Year 8 Admissions

Admissions to RSD

The majority of pupils enter RSD in Year 8 having sat the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) in Primary 7. Some pupils join the school in Years 9, 10 and 11 if places are available. Entry to Sixth Form is also possible and there is a separate admissions process for pupils seeking places in Year 13.

RSD is usually oversubscribed so it is important to contact the school as early as possible if you are seeking a place. This is particularly important for Boarding places, the majority of which are allocated around 10-12 months in advance of a boarder joining the school. RSD operates a Waiting List and we keep in contact with prospective pupils’ families to help guide applicants through the process.

If you would like to apply for a place at RSD and need some help with the admissions process, then feel free to contact us. We will be glad to help.

Helping you with Admissions

RSD uses the Common Entrance Assessment, administered by AQE, as a transfer test for pupils seeking to join the school in Year 8.
Full details can be viewed on their website.

The information below is provided to help guide parents and pupils through the transfer process. If you need help with any aspect of the admissions process, then please feel free to contact us for further guidance.

Key Events

Key Dates 2022-23


  • Friday 23 September – registration for the AQE test closes
  • Saturday 15 October (10.00 – 11.10 am) – RSD Familiarisation Morning
  • Saturday 19 November (10.00 – 11.10 am) – AQE transfer test 1
  • Saturday 26 November (10.00 – 11.10 am) – AQE transfer test 2
  • Saturday 3 December (10.00 – 11.10 am) – AQE transfer test 3



  • Tues 24, Wed 25 & Thur 26 January – P7 Open Mornings in RSD
  • Saturday 4 February – AQE sends CEA results to families
  • February – P7 parents make online application for Year 8 place to the Education Authority
  • [15 February – P6 Open Evening for pupils applying for Sept 2024 entry]
  • March/April – RSD Admissions Committee awards places and informs Education Authority
  • Saturday 20 May – Notification of post-primary school placements from EA via EA Portal; RSD sends admissions letters to pupils joining RSD in Year 8
  • Monday 12 June – induction day for P7 pupils joining RSD
  • August – induction day for new Year 8 pupils
  • September – welcome to RSD!
2023 Admissions

RSD Year 8 Admissions



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Date modified: 08-11-2022
P6 Open Evening

The P6 Open Evening is held in February each year and the event begins with everyone together in the Assembly Hall to hear from the Headmaster and some RSD pupils about their school experiences. Parents and pupils are then taken on guided tours of the school, led by RSD staff and prefects, and this is a chance to see school facilities and to meet staff and pupils in various subject settings. They will try to give you a taster of the activities they undertake together daily so that you have some idea of what lessons are like at RSD. The evening concludes with refreshments in the Assembly Hall and a chance to talk to staff and ask questions.  

RSD’s P6 summer school

We hope that you like what you see at the Open Evening and decide to make RSD your choice after primary school. That means getting ready for the transfer test of course, officially known as the Common Entrance Assessment or CEA. Many pupils choose to do this each year and primary schools often help with clubs and support materials. We like to help also so RSD runs a summer school each June, aimed at helping pupils in P6 to familiarise themselves with the CEA and to practise some of the literacy and numeracy questions. RSD provides everything – the primary school teacher, the workbooks and the juice and biscuits! We will contact you with all the details closer to the time. All you have to do is ring RSD and book a place.

CEA Transfer Test Mornings

The dates of the CEA transfer tests are given above and the most important “dos and don’ts” will be explained on the Familiarisation Morning and in the notes given to you then. The key things to remember are:

  • Get here early – by 9.30 am at the latest
  • Have your AQE card, 2 pencils and a rubber with you
  • Go to the toilet before the test starts – you won’t be given additional time if you leave the test room for a few minutes

One thing that parents are sometimes concerned about is, “what will we do if something happens at the time of the test?” The most typical scenario is a pupil taking ill. There is a straightforward process to deal with this and you will receive full details at the Familiarisation Morning but the best advice is make sure you act at the time – gather evidence of what has happened (e.g. doctor’s note) and present this to RSD when applying. The RSD Admissions Committee looks at all such evidence and always tries to be as understanding and helpful as possible.

RSD’s P7 autumn workshop

In September/October of P7 we run workshops for all the pupils signed up to take the CEA with us. This is organised with the primary schools and takes place at RSD after school. As with the summer school, RSD provides a primary school teacher, the workbooks and the juice and biscuits but the focus for these workshops is on some of the trickier topics in the CEA. Set alongside your own preparations and the work done in your primary school, the autumn workshops should put you in a good position to approach the CEA days in November/December with real confidence.

P7 Familiarisation Morning

Each year, on a Saturday morning in October of your P7 year, we run a Familiarisation Morning to help parents and pupils see understand the transfer process and test, the CEA. The Examinations Officer explains the mechanics of how the test works and the Headmaster guides parents through the admissions process, including the key dates and how to fill in the transfer form.  The boys and girls have a dry run of going to the rooms where the tests are held and they learn what the test paper will look like and how to approach completing their paper (though there is no test of course!). The whole event lasts around an hour and ten minutes, running from 10.00 – 11.10 am, the same timing as the actual test days. By the end of our morning together parents and pupils usually feel at ease with the process.

P7 Open Mornings

Towards the end of January, we will invite parents and P7 pupils to come into RSD during the morning and to see the real school in operation. Unlike the P6 Open Evening, where there are lots of activities put on just for you, this is where you get to see what being a pupil at RSD is really like. The Headmaster will speak to parents and pupils for a short time and then you will be taken around the school by some of our current Year 8 pupils and prefects. You will be in small groups so you really do get a chance to see the school in action and what lessons are like day-to-day. We finish the morning together with refreshments and the opportunity for final questions ahead of receiving your test result and completing your transfer form. We hope you like what you see and choose RSD to be your next school!

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