Joining this Top British Boarding School as an International Pupil

Main entry points

Prep School 10+ Year 6 Form 2
  11+ Year 7 Lower Third
Senior School 13+ Year 9 Fourth Form


Year 12

Sixth Form

Whilst we welcome applications direct from parents, selecting the right boarding school from a distance can be a challenge! We work with partner agents in many different countries, which often helps to make the process for families as smooth and easy as possible. 

Apply to Bishop's Stortford College as an international student

Working with Partner Agents

Our partner agents will advise you on whether Bishop’s Stortford College is the right school for your family and guide you through our admissions procedure and entry requirements. They may also be able to assist you with other aspects, including visa requirements and guardianship information.Bbsn members logo 2

For information about our partner agents, or to speak to the College about an international application please contact:

Jenny McGuigan, International Admissions Officer

Tony Evans, Director of International Relations
Tel: +44 7963 112533

Application Deadline

Most of our boarding places for the coming academic year are filled by the preceeding March, so applications need to be submitted as early as possible, ideally during the September/October preceding the year of entry. We have invested heavily in our boarding facilities and believe them to be second to none in the East of England. You can read more about our boarding facilities here, or view the video on the left.

Read more about International pupils at the College here.

Entry Requirements for International Pupils

Academic Ability Required

We are a selective school and prospective students need to be strong academically.

For GCSE courses

Pupils will be expected to take nine or ten subjects and achieve grades 9 - 7 in each subject.

For A Level Courses

We look for candidates who are close to the achievement of:

  • a minimum of 7 grade 6 GCSEs or 3 grade 7s and 2 grade 6 GCSEs;
  • at least a 6 grade in the GCSE or related subject for each A Level;
  • a good disciplinary and attendance record.

English Language Test

To access the broad curriculum, international students need to be able to communicate, read and write in English, at an appropriate level for their age.

All candidates undertake an online English language test, but if you have evidence of IELTS certification, this would be helpful.  We expect candidates to have reached levels 5.5/6.0 (intermediate/upper intermediate).

Special Aptitudes

Sport, Music and Art are very strong at Bishop’s Stortford College. A special aptitude in any of these areas will be taken into consideration. Further information on our Elite Sports Programme can be found here.

Entry Procedure for International Pupils

Step 1: Initial Enquiry

Our partner agents provide us with the following information about potential applicants so that we can respond quickly and advise whether the student should proceed to the application stage:

  1. Application profile – an agent summary together with your most recent school report/reference and exam results (and exam predictions, where applicable);

  2. English language – IELTS certificate or equivalent to indicate the standard of spoken and written English reached;

  3. Interests and achievements – an indication of other areas of interest, including special areas of aptitude;

Step 2: Application

Completion of an Application Form and payment of the Application Fee indicates that you wish to be considered for entry.

Applicants to the Sixth Form/Year 12 also need to complete a Sixth Form Entry Form.

Application deadline: Most of our places for the coming academic year are filled by the preceding March, so applications need to be submitted as early as possible, ideally during the September/October preceding the year of entry being considered.

Step 3: Assessment

As an academic school, places are offered to all applicants on the basis of:

1) Bishop’s Stortford College Entry Tests

7+ -12+ entry Years 3-8 Online standardised tests
13+ entry Year 9 Non Verbal Reasoning, English and Mathematics
16+ entry Year 12/Sixth Form English and all chosen subjects

If unable to travel to Bishop’s Stortford College, applicants may take the entry tests in their own country, either at the offices of one of our partner agents or at the nearest British Council offices. In all cases, the entry tests must be undertaken under proper examination conditions.

2) English Language Test (see Entry Requirements for an indication of the level required).

To access the broad curriculum, international students need to be able to communicate, read and write in English, at an appropriate level for their age.

•    10+/Year 6 and 11+/Year 7 entry – applicants take a specialist English Language test alongside the online standardised tests and an interview with a member of the Admissions team. 
•    13+/Year 9 and 16+/Year 12 entry – applicants take a specialist English Language test alongside the academic examination and an interview with our Head of ESOL.

3) School Report / Reference

4) Interview

All applicants are interviewed, however, we appreciate this is not possible for all international applicants. In these cases, for 10+ and 11+ applicants, an interview will be conducted over Zoom with a member of our Admissions team. For 13+/Year 9 and 16+/Year 12 entry, places are offered on the basis of an applicant’s entry test results, school report, particular skills and interests (e.g. music, art, sport) and an interview. 

Step 4: Offer of a Place

Places will normally be offered:

7+ -12+ entry Years 3-8 by the middle of February
13+ entry Year 9 by the middle of February
16+ entry Year 12/Sixth Form by the end of December

Sixth Form offers will normally be conditional upon gaining either a minimum of 7 grade 6s at GCSE (or equivalent) or 3 grade 7s and 2 grade 6s (or equivalent). A satisfactory reference from the school is also required.

Step 5: Acceptance of Place

An Acceptance Form, which accompanies the offer letter, is then completed and returned to us, together with the Acceptance Fee and guardian details by early March.

Language Support

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Department

The ESL Department exists as a language support for those pupils whose first language is a language other than English. Our aim is to help pupils achieve their full potential in using English for everyday, social, academic and professional purposes in the four key skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening). Pupils in need of additional support with their English are usually provided with a minimum of two lessons a week at no extra charge until they have passed their Cambridge First for Schools [FCEfs]’ and Cambridge Advanced, IGCSE ESL or IELTS examination.

This support is provided on an individual or group basis by a dedicated, professionally trained teacher and forms an integral part of Bishop’s Stortford College’s curriculum. The ESL classroom is a bright and cheerful place to work and learn and it provides a calm and peaceful base for the overseas pupils to gather for their lessons.

The Department also recognises that traditions and cultural awareness are very important in language acquisition and aims to incorporate these aspects into the teaching programme. We aim to make the experience of improving a student's level of English as enjoyable as possible. We are aware that English is the international language and it is therefore essential that every overseas student is able to use it effectively. The English language underpins every mainstream subject, thus giving the Department a unique role in supporting pupils’ academic goals.

The ESOL Department runs courses which are as closely tailored to the individual needs of each student as possible. Depending on his or her age and level, a student will be prepared for the following examinations:

Cambridge IGCSE in English  as a Second Language or English as a First Language and IELTS (the International English Language Testing System).

Overseas students make up around 10% of our Senior School roll and we welcome students from a wide variety of nationalities. As well as teaching ESL, the Department is very active pastorally and organises the annual International Welcome Party as well as accompanying pupils to Parents’ Meetings and providing them with help for their university applications.


Bishop’s Stortford College requires the parents of international students to appoint a Guardian for their child while they are attending the College.

The guardian should be resident in the UK and live within 40 miles of Bishop’s Stortford. We do not undertake guardianship arrangements for families, but please find below, a list of guardianship organisations College parents have used for the care of thier children in school holidays in recent years.

Alternatively, families can access a complete list of AEGIS (Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students) accredited guardianship organisations through the AEGIS website or Boarding Schools Association (BSA) Certified Guardians here.

The following guardianship organisations have host families based locally in Bishop’s Stortford:

Trusted Guardianship Ltd

Contact: Mrs Zakiyah Razvi


Landline: +44 (0)1279 835650          Mobile: +44 (0)7961 107283

Pippa's Guardians

Contact: Mrs Kay Adye


Landline: +44 (0)1684 252757         Mobile: +44 (0)7843 365559

Bright World Guardianships                                         

Contact: Carol Gill, Admissions Manager  

Email:                                          ‹

Head Office: +44 (0)1273 835745    Emergency 24/7 +44 (0)1273 836060