7 pupils must fill out an Entrance Test Entry Form and successfully pass two rounds of entrance tests. Selection is based on academic achievement. Also, parents must ensure that they fill out the Common Application Form from Barnet Local Authority.

The First Round Entrance Test is a GL Assessment exam which includes multiple-choice questions on Verbal, Non-Verbal reasoning, and English. These tests take place in September of the preceding year, so admissions for the 2021 academic year will take place in early September 2020, for example.

Round Two Entrance tests are set by the school and involve Mathematics and English, with the highest combined marks being considered for entry. Round Two testing takes place in October. For maths, applicants should work on their analytical problem-solving skills, whilst for English, creative writing will be necessary and thus essay-style writing will benefit the applicant.

Year 8-11 ADmissions

For prospective candidates to in-year admissions (Years 8-11) that are on their continued interest list for their respective year, the aforementioned Mathematics and English tests will be required. HBS does not have many vacancies for in-year admissions, so it’s recommended to apply for Year 7 admissions instead, if possible.

Should Any Girl Apply?

Although HBS is competitive and awards very few places each year, it’s still possible for any girl to apply. The school maintains the wishes of Henrietta Barnett by not discriminating girls based on their financial, socio-economic, ethnic, religious, or any other relevant characteristic of their background aside from academic achievement. As such, girls with a high aptitude in English, a capacity for reasoning, mathematics, and most importantly, a desire to thrive and succeed in a world-class academic institution should apply.

HBS specialises in English and Music, but it’s officially an academy and thus offers pupils a wide range of educational opportunities not limited to these disciplines. To find out if HBS is right for your daughter, it’s recommended that parents visit the school with their daughters during their Open Days in July. This can help you to familiarise yourself with the environment in which your daughter will hopefully study.

* The above image of HBS belongs to the school.

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