Is your child academic, musical, arty or sporty?

Every year a limited number of scholarships are made available through the Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School Scholarships and Bursaries Programme. The school's Assisted Places Scheme was established to help able children achieve their full potential. Scholarships are awarded to suitable applicants. These may be further subsidised with a means-tested bursary so that children can benefit notwithstanding family income. 

The Sompting Abbotts Assisted Places Scheme was established to broaden access and help able children take full advantage of an independent education whose parents might otherwise have not been able to afford it.

Helping talent shine through

The scheme is open to pupils from both the state and independent school sectors. Awards are tenable throughout your child’s time at Sompting Abbotts. It's a condition of any award, however, that the pupil maintains a high standard of work. In return, award-holders will be given many opportunities to stretch themselves and develop their abilities.

scholarships are available at sompting abbotts preparatory school

The Assisted Places Scheme can offer a pathway for those considering applying for scholarships to senior schools at Year 8. While it doesn't assure continuation into a senior school, we use our knowledge of senior school destinations and your child's potential to advise you of senior school scholarships and bursary opportunities your child may be able to apply for.

You can read more about Lancing College's scholarships and bursaries policy here.

Note, all Sompting Abbotts' pupils are automatically eligible for entry to Steyning Grammar.

The aim of the scholarships is to help pupils take advantage of an independent education whose parents might otherwise have not been able to afford it. The award level is at the discretion of the Bursar, the Principal and the Headmaster. If further financial assistance is needed, parents may also apply for a means-tested Bursary Award, in addition to the Scholarship Award.

Scholarships recognise excellence in five categories

The five categories are: Academic; All-rounderSports; Music, and Art, at the focus entry points of 7+ (Year 3) or 11+ (Year 6 and Year 7).  However, the Headmaster will consider awarding scholarships to especially able children in other age groups. Please call or email us if you would like to discuss your child's situation first.

scholarships and bursaries at west sussex independent school sompting abbotts

All our children are entered for the Common Entrance exam at Year 8 and for senior school scholarships where appropriate.

If your child is a new joiner from the state sector at Year 6 or Year 7 stage, we have a fast-track learning programme to ensure your child is fully up to speed for their Common Entrance exam in Year 8.

Sompting Abbotts has a 100% success rate for Common Entrance pass and 95% success rate for senior school scholarships applied for. Learn more about the Common Entrance exam here. 

Can you excel at Common Entrance exam if you join in Year 7?

Lohith joined Sompting Abbotts in Year 7 and was behind on the Common Entrance syllabus so the school placed him on a tailored fast-track programme. By Year 8, he was both ready for Common Entrance and to apply for and win the Sankey Scholarship (the top academic award offered) at Lancing College. Watch him talk about his experience here.

Children attending Sompting Abbotts are eligible for entry to Steyning Grammar.

Academic Scholarship Category

academic scholarships are available at sompting abbotts preparatory school in west sussex

The school welcomes 'critical thinkers': children who can problem-solve, apply knowledge and have an interest in many aspects of the world. Candidates need to be able to challenge and be challenged based on solid academic foundations, with an enthusiastic and enquiring mind.

  • 7+ Entry: Any Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School Scholarship award will be based on ability in Reading, Spelling and Mathematics tests. Consideration will be shown for bright children who have specific difficulties with their work.

  • 11+ Entry: Papers are set in English and Mathematics, Non-Verbal and Verbal Reasoning tests and an individual interview with the Headmaster.

All-Rounder Scholarship Category

All-Rounder Scholarships are aimed at supporting talented children with a range of strengths, particularly sporting and cultural achievements. Candidates are expected to show talent and ability in at least two areas, allied with good academic ability and work ethic. They should also provide suitable references from any external clubs or groups in which they're involved.

Art Scholarship Category

Art Scholarships are aimed at supporting and developing talented artists who would benefit from, and help to enrich both the Art Department and the school as a whole. The award is made on the basis of artistic potential, as well as achievement. 

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Art Scholars are expected to participate fully in the artistic life of the school. They should be keen to use their own time and willing to work during extra sessions in school time to practice their skills. They gradually become more independent in their work and collect relevant visual information and research other artists’ styles and techniques. This should involve visiting galleries and exhibitions. Their work will be discussed in lessons. They should also be leading and assisting with art exhibitions at school, as well as helping to design school play scenery.

  • 7+ Entry: There's no specific Art Scholarship test at 7+. Any decision will be made on the basis of an informal assessment of work and discussion with the Head of Art Mrs Tewkesbury. Consideration will be given to any young artist whom she considers has genuine artistic potential to achieve a 13+ Scholarship to a senior school.

  • 11+ Entry: All candidates should present and discuss a portfolio of up to 10 pieces of recent work. They will discuss their artistic interests, achievements and ambitions. In addition, candidates will take a drawing test. Candidates are encouraged to consider viewpoint, colour, tone and perspective. Parents and prospective candidates are encouraged to first visit the Art Department and meet with Mrs Tewkesbury who will be happy to give feedback on work and discuss scholarship potential.

Music Scholarship Category

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Music Scholarships are aimed at supporting talented musicians. The award is made on the basis of potential as well as actual achievement. All recipients are expected to contribute fully in the busy musical life of the school, involving themselves in performances, choirs and ensembles, according to their interests and expertise. 

  • 7+ Entry: This informal audition has four components – instrumental, vocal, ear tests and interview. Children should prepare pieces on any instrument they're offering and will be required to sing a song of choice. A specific standard is not required at 7+, however, children should show natural talent and potential, as well as a conscientious attitude. In addition to performing pieces and responding to aural tests, children will be given the opportunity to talk about themselves and their involvement and interest in music.

  • 11+ Entry: All candidates should be prepared to give a short recital to demonstrate their ability as practical musicians on their chosen instrument (an accompanist can be provided). In addition, candidates must also take aural tests, read at sight and play scales and arpeggios appropriate to their level of experience. Candidates are encouraged to prepare a short song of any level, if this is not one of the studies already offered. As a guide, a playing standard of ABRSM Grade 3 and above is expected on a first instrument and it's recommended that a second instrument (or voice) is offered at a lower grade. If no grades have been taken, a prospective pupil’s potential will be acknowledged. Candidates will be invited to an informal interview with the Director of Music.

When a Music Scholarship is awarded on the recommendation of Mrs Williamson, the Director of Music, it will be subject to annual review. Parents are welcome to meet and discuss scholarship requirements with the Director of Music, Mrs Williamson.

Sports Scholarship Category

sports scholarships are available at sompting abbotts preparatory school in sussex

Sport Scholarships are offered to pupils at 7+ and 11+ entry who demonstrate excellence and potential in their chosen sports. They'll be expected to take part in Sompting Abbotts' weekly fixtures of of inter-school sports. Scholarships may be available to able sports players in the games of Football, Netball, Rugby, Cricket and Rounders.

Candidates will be assessed across a variety of sports under the direction of the Head of Games. All boys and girls who apply must be able to demonstrate:

  • Good fitness levels.

  • Skilled movement across speed, endurance and agility.

  • Good game knowledge in their chosen sports.

  • Motivation to train and play to the best of their ability at all times.

  • Evidence of participation in team sports outside school for which references will be required from clubs and coaches.

How to apply

You’re welcome to contact us informally before applying as places are limited according to year group. To do this, please telephone the Principal Mrs Sinclair on 01903 235960 or email to discuss your child and your situation. There are two rounds of scholarship examinations and assessments each year, in the Spring and Autumn terms of the year of entry. Application forms can be obtained via Mrs Sinclair, or downloaded directly above.


How to apply

You can download the Scholarships & Bursaries application form here as a Word doc


If you’ve got questions or would like to arrange a visit …

You can download the Scholarships & Bursaries application form here as a pdf

You are welcome to call us to discuss your child informally before applying. Please telephone 01903 235960 or email

Completed forms can be posted to The Principal, Patricia Sinclair, Sompting Abbotts Prep School, Church Lane, Sompting, West Sussex, BN15 0AZ or emailed to

Application periods

You can contact us to discuss your child or apply to us at any time in the school year. We have two rounds of bursary/scholarship assessments in the Spring and Autumn terms of the year of entry. Application forms can be obtained via the Principal, Mrs Patricia Sinclair, or downloaded above.

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Our Insight

Parents choose independent schooling for their children because they value the broad all-round education on offer, including academic excellence, learning opportunities outside the classroom and outstanding pastoral care. With pupil numbers at their highest since records began in 1974, it’s clear an independent education is the preferred choice for many families.
Affordability is of course a concern for schools and they work hard to remain competitive whilst facing pressures on salaries, pensions and maintenance and utility costs. Many schools have extended bursary provision and this year almost £400m was provided in means-tested fee assistance for pupils at ISC schools. Currently a third of pupils at our schools benefit from reduced fees.
— Julie Robinson, General Secretary, Independent Schools Council