About the 11+ exam
Information on the 11+
WHAT IS THE "11 PLUS" ?
"11 Plus" is a selective examination, set by state grammar schools in
England, as a way of determining which children should be selected to
enter their schools in Year 7. Up until the 1970's, every child in
England and Wales had to sit the 11 Plus examination to determine which
type of Secondary school they would go to once they had left their
Primary school. With the coming of the Comprehensive system of Secondary
education, many towns abolished their grammar schools, turning them
into comprehensive schools, where no selection test was needed for
entry. There were some towns however, who elected to keep their grammar
schools, which are still in existence today. As places at the existing
grammar schools are at a premium, the only way of securing a place is
through your child reaching a high enough mark in the selection test,
which each grammar school sets. It is estimated that approximately
100,000 children sit the 11 Plus exam in England each year for around
15,000 places, giving each child a 1 in 6 chance of gaining a place. In some schools the ratio is even greater with a 1 in 10 chance of gaining entry.
In Northern Ireland the 11+ exam was stopped in 2008, despite opposition from both parents and secondary schools. In spite of this many secondary schools (or post-primary schools as they are called in Northern Ireland) have continued to set selection tests. This has led to two main groups dealing with testing arrangements to be set up. These are the Post Transfer Consortium and the Association for Quality Education. Children are tested in the subjects of English and Maths. (Science/Technology is no longer tested).
WHERE ARE THE GRAMMAR SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND ?
following counties/metropolitan boroughs still have state grammar
schools:- Berkshire, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Devon,
Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire,
Lincolnshire, London, Manchester, Middlesex, North Yorkshire,
Shropshire, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Midlands, West Yorkshire,
In addition to the above, there are several former state grammar schools in different towns in England, which have now gone private, which also have a selection test at 11 Plus.
For a complete list of state grammar schools press here
For a list of private grammar schools press here
WHAT SUBJECTS ARE SET IN THE 11 PLUS EXAM ?
The 11 Plus exam usually consists of one or more of these four subjects:-
English, Mathematics, Non-verbal Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning.
For more details about each subject go to our 11+ Subjects page.
WHEN DO THE SELECTION TESTS TAKE PLACE ?
The date of a particular selection test to a grammar school varies from area to area, but generally speaking most state grammar schools have their entrance tests in the months of September and October, with a few schools now having the test in July, before the summer holidays. For example, schools in Essex and Lancashire hold their tests in September, with the results coming out sometime in October. This is because all parents must fill in and return the Common Application Form for secondary school choices by 31st October, when their children are in Year 6. It must be stressed independent grammar schools may set their tests during other times of the year, as they are not bound by state education rules.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR THE 11 PLUS EXAM ?
Since 2009, application details have changed. There are two stages in the application process. Firstly, parents have to apply direct to the grammar school(s) of their choice, usually in the summer term. Then once the 11+ exam has been taken and results known, they then have to fill out the Common Application Fomr (CAF) in October where they put down their choices for both grammar and other state secondary schools. The deadline for this is 31st October. The local authority then makes its decisions as to which secondary school your child will be allocated. This is made known to the parents on "National Offer Day", which is usually 1st March.
In the first instance, you should contact your child's primary school, who should have all the details to hand. if your child is at a prep. or other private school you could get details from your local Education Authority (see below). All local authorities send out details of the secondary school application process in their area (includiing the 11 plus test) to every Year 5 child via the child's primary or prep. school, well in advance of the actual test day. The application forms are usually available direct from the grammar schools or consortiums at the start of the summer term, whilst the children are in Year 5, Of course there will be a deadline for your application to be handed in by, which you should make sure you do not miss. If the grammar school you wish you child to apply to is in another area from which you live, it would be advisable to contact the grammar school direct.
A full list of all state grammar schools can be found here.
For details of how to contact your local Education Authority press here.
WHEN ARE THE RESULTS OF THE 11 PLUS PUBLISHED?
The results for the 11 Plus exam are now given out in early to mid October, soon after the actual 11+ exams have taken place. You will only have a matter of a few weeks to get your Common Application Form in to your local education authority, with a closing date of 31st October. They will then process all the applications. Since 2004 the name of the secondary
school your child has been offered a place at, is sent out by post or via e-mail on 1st
March, or as near to that date as possible if it falls on a weekend. Obviously some letters arrive sooner than others depending on the
post. Your local education authority will be able to give you more
details about how this procedure is carried out in your local area. To
contact your local education authority press here.
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE PRACTICAL ADVICE ON THE 11+ EXAM?
We would like to recommend a book called "The 11+ - a practical guide for parents" by 11+ expert, Mark Chatterton. It goes into great detail about how the 11+ exam works, how you can apply for it, and how you can best prepare your child for the exam. It is packed full of helpful tips for both parents and child and has many useful links as well. You can buy it by pressing on the picture above:-
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