guide to 11 + by region
By Helen Prince
the 11 plus exam in the UK
Our 11 plus exam regions guide is here to help you navigate the 11 plus, region-by-region. You will find information about how and when to register, what exams your children should prepare for and what to consider when applying for schools in different counties.
By the end of the 1970s, both Wales and Scotland phased out grammar schools. This means the 11 plus exam in Wales no longer exists. However, grammar schools remain an important part of the education system in Northern Ireland, though the 11+ exam was discontinued in 2008. Today, the selective assessment for Northern Irish grammar schools is known as the ‘transfer test’.
Across England, the 11+ exam is still the standard entry exam for grammar schools, but the exam varies depending on region. Different regions and districts use different exam boards, and have distinct registration processes. The type of exams, entry conditions and registration process can all change, so please ensure you check the latest information with the school you are applying for.
SOUTH EAST ENGLAND
Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Medway Towns, Reading and Slough
11 plus exam in Buckinghamshire:
When can you take the 11 plus exam in Buckinghamshire?
The Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test (formerly known as 11+) is typically taken in September of Year 6. The grammar schools in Buckinghamshire work together under The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS), meaning there is only one test.
The Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test is produced by GL Assessment.
11 plus exam in Hertfordshire:
When can you take the 11 plus exam in Hertfordshire?
The 11 plus exam in Hertfordshire is unique, because there are no traditional grammar schools remaining in the county. Instead, schools in Hertfordshire are selective and choose only part of their intake through entrance exams.
The 11 plus exam still takes place in September of Year 6, but parents will need to register their children in May or June.
Each school in Hertfordshire has their own admission requirements, with many having additional criteria such as postcodes. This means, you will need to familiarise yourself with each school’s conditions.
11 plus exam in Kent:
When can you take the 11 plus exam in Kent?
The 11 plus exam dates for 2023 in Kent vary depending on your location. If you want your children to attend a grammar school in Kent in September, the applications open around the first week of June.
Kent is the largest grammar school area in the country, and the 11 plus exam is known as the ‘Kent Test’. The Kent Test is written by GL Assessment, especially for schools in the county of Kent. Schools in Kent Medway have different assessments and application processes.
11 plus exam in Medway Towns:
The Medway District has its own council, which means it has a separate grammar school entrance procedure from the rest of Kent. GL Assessment provides the assessment papers for the Medway area. Children usually sit the exam in mid-September of Year 6. The exact dates depend on your location. Some children will sit the tests at their primary schools, while others (from outside Medway) will sit them at the Medway Test Centre.
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11 plus exam in Reading and Slough:
The 11 plus exam in Reading and the 11 plus exam in Slough are both directed by Berkshire council. Since 2014, grammar schools in Reading and Slough have used CEM (The Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) assessments by University Cambridge Press.
The four grammar schools in Slough form the Slough Grammar School Consortium. They all use the same assessment paper but require separate applications.
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LONDON AND SURREY
Barnet, Bexley, Bromley, Enfield, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, Sutton
11 plus exam in Barnet:
Registration for grammar schools in Barnet begins in the late spring, before the September exam. GL assessment is most often used, but some schools use CEM or school-written materials. It’s important to find out which papers the school you’re applying to uses, so that you can guide your children’s preparations.
11 plus exam in Bexley:
In Bexley, the selection tests are written by CEM. The 11 plus exam dates in 2022, in Bexley were:
- Registration opens on the 3rd of May
- Registration closes on the 1st of July
- Examinations take place the week commencing the 12th of September
- Results will be given during October
11 plus exam in Bromley:
Each grammar school in Bromley does the 11 plus exam slightly differently. St Olave’s has two rounds of testing. The first round uses the school’s own Selective Eligibility Test, then pupils who reach their standard are invited to sit the 11 plus exam, written by GL Assessments.
The Newstead Wood School invites girls in their nine-mile catchment zone to sit their entry exam, before opening up their applications to a wider catchment area.
11 plus exam in Enfield:
There is only one grammar school in the London Borough of Enfield. The window for registration is the 11th of May to the 11th of June. Children will sit verbal reasoning and mathematics papers, written by GL Assessments, and an English paper set by the school. be assessed by the school’s own written material.
11 plus exam in Kingston-upon-Thames:
Although a borough of London, grammar schools in Kingston-upon-Thames sit within the Surrey 11+ region (see below for more information). There is high competition in Surrey for places in schools, so all schools have a two-round entry process. Both rounds of examinations are written by GL Assessments. In Kingston-upon-Thames, the registration deadline isn’t until the first day in September, which is much later than the majority of registration periods.
11 plus exam in Redbridge:
The two grammar schools in Redbridge both use the CEM exam board and the 11 plus exam is taken in mid-September.
11 plus exam in Surrey:
The two districts that fall within the Surrey 11+ region are Kingston-upon-Thames and Sutton. Both of these districts require children to go through a two-round assessment process, with successful candidates from the first round being invited to sit the second.
11 plus exam in Sutton:
All grammar schools in Sutton have the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test (SET), which consists of two papers. The first paper is a 45-minute-long English test, the second paper is a 40-50 minute maths test. Successful students will then be asked to sit exams for round two, which are usually two written papers in maths and English. The 11 plus exam in Sutton does not include verbal or non-verbal reasoning questions, and the Sutton Grammar School, Wilson’s School and Wallington County Grammar School do not have multiple choice questions.
Essex, Southend-on-Sea, Colchester
11 plus exam in Essex:
The 10 grammar schools in Essex are known as the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE). The Chelmsford County High School for Girls (CCHS) is the only exception; it is a grammar school as well, but is not part of the CSSE.
The CSSE have their own exam papers, which consist of two papers; one in maths and one in English. Each is 50% of the marks.
The 11 plus exam in Colchester
is a CSSE written exam. There are two grammar schools in Colchester (one for girls and one for boys) and both schools are within the CSSE.
When is the 11 plus exam in Essex?
The CCHS entry exam date is usually in the second week of September. All the schools within the CSSE sit their exams the 3rd week of September.
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How can you help your children prepare for 11 plus exams that aren’t written by CEM or GL Assessments? Read our 11 + preparation guide for more information.
11 plus exam in Southend-on-Sea:
Grammar schools in Southend-on-Sea are part of the CSSE and conform to the CSSE application process. For children to sit the 11 plus exam in Southend-on-Sea, parents must apply to both the school and register on the CSSE website.
SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
Bournemouth, Devon, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Plymouth, Poole, Torbay, Wiltshire
11 plus exam Bournemouth:
If you want your children to attend a grammar school in Bournemouth, they will need to sit the 11 plus exam. Grammar schools in Bournemouth belong to the Dorset Consortium. Each school in the Dorset Consortium uses the ‘Dorset Consortium 11 plus exam’ which is provided by GL Assessments. These assessments include examinations in maths and English, as well as a verbal reasoning test.
11 plus exam in Devon:
The 11 plus exam in Devon is used by Colyton grammar school and schools in Torbay. Assessments are carried out using CEM tests, which look at verbal ability, non-verbal reasoning and numerical knowledge. If you want your children to sit the 11 plus exam in Torbay, you will need to apply via the Torbay Council website and then apply to the school separately.
Grammar schools in Plymouth, use GL assessments and often an English test of their own. The English and maths examinations are sat on different dates, usually a week apart.
11 plus exam in Gloucestershire:
There are seven grammar schools that use the 11 plus exam in Gloucestershire. All seven schools use the CEM exam board. There are two papers, both around 45 minutes long, and these are taken on the same day.
Gloucestershire is a highly competitive area for grammar school attendance, so many children begin 11 plus examination preparation as early as possible. Gloucestershire’s grammar schools do not consider sibling priority or catchment restrictions. With this in mind, there is an 11 plus exam forum for Gloucestershire where parents can find additional information and resources.
The 11 plus exam in Gloucestershire usually takes place in September. The results will be announced in mid-October.
11 plus exam in Hampshire:
The 11 plus exam in Hampshire doesn’t exist, as it does in other countries. There are no grammar schools in Hampshire that have the 11 plus exam. Portsmouth Grammar School is the only recognised grammar school in the county, being an independent school, admissions are very different from traditional grammar schools. As part of their application process, students are asked in for an interview. Following the interview, successful students will be asked to sit the school’s own assessments in January.
There are many independent schools in Hampshire that require entry examinations, but these are different to the 11 plus exam.
11 plus exam in Wiltshire:
There are two grammar schools in Wiltshire, both located in Salisbury. For the boys’ school, registration opens in April and the CEM exam board is used for the 11 plus examination. The examination consists of two papers, both assessing verbal and non-verbal reasoning and numerical knowledge. For the girls’ school, registration begins in June and GL Assessments are used for the 11 plus exam. Three papers are taken, one on English, one on maths and one assessing verbal reasoning.
Both schools have their exams in early September.
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11 plus exam in Lincolnshire:
15 out of 16 grammar schools in Lincolnshire make up the Lincolnshire Consortium of Grammar Schools. All schools within the consortium use GL Assessment papers.
Caistor Grammar School is not part of the consortium, so applicants will need to take a separate test written by the school.
The GL Assessments for the Lincolnshire Consortium focus on testing verbal and non-verbal reasoning.
Birmingham, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton
11 plus exam in Birmingham:
There are eight grammar schools in the city of Birmingham that use the 11 plus exam. The eight schools form the Birmingham Consortium, and all have the same exam papers written by GL Assessments. The Birmingham 11 plus test consists of two hour-long papers.
Registration opens in May and closes at the end of June. Exams are usually in mid-September.
11 plus exam in Warwickshire:
In Warwickshire, there are six grammar schools that have the 11 plus exam. However, the six schools are divided into two separate admission areas, these are: Southern Area Grammar Schools and Eastern Area Grammar Schools.
Notably, both admission areas prioritise catchment areas in their criteria. The Warwickshire Consortium of grammar schools have the same exam board and exam dates as the Birmingham Consortium, which means you can combine your Warwickshire and Birmingham registrations and applications. The GL Assessments in the 11 plus exam for Warwickshire are split into two papers and take a multiple choice format.
The 11 plus exam date for Warwickshire in 2022 was the 17th of September. The registration period for the 11 plus exam in Warwickshire 2022 was between May and June.
11 plus exam in Shropshire, Walsall and Wolverhampton:
The Shropshire, Walsall and Wolverhampton Consortium consists of all grammar schools in these counties and districts. There are five grammar schools in this consortium in total, and each use the SWW Consortium 11 plus test. This test is written by the CEM exam board and consists of two papers. Children usually sit these tests in the 2nd or 3rd week of September.
There is an oversubscription priority criteria in place, which prioritises people in the local catchment area.
Calderdale, Kirklees, North Yorkshire
11 plus exam in Calderdale:
The 11 plus exam in Halifax and Calderdale are within the West Yorkshire admissions process. To register for West Yorkshire grammar schools, applications need to be sent in April.
The 11 plus exam in Halifax and Calderdale is written by GL Assessments and includes two papers. The paper 1 examines English and verbal reasoning, whereas paper 2 examines maths and non-verbal reasoning. The 11 plus exam will be is usually sat at the end of September.
11 plus exam in Kirklees:
Kirklees has its own admissions process, separate from West and North Yorkshire. The grammar school in Kirklees uses an exam by GL Assessments, which students will sit towards the end of September.
11 plus exam in North Yorkshire:
There are three grammar schools that use the North Yorkshire admissions process. To apply to these schools, you will need to go through the North Yorkshire County Council website. Similarly, to the other grammar schools in Yorkshire, GL Assessments is the chosen exam board. However, the papers, as well as the subjects examined, are different per school. For example, Ripon Grammar School has two multiple-choice papers on verbal and non-verbal reasoning, whereas Skipton Girls’ High School has three multiple-choice papers in English, maths and verbal reasoning. The dates for the 11 plus exam in North Yorkshire also vary, depending on the individual school.
NORTH WESTERN ENGLAND
Cumbria, Lancashire, Liverpool, Trafford, Wirral
11 plus exam in Cumbria and Lancashire:
Cumbria and Lancashire have five grammar schools across the region, and they form the Lancashire and Cumbria consortium. Despite being a consortium, they use different exam boards. Lancashire’s grammar schools use GL Assessments, whereas Cumbria grammar schools use CEM.
11 plus exam in Trafford:
The exam board and exam paper for the 11 plus exam in Manchester vary depending on whether the grammar school is in the Trafford Consortium or not. The 11 plus exam for Trafford is written by CEM. The Trafford Grammar School CEM Consortium (TGSCC), consists of five grammar schools and these have a combined testing procedure. The other two grammar schools in Manchester use GL Assessments, though the subjects examined depend on the school.
The exam dates for the TGSCC are usually in mid-September.
11 plus exam in Liverpool and The Wirral:
There is one grammar school in Liverpool and six in The Wirral. The Wirral Local Authority run the admissions procedures for four of the schools in The Wirral, while St Anselm’s College and Upton Hall School manage their own admissions procedures. St Anselm’s College and Upton Hall School have assessments that are administered by the school, whereas the other four grammar schools use the 11 plus exam by GL Assessments.
Exam dates for all of the grammar schools in The Wirral usually take place in mid or late September. The exact dates depend on the school.
The 11 plus exam in Liverpool is set in-house, with one test on English and one on Maths.
Hopefully this guide has helped you understand the various application procedures for counties grammar schools across England. For more information on how to apply to your chosen school, we recommend you contacting the school directly to ensure you have the most up to date information..
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