Admission Policy 2023 - 2024

Introductory statement

Cambridge Maths School (CMS) is a specialist, selective 16-19 free school that aims to recruit students who will benefit most from a challenging preparation for the study of advanced mathematics and related courses at university.

Admission Numbers and Capacity

Applications will be accepted for entry in September 2023 for students born between 1st September 2006 and 31st August 2007 or born between 1st September 2007 and 31 August 2008 and in their final year of GCSEs at their current school.  References to “applicants” in this policy will be references to students’ parents applying on their behalf or the students themselves depending upon the context.

CMS will admit up to 40 students to Year 12 each year.

Minimum study programme

All students will be expected to enrol on a programme of study comprising a minimum of 540 planned hours per year. All students will study Maths and Further Maths A Level and then a minimum of one other Science subject.

Applying for places

Applications for admission should be sent directly to the college, using the online application form at by the published deadline. Alternatively, you can use the online form directly on the school website.

Students whose predicted grades are in line with the minimum GCSE predictions referred to in the minimum entry requirements (see below) will be invited to take part in the aptitude test.

Term will begin on [date].

Minimum Entry Requirements

Minimum entry requirements (all must be met)

In order to receive a conditional offer students must:

  • be predicted Seven GCSEs at grade 5 or above, including
  • be predicted GCSE Maths grade 8 or 9
  • be predicted GCSE Combined Science 8-8 or higher or separate science grade 8 or higher in the subject they wish to study.
  • be predicted GCSE English grade 5 or higher
  • have passed an aptitude test which results in their being interviewed; and
  • have achieved an applicant score (as described below) above the determined threshold.


  • Stage one requirements

Predicted GCSE grades are in line with the minimum entry requirements above.

Students take the Aptitude test on DTBD. The raw score will be converted to a percentage score.

In order to automatically be invited to interview, students must have passed the aptitude test with a score 60% or higher. Students with a score 59% or lower may be invited if less than 80 students are automatically invited.

  • Stage two


The interview will assess the applicant in terms of the following characteristics:

  1. Their apparent academic potential judged on the basis of their current performance and their apparent potential for growth (up to a total of 6 points).
  2. Their motivation and work ethic (up to a total of 6 points, including 3 from the reference).
  3. The suitability of the education to be offered at CMS for the applicant (up to a total of 6 points).

The interview will assess the applicant in terms of the following bands:

  • Upper Band – Ample evidence that the student has strength in each of the characteristics. 5 or 6 points
  • Middle Band – Some evidence of strength in each of the characteristics. 3 or 4 points
  • Lower Band – Little or no evidence of strength in each of the characteristics even with prompting and follow up questions. 1 or 2 points
  • Zero Evidence – that the student is not suitable in each of the characteristics. 0 points

Interviews will be held in the week beginning [DTBD]

The interview score will be converted to a percentage score.

These scores will then be averaged. This score is known as the applicant score.

A threshold will be determined below which candidates are judged to be unsuitable for the education offered at the school. Applicants whose applicant scores fall below the threshold will not be offered places.

Conditional offers will be made in February 2023 to all successful applicants. Applicants will be asked to accept or decline their conditional offer by a given [DTBD]. Offers are made subject to achievement of minimum entry requirements.

Firm offers will be made in accordance with the oversubscription criteria in August when GCSE results are confirmed. Students who are not made offers will be either offered a place on the waiting list or will be advised that their application has not been successful.

Students will have 5 week days (starting on the day the offer letters are sent out) to accept their firm offer, otherwise this will be withdrawn and the place offered to another applicant (according to the oversubscription criteria below).

In the event that the school is oversubscribed students will be admitted in the following priority:

Oversubscription criteria

Students will be grouped into two groups:

  • Group A – students who have included Physics A Level as a subject choice
  • Group B – students who have not chosen Physics A Level as a subject choice.

The first 30 places will be offered to students in group A according to the oversubscription criteria below. Any students not offered a place will be grouped within group B. The remaining 10 places will be offered to group B according to the oversubscription criteria below:

  • Students who are looked after children and students who were previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to adoption, a child arrangements order, or special guardianship order[1].
  • Students who in year 11 of secondary school were eligible for free school meals.
  • Students who in any or all of the past 6 years were eligible for free school meals.
  • Students whose parents are staff employed by CMS to work at CMS where the member of staff has been employed at the school for two or more years at the time at which the application for admission to the school is made.
  • All remaining places will be allocated based on those with the highest ranked applicant score.

If a further tie break is needed this will be defined as distance in a straight line from the student’s home to the school. Priority will be given to the student living nearest the school.  If two students live equidistant to the school, there will be a final tie breaker based on random allocation.

Waiting lists

Those who have met the minimum entry criteria but have been unsuccessful in gaining a place due to their position in the oversubscription criteria will be placed on the waiting list . Should a place become available it will be offered to the applicant at the top of the waiting list as determined by the oversubscription criteria.  The waiting list will be maintained until the end of the Autumn Term (ending in October), after which point a waiting list will be maintained but applicants must notify CMS if they wish to stay on it.

Late applications

CMS will accept at its discretion (and subject to whether there is a reasonable prospect of a place becoming available) application after the application deadline.  Late applications for the main admissions cycle will be considered alongside other applicants only if places remain at that stage of the process.  They will otherwise be added to the school’s waiting list.  Accordingly, late applicants may be offered a place or added to the waiting list if they meet the minimum entry criteria. 

Misleading applications

Any offer will only be withdrawn if it becomes apparent that their offer was obtained through a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application.


Any applicant refused a place will be offered a right of appeal to an appeal panel.   Details on how to appeal will be provided at the time a place is refused.  The appeal panel will be composed of members of the school’s governing body and will consider the appellant’s case and decide whether to uphold the appeal.

Equality and Diversity

The school, in operating admission arrangements, will do everything it reasonably can to enable every student to perform at their best, and in making acceptance decisions, will not discriminate between students on grounds of gender, disability, faith, ethnicity, or sexual preference, provided they meet the criteria for entry.

The school will make all reasonable adjustments to ensure that no applicant with Special Education Needs or Disabilities (SEND) is dissuaded from applying to the school. The school is keen to encourage applications from all students who feel that CMS is suitable for them.  Any reasonable adjustments that are needed, both prior to the entrance exam and/or interview and after admission will be made.


This policy will be reviewed annually and any amended policy for the following September will be published on CMS website before the end of the preceding September (i.e. the policy for 2024 will be published in September 2023). The policy will remain on the website throughout CMS year.


If you are unhappy with any aspect of the admission policy or appeal process you may submit a complaint, outlining your concerns in the first instance with CMS via Jenna Bickley, Eastern Learning Alliance, c/o Impington Village College, New Road, Impington, CB24 9LX.

If you have exhausted that process, have evidence of that and remain dissatisfied then you can contact  the ESFA at or by letter at Customer Service Team, Education and Skills Funding Agency, Cheylesmore House, Quinton Road, Coventry CV1 2WT.

[1] A ‘looked after child’ is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989) at the time of making an application to a school.  Previously looked after children are children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a child arrangements order or special guardianship order).  Previously looked after children also includes those who appear to the admission authority to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted.

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