Senior School Assessment

Through our Entrance Assessment process, we aim to provide all candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate their potential, regardless of their background.

Cheadle Hulme School is an academically selective school but also strongly believes in the importance of an all-round education, underpinned by a strong set of Waconian Values. As well as success in our Entrance Exam we look for future pupils who we feel will be able to contribute across our broad curriculum and demonstrate a commitment to our values, both in and outside of the classroom.

All registered candidates for our Senior School will be invited to attend our Entrance Exam day during which they will complete an online assessment in Mathematics, English, Non-Verbal and Verbal reasoning. Candidates will also complete a piece of written creative writing.

Shortly after the Senior Entrance Assessment, we invite for interview those children whose performance in the Entrance Assessment suggests that they have the potential to succeed in our Senior School. The interviews are an opportunity for us to find out more about each child’s character, passions and interests, and to explore whether  they can integrate well into our dynamic School community. They are also a chance for the candidate and their family to ask us questions in an informal setting about life at CHS. Finally, we also request references from the applicant’s Junior School. Comments about character and work ethic of the individual are an important part of our selection process.

Invitation to interview is not an offer of a place at the School and offers are only made after the conclusion of the interview stage of the assessment process.

Senior School Assessment FAQs

We believe our assessment process reflects our commitment to an all-round educational experience and our Waconian Values.

Our Entrance Assessment involves a 1 hour online CEM exam in Maths, English and Non-Verbal Reasoning and a 30 minute written creative writing paper set by CHS.

The online tests will provide us with a fair and robust method of identifying academic potential and reduce the reliance on relentless preparation of tests. In the creative writing section of the assessment, we are looking for imagination and creativity as well as the ability to write accurately.

The interviews are an important element of the process and enable us to find out a little more about a candidate’s passions and interests and their suitability for CHS.

Our Entrance Exam for Year 7 entry in September 2025 will take place on Tuesday 7 January 2025. 

All our candidates will be welcomed and cared for by CHS teachers and will be accompanied throughout the day by a team of Year 12 Peer Mentors. 

All candidates will sit an online CEM assessment, a hand-written creative writing paper and  take part in a CHS lesson. We will provide snacks and lunch. 

Due to the high number of applicants we will run two sittings over the course of the day. 

CHS teaching staff will invigilate the exams.

The CEM 11+ exam is about testing a child’s natural aptitude and we emphasise the importance of a well-rounded education. For the creative writing exam, we will be looking for lively writing which shows some originality in language choices. 

Developing mathematical skills, reading widely and building vocabulary are all key ways of helping your child to prepare for our assessment process.


Families are asked to provide us with as much information as possible about the identified learning needs of their child / children on the application form and to provide copies of relevant reports. All documentation will be securely stored and destroyed if the pupil does not go on to accept a place at CHS. On receipt of the information, a member of the Learning & Support Team will contact the family to discuss any additional requirements.

On the entrance exam day, all pupils with identified needs will have a member of the Learning Support team with them throughout their visit. Access arrangements typically include 25% additional time or use of a laptop.

For further information about Learning Support provision at CHS, please visit the department page here. 




CEM has provided standardised familiarisation materials available here 

The purpose of the familiarisation is to prevent undue anxiety for candidates sitting the assessments by helping them to understand the procedures involved, introduce them to the look and feel of the assessments and the ways of answering questions using the keyboard and/or mouse. 

We do not provide sample papers for our creative writing assessment. This is a creative writing assessment and we do not wish to encourage prepared responses in the exam. An important thing all candidates can do to get ready is to continue reading widely.


Candidates are not allowed to use a calculator. Paper and pencils will be available to assist with working (e.g. in the numeracy section) however only answers entered on the computer will be marked.

SEE Candidate number email: We ask that your child brings a copy of this on the day (this will be emailed to parents in advance of the day). 

Clothing: We recommend all our candidates wear comfortable clothes. School uniforms are not required. 

Equipment: A pen and a pencil in a clear bag/pencil case and a water bottle.

Phone: We ask that our candidates do not bring phones with them. Parents can contact Admissions if there is an urgent need to contact your child. 





CEM is a verbal, numerical and non-verbal assessment produced by Durham University. It has been designed to assess academic potential. As this assessment is an automated programme candidates will sit this assessment in 1 session. Within each timed section candidates can go back and review answers if they have time remaining at the end. Candidates will not be able to go back and amend answers once the assessment has moved on to the next section. 

Candidates are not allowed to use a calculator during the assessment. Paper will be available to assist with working (e.g. in the numeracy section), however only answers entered on the computer will be marked.

This is a hand-written 30 minute creative writing assessment written and marked by the English Department at CHS. We will be looking for creative ideas, interesting descriptions, narrative structure and varied sentences.