Eleven Plus Advice

11+Exam Blog by Stephen McConkey MA(Ed)

Free AQE Test Papers and free GL papers.
Getting Children to think.
What is the 11+ exam?
What is the cost of private schools in the UK?
How will a private tutor help my child pass the 11+ exams?
Could you pass the 11-plus?
How does online elevenplus exams practice differ from pencil and paper practice?
How to do Verbal Reasoning for the 11+ exam?
The 11+ test in Birmingham.
Advice on the 11+ in Kent. 
How can I motivate my child for the eleven plus exam?

Free AQE Test Papers and free GL papers.                   

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This is the question that everyone is asking. It looked like at one stage that the elevenplus exam in Northern Ireland was finished and as a selection test set by the Department of Education it has finished.


The grammar school lobby in Northern Ireland is a very strong body and they now run their own 11+ exam, or should I say exams, and it is known locally as the Transfer Test or the Northern Ireland transfer test.


There are two exam bodies – one known as AQE (Association of Quality Education), this group sets papers that are known as the AQE papers and the other group called the PPTC (Post Primary Transfer Consortium) sets papers known as GL papers. So each group sets its own 11+ transfer test and since the test is relatively new to the area the availability of free AQE test papers and free GL papers is very limited.


Many Local Education Authorities in England use some combination of Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, English, Mathematics and Science questions. The format of the examination set by each Local Education Authority can vary in the type of question, the number of questions set and the method of answering multiple-choice versus traditional answers.


For many years the 11 plus examinations (also known as the Transfer Test) in Northern Ireland consisted of Verbal Reasoning papers but in recent years the examination has been based on English and Mathematics – this is further complicated by the fact that one exam body uses standard format papers while the other uses multiple-choice papers.


These transfer tests are not compulsory and In September of the child's primary seven year parents are given the choice as to whether their child should sit the 11 plus or not, taking the examination is not compulsory.


Some children end up sitting 5 exam papers during the tests which are taken on Saturdays, usually in November/December, in various grammar schools and not in the primary school.


The questions in both exams will be quite demanding and primary schools are discouraged from preparing their pupils for these Transfer Tests but parents wanting to prepare their children for theses transfer tests need practice material but whether it is of free AQE test papers and free GL papers or paid for material there is a shortage of good quality material on the market.


If you are searching for of Free AQE Test Papers and free GL papers the Belfast Telegraph have, in the past, given free material with their newspaper. A series of 5 or 6 free papers is useful but probably not enough content for a full blown preparation plan.


Some local publishing houses offer free samples on their websites. One such company is Learning Together who offer free 11+ samples for both exam bodies. Another potential source is the internet. Online elevenplus exams practice is becoming more common and many of these sites may offer free 11+ sample questions.


Just google  Online elevenplus exams , see what you find and follow the links. If you do find any suitable material please let others know.
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Getting Children to think.

Stephen McConkey, an experienced head teacher and co-author of the Learning Together series of verbal and non-verbal reasoning series, asks us to think about thinking.

 "Think about it John!" - A reasonable approach 

"Think about it John!" or "You're not thinking Mary!" How often in a school day would we hear this 'chant' or should it be this 'rant' from our teaching staff? 

Scientific research has shown us the various ways in which our brains learn - visual, auditory, tactile and so on and educationalists tell us how this knowledge can guide our teaching styles - a class of 30 pupils requiring 30 different styles - do you recognise the picture? 

As a school staff we sat down to analyse our internal school exam results and it was obvious to all that 'Problem Solving' was indeed a problem!  So we asked the question "Why is this so?"

Heated debate followed with various reasons offered including - "Our children don't think!" or "Our pupils are from a deprived area and are less able!"  I couldn't and, as a self -respecting head teacher, wouldn't accept the second premise.  The first theory, however, did catch my attention - "Our children don't think!" 

If this is the case and it obviously is, why does it happen?  As a province with a population of approximately 1 ½ million we have a grammar school selection system which until relatively recently was based on Verbal Reasoning tests (verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests are still widely used in many areas of England and Scotland as a selection tool at 11+ and 12+) 

I don't wish to comment on the debate surrounding grammar school selection tests at 11 years or 12 years except to recount the comment of a senior member of our staff - "At least when we had the 11+ Verbal Reasoning tests we had to teach the pupils to think!" 

How much of the truth is held in the last 8 words of this statement?  As a staff we wanted to unpick the issues and if there was a problem - how could we fix it? 

The reality began to dawn on myself and my staff that we really do not teach our pupils to think or reason yet we expect them to be able to do it –“naturally”.  We wouldn't consider the premise that a year 1 or Year 2 pupil can read “naturally” and therefore not teach him/her to read.  We wouldn't consider telling a pupil to enter the swimming pool with the misguided belief that he / she can swim – “naturally” - no, we would teach them to swim.  We teach lots of different, perhaps isolated 'things' in a school but I'm not sure that we teach our pupils to think or reason and this should be our number one priority. 

Most teachers have made their way through into adult life without ever having been taught to think and will have developed their thinking skills primarily through a process of trial and error.  Intrinsic to this process is the error or failure element - so devastating to all people especially young primary school children.  If we knew that we wouldn't fail we would try everything!  We all know our pupils fear failure and so don't or won't try new or different things. We ask pupils to think and reason yet give them little or no guidance or teaching in this central issue. 

The list and type of thinking and reasoning skills demanded of pupils is daunting and includes :-

Information - processing skills allowing pupils to analyse information, sort data and classify items.

Questioning skills - allowing pupils to plan, predict outcomes and define problems (not just ask why? why? why?)

Creative skills - allowing pupils to express and extend new and current ideas.

Reasoning Skills - allowing pupils to make informed decisions based on reasons and evidence.

The list is huge yet we send pupils into this educational minefield with little or no teaching in the area of thinking or reasoning. 

One member of our staff has just returned from teaching in Australia in a school which taught some aspect of 'thinking' each and every week.  We are currently using her skills and knowledge to introduce some aspects of this to our own school.  She is introducing a collection of up to ten different approaches to help pupils think and reason out a problem. Included in this are many simple techniques that would have been 'taught' during preparation for verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests - the type of tests used for grammar school selection.  Taught strategies will now include making a table, making a list, looking for patterns, making pictures and diagrams and brainstorming involving pupils and staff. All skills of the type taught to pupils being prepared for 11+ or 12+ examinations. 

We don't expect dramatic and sudden changes but we are looking for positive long-term improvements in our pupil's ability to think and reason.  This new approach cannot be poured over the school community to get a quick fix but will require time to become integrated into the day-to-day process of education. 

The teaching of pupils to think is represented by a strong movement in America going under many titles including 'Critical Thinking' (key 'critical thinking' into Google and you get nearly 4 million results).  This group, a very large group, reason that if you teach children to think in a 'critical' manner then you can add significantly to the vocational and personal success of pupils.  Critical thinking will help with assessment as pupils analyse and assess their own work in all spheres of school life.  Raising self esteem and the importance of the individual are central to critical thinking and it should not be seen as an isolated skill but as something central to the whole process of education.  The ability to think critically across all subject matter and curricular areas is something that isn't natural but must be taught - the two skills of thinking and questioning go hand in hand. 

Taken to its highest level when pupils are taught to think and reason then they are better placed to reason their actions against the expected outcomes and this can reduce poor behaviour in school and anti-social behaviour in society. 

 Pupils sitting grammar school selection tests will have been prepared for the exam and taught to 'think' as they are taught to reason out verbal and non-verbal reasoning questions.  Is this why grammar school pupils are less likely to be involved in violence and anti-social behaviour?  Has initial teaching in the art and skill of thinking via verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests been carried forward into post-primary schools and into adult life where they think about the consequences of their actions? 

Simplistic I know but is there an element of truth here and was my teacher correct when she said, "At least when we had the 11+ verbal reasoning tests we had to teach them to think!" 

Teach them to think positively and not to fear failure. 

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What is the 11+ exam?


The Eleven plus test is a test given to pupils in their last year of primary school (year 6 in England and year 7 in Northern Ireland) and is used as a means to determine whether that pupil is suited to the academic rigours of a grammar school education. In other words will he/she be offered a place in the grammar school of their parent's choice? Since the early 1970s many areas of the United Kingdom have not used the Eleven plus exam and have favoured a comprehensive education system that is non-selective. However, there are still a considerable number of Local Authorities (LAs), Foundation Schools, independent schools and private schools that still admit pupils based on selection by the test known as the Elevenplus exam, usually at age 11.

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What is the cost of private schools in the UK?


Have you wondered how rich you should be to send children to private schools in the UK? Fees can be anywhere between £3000 and £10000 per term so with easy calculations you can see that the cost of a full 6 or 7 years at private school could exceed £100k.

Even allowing for wide gaps in income the costs of private education are very high. At present about 7% of children go to private schools and some will enter by way of an elevenplus exam while for others their parents have to pay the full fees.

It is often a widely held concept that many of these parents live on and have a huge "inherited" wealth; however this may not always be the case. It is true that some are using “old money” but other parents have huge earnings and use some of this to get what they see as a good education.

London has many private schools were fees can be very high but often passing the entrance exam (often called the 11+ exam) can gain some form of scholarship which will reduce fees quite dramatically. With two or more children in private education these costs can spiral ever upwards.

So how do those who are not extremely rich meet the costs?   

How parents fund these fees vary from parent to parent. The first port of call is usually having their child sit a variety of entrance exams or the elevenplus exam because success in the eleven plus can reduce fees quite dramatically.

Home preparation or private tuition can increase a child’s chances of success in these challenging selection tests. Parents are willing to spend a lot of money on preparing for these exams and are often spending hundreds if not thousands of pounds on verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning practice materials. A new area of spend is using the internet for onlineelevenplusexams practice. Parents really can feel that this is an expensive but worthwhile use of money.

If a child doesn’t pass their eleven plus despite all the preparation funding can come from other sources. It is not uncommon for both parents to work and for the parents to live on the father's income and use the mother's income to pay the fees.

In other cases grandparents pay the school fees perhaps more so if they had their own children in private school and want the same for their grandchildren

Yet another case is where the parents literally spend every penny on school fees and have sacrificed all other spend on holidays and other consumables.

Some parents reckoned that if annual school fees cost around £30 000 and to pay it out of your wages as well as a mortgage, food, clothes and other essentials you need to be earning, between you, at least £115,000+ and even then you may be spending half your income on fees!  

While 7% is an average and the proportion in prep schools may be much lower than that, the numbers in 6th form are pushing 20%. There is often no automatic transfer from the prep school to the “big school” and often the only way is by selection in other words the elevenplus exam and this is where parents will spend on preparation, tutoring or online elevenplus exams practice.

There is no 'typical' way of paying private school fees and there are stories of fathers who worked days and drove cabs until the early hours and weekends to finance a decent education.

With these high costs many parents opt for state grammar schools which have no annual fees or small fees but entrance to these schools is almost always by means of the elevenplus exam selection test and parents are aware that preparation for the eleven plus is crucial and many parents ask How do I prepare for the Elevenplus exam?

Clearly there are massive differences in the wealth of parents who send their child to private school but for many paying for private education is completely out of the question no matter how much they scrimp and save.

The next best option may be a place in a state grammar school with elevenplus selection a key element. 

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How will a private tutor help my child pass the 11+ exams?


This really is the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Many parents send their child to private tutors either one to one or in a small group. In preparing your child for his or her 11+ exams you must be certain that the person that you entrust your child to is honest, trustworthy and does not present any threat to your child's safety and that you will get value for money. Sitting in a group of 15 or 20 pupils is not much different from being in a school classroom and personal attention to your child may be limited.

So that’s the nuts and bolts of it but what should you expect from a private tutor and will a private tutor help my child pass the 11+ exams?.

The tutor’s learning program for any eleven plus Maths or elevenplus English preparation should be designed to achieve the maximum effect in improving your child’s understanding of these 2 core subjects. The teaching and expected learning outcomes should both be structured in such a way that learning builds on learning from one week to the next week. As topics get more difficult the learning outcomes should dovetail into each other.

Ideally any private tutor should develop the child’s desire and enthusiasm to learn fostering self-learning skills and developing skills and knowledge perhaps not yet covered at school. Eleven plus Maths or elevenplus English are core subjects that will be well covered in any school and not just for the 11+exam.

The real challenge for any 11+ private tutor is to teach the child Verbal Reasoning for the 11+ and 
Non-verbal Reasoning for the elevenplus. This may provide students the opportunity to study material they have not been really been taught before. Many schools and LEAs actively discourage any form of preparation for the elevenplusexam and this is where a private tutor might earn his (or her) money.

Opinions vary as to when to start preparing a child for this demanding test. Some tutors recommend at least a year in advance, others say 2 or even 3 years a head of the test. There can be no definitive answer to this as the ability, interest and knowledge of children will vary greatly but remember tat to aprivate tutor “time is money”. When to start really is a question for the parents who know their child best. A private tutor should probably be attempting to raise the level of work to a level higher than that of their current school grade.

You should remember that the eleven plus exam is a very demanding exam and while a private tutor may help your child there can be no guarantees that they will ensure that your child passes the 11+ exams.  

Any tuition for 11+ Verbal Reasoning and 11+ Non-verbal Reasoning should be specifically designed to match the style of questions or every exact topic covered in the 11+ exam that your child will sit. Remember that these 11+ papers can vary widely for county to county or school to school. Some schools now set online elevenplus exams and so clearly preparation of this type would be essential. 

As the parent you should always make sure that you know what the content of the eleven plus paper is. 

The bar will be set very high in what students are expected to achieve and often in a relatively short period of time. To a private tutor time is money and ensure that you get value for money as there are many good “How to Do Verbal Reasoning” type books on the market. A competent and interested parent can often “tutor” their own child using these books. 

A small company - Learning Together - produce a very good range of “How to” type books that will guide parents through these subjects. 

Equipped with this knowledge you now are better placed to answer your own question. So “How will a private tutor help my child pass the 11+ exams?” 

The answer is not clear but however attending a good tutor will usually be very beneficial for your child and recommendations from friends and family can be a useful way to link to a good tutor.

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Could you pass the 11-plus?


Well why not have a short try and experience the stress and pressure that your child will face in what is often called a high stakes 11+ exam. Many years ago, about 40 years now, the government began abolishing state sponsored elevenplus exams which selected children for grammar. 

Public opinion is still very divided on this emotional 11+ exam. Parents and teachers still have mixed and often opposing opinions. Some say it improves social mobility while others say it only confirms the social split in our country.  

There are adults who will praise the 11+ exam explaining just how good it was for them and others who suggest that they were devastated when they failed. 

But how difficult was it?


I found a rather dated but still very relevant onlineelevenplus exam on the BBC web site. It is only a test of 15 questions in 10 minutes as compared to what a child might face – upto 100 questions in 60 minutes.


At one time the eleven plus exam was taken by almost every child in the UK but now the numbers are considerably fewer with many LEAs not setting this high stakes 11plus examination.


The exam, which most children were required to take in their final year of primary school, decided what sort of school a child’s parents could select for him or her. Those who passed could elect to go to grammar schools, while those who failed didn't have this same choice.

In England, 164 grammar schools remain, and pupils wishing to attend must still pass an 11 plusexam and competition for these places is fierce, selective schools report that they might have as many as 10 applicants for each place available.


With competition for places so high parents will spend thousands of pounds on private tuition to help their children prepare for this demanding eleven plus exam. ( We are talking about state grammars here and the demand and competition for entrance to Private school is every bit as high.)


The elevenplus exam in Northern Ireland still exists and it is know as the Transfer Test. Here the tests are set by two bodies, AQE (Association of Quality Education) and PPTC (Post Primary Transfer Consortium). Parents choose whether their child sits these tests.


You probably think that you are smarter than your 10 or 11 year old child so without paying a penny to a private teacher or without any preparation, you can have a go at the BBC’s short onlineeleven plus exams.

Follow this link:- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7773974.stm


You will have 10 minutes to answer 15 questions. Click the "start" button and begin.


Best of luck!

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How does online elevenplus exams practice differ from pencil and paper practice?


Many anxious parents and teachers ask this question and clearly there are a number of differences between the two practice systems. What pencil and paper practice offers is fairly obvious but subscribing to an online elevenplus exams practice platform should mean that your child gets easy and instant access to a wide variety of questions.

With an online 11+ system they can access the practice anywhere that they can connect to the internet and this of course means anywhere and anytime. These online elevenplus sites are ideal for practicing when on holiday and you don’t want the hassle of taking books with you.

A quality product will instantly mark the practice test and give instant, relevant and professional feedback on their answers. This feedback is central to improving your child’s chances of passing their 11+exam. The better ones will often email details of what ever 11+ practice the child has just taken to a chosen email address.

We all know that “Practice makes perfect” but more accurately “Practice, the results of which are known, makes perfect.” It is feedback on practicing Verbal reasoning for the eleven plus or whatever other 11+ subject that a child is practicing that will improve performance and therefore 11+ scores. Relevant online feedback is essential.

Preparing for this demanding 11+ exam does require a lot of time and effort by both parent and child and one big plus of an onlineelevenplus exam platform is that it will mark any papers immediately. This can be important as marking these practice tests can be very time consuming and when a parent is busy can become an onerous task.

A good online 11+ exam site will allow a child to try out different answers, repeat the same Non-Verbal Reasoning 11+ questions and other elevenplus questions or practice the same test again and again and see their score immediately.

Seeing their scores improve and receiving good feedback for areas that they are weak at can be highly motivating. I cannot emphasis how important feedback on how to do elevenplus exams questions really is.

Many of these sites use a computer based online11+exam system that is based on the child choosing his/her answer from 4 or 5 options. This is known as multiple-choice and these sites often encourage a child to “click and go” quickly to the next question without any real learning.

Some of the actual 11+ exams are of this type but when preparing for an online exam a child must learn to work out the answer and not just guess or choose any answer.

Online elevenplus sites offer a different means of preparing for the 11+ exam that is often more interesting for a child who is very “computer savvy.” They can help your child stay motivated during practice sessions for the 11 Plus.

In particular, if subscribing to one of these online 11+exams sites, look out for a wide variety of question types, immediate marking, instant and relevant feedback, the ability to practice any question type over and over again and as the child improves their understanding and knowledge the online eleven plus site should provide the ability for the child to take a timed test of 50 or 100 questions. These timed tests will help prepare your child for the actual 11+ papers they will be asked to sit.

Combining online11+ papers with pencil and paper preparation is possibly the optimum way to prepare your child for their elevenplus exam. Some companies such as Learning Together provide material for the 11+ exam using both an online 11+ platform and a wide range of eleven plus books.
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How to do Verbal Reasoning for the 11+ exam?

Verbal Reasoning questions will be used by almost all Local Authorities or grammar schools for the 11+ exam or entrance examination. It is one aspect of the 11+ that can be practiced and a child’s skills should improve. It is important to realise that not all schools' 11+ papers will use the same format to test Verbal Reasoning. Some will employ a multiple-choice format for answers;(this is where a child chooses the answer from 4 or 5 given answers) and some will use standard format VR questions where the child works out the answer and then writes it in the space provided. It is known that the type of Verbal Reasoning papers vary greatly across the country. 

From the outset it is important to understand “What sort of elevenplus exam will my child take?” You must research what sort of 11+ exam your child is taking. Some schools use papers prepared by external companies while some write their own 11plus papers, yet others use the same paper for a consortium of schools such as the consortium of grammar schools in Birmingham and the consortium of grammar schools in Essex, and yet others use computer based online eleven plus exams.  

Not often taught in schools as part of the curriculum elevenplus Verbal Reasoning questions will be composed of a variety of questions – many of which are word based. So the first thing is to encourage your child to read widely as this will expose them to a wide variety of words and their meanings.

From this extensive reading your child will begin to learn about anagrams, synonyms and antonyms, homophones and word to letter connections. 

There are 21 types of Verbal Reasoning question that are commonly used in the elevenplus exams however there may be at least 35 – 40 (or more!) different versions of 11plus questions. As outlined above the majority of these Verbal Reasoning papers will be language based and hence the name “Verbal Reasoning.” 

Can your child spot smaller words hidden in larger words? Can they add one letter and make four new words? They will need to as these are the type of questions that they will need to understand and be able to complete quickly and accurately. 

Your child can develop these verbal skills by trying games and puzzles, especially word related puzzles. Games such as Scrabble are ideal for developing a child’s vocabulary for this very demanding 11+ test and of course they must read widely. 

Other question types will require a good vocabulary and accurate spelling skills. There are many ways of practicing for these questions, from “How to do Verbal Reasoning Books”   technique books through to online elevenplus exams VR tests.  

Practice is important and a child can learn the technique to approach a particular question type but in reality even if the child has generated the correct answer he may not recognise it as the correct answer if he has not got a sufficiently large vocabulary. The Learning Together technique books give good practice and advice on how to do Verbal reasoning. 

As well as these word based questions your child will also be asked to complete mathematics based VR questions such as  number series, complete the middle number from the outside numbers  and word-number codes as well as straight forward mathematical equations. Strange to see maths based questions in a Verbal Reasoning 11+ paper but there you are! Clearly a sound knowledge of all aspects of maths is also required. 

Research shows that Verbal Reasoning Skills can be developed by practicing and you will need to start your 11+ training in good time. Many suggest the end of Year 4 or the beginning of Year 5 – however you will know your child best so do enough extra work but be careful not to overload! 

Make use of a comprehensive range of exam preparation activities and materials and ensure that the correct means of answering- multiple-choice answers or standard format answers - is included in any preparation scheme.  It is important to ensure that your child has extensive practice and testing in all 21 Verbal Reasoning question types and any other areas which fall under the title of Verbal Reasoning. 

Computer based online eleven plus exams offer good practice which will give a well-earned break from the monotony of pencil and paper based preparation and they can be completed anywhere at any time. This form of practice can be very potent in helping your child realise his or her full potential.
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The 11+ test in Birmingham.

The Grammar schools in Birmingham have formed a consortium of grammar schools and all schools administer the same elevenplus exam. In recent years the 11+ exam has been taken one morning in September.
The child will sit two tests each lasting approximately 45 minutes. The four areas of Verbal reasoning for the 11+, Non-verbal reasoning, Mathematics and Reading comprehension/literacy skills will all be tested.
The papers are divided into smaller, individually timed sections that test all the areas listed above.

Children write their answers in the test booklets and most of the test questions are in multiple-choice format. The marks will then be standardised to take account of differences in age and then added together.

When you complete a registration form you will then be sent sample elevenplus questions. There are a range of publications, available from leading bookshops and online elevenplus exams platforms that are designed to help parents prepare their child for the Grammar schools in Birmingham school admission tests.

Interestingly you do not have to live in Birmingham in order to apply for your child to sit the 11+ exam and it is worth noting that there are no fees to attend any of the Grammar schools in Birmingham. 

Practice papers for the elevenplus exams
How can I prepare my child for the elevenplus exam is the question that many parents will inevitably ask. The schools do not keep past papers and so these are not available from other sources. The best a parent can do is research the content of the 11plus test and source similar material either in shops or on the internet.

Neither individual schools nor the consortium of grammar schools actively encourage private coaching or tuition though elevenplus preparation will usually help a child improve their skill levels and understanding of eg How to do Verbal Reasoning.

The Grammar Schools in Birmingham do not in any way endorse or recommend any publisher or company offering practice material, tuition or revision courses for children to assist in preparing them for grammar school selection tests.

Special arrangements
There are special arrangements if, for example, your child is unable to sit tests on Saturdays for religious reasons. In this case the Grammar Schools in Birmingham will be able to arrange an alternative date. However you must mark this on the registration form and provide a supporting letter from your religious leader.

If you are seeking special arrangements because your child has a disability and/or requires special resources to sit the 11plus test, then you must complete the relevant elevenplus application form, describing your child’s disability and supplying relevant medical evidence. NO form then NO consideration for special circumstances to sit the eleven plus exam for Grammar Schools in Birmingham. If your child is ill on the day of the test then you must inform the administrators as a matter of urgency.

The selection procedure

Pupils are admitted to each school on their performance in the 11plus test. Applicants are then ranked according to their test score and then each school provides and applies its own criteria when scores are equal.

King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys
Looked after children and previously looked after children
Children registered for Pupil Premium (those in receipt or who have received FSM in last 6 years)

Those who live nearest to the school
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls
Looked after children and previously looked after children
Children registered for Pupil Premium (those in receipt or who have received FSM in last 6 years)

Those who live nearest to the school
King Edward VI Five Ways (co-ed)
Looked after children and previously looked after children
Children registered for Pupil Premium (those in receipt or who have received FSM in last 6 years)

Those who live nearest to the school
King Edward VI Aston (boys)
Looked after children and previously looked after children
Children registered for Pupil Premium (those in receipt or who have received FSM in last 6 years)

Those who live nearest to the school
King Edward VI Handsworth (girls)
Looked after children and previously looked after children
Children registered for Pupil Premium (those in receipt or who have received FSM in last 6 years)

Those who live nearest to the school
Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls
Looked after children and previously looked after children
Children registered for Pupil Premium (those in receipt or who have received FSM in last 6 years)

Those who live nearest to the school
Bishop Vesey's Grammar (boys)
Looked after children and previously looked after children and then
Those who live nearest to the school

Handsworth Grammar School (boys)
Looked after children and previously looked after children and then

Those who live nearest to the school

This information is given for information only and for full upto date details on the admissions criteria for each of the eight Grammar Schools in Birmingham, please visit the school website or Birmingham LA website.

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Advice on the 11+ test in Kent

If you are considering applying for a place at a Kent grammar school, then you must register your child for the Kent 11+ Test.
The test assesses whether a grammar school is a suitable option for your child and also whether they will be offered a place in a Kent Grammar school.

Kent Count Council are suggesting that they will be making some changes to the Kent elevenplus test this year and they say that this information will be available in May 2014. With such an important exam as this, it is important that parents always check detail of application system, dates, exam content and so on with the LEA or selected school. Do not rely on forums or blogs as a way to obtain this information.

How do I register my child for the Kent 11 plus exam?

You can register your child when they are in year 5 at their primary school. If you live outside of the Kent 11+ area you can still have your child sit the Kent test.

You can register for the elevenplusexam in a number of ways.

Register online between 2 June and 1 July 2014 if your child is due to start secondary school in September 2015.

Register by post:

You will need to download a Kent Test registration form and this will be available on the kent Council website from 2 June 2014.

Keep checking the council website in case there are any changes to dates or procedures.

You can also call 03000 41 21 21 or email  kent.admissions@kent.gov.uk to request an application form.

Children with special educational needs taking the elevenplus exam.

If you feel that your child has special educational needs or requires some sort of special arrangements then you must tell your child's primary school if you plan to register for the Kent Test. You will be asked to confirm this request for special circumstances when you apply for the Kent grammar school tests.

The school and LEA will then work together to decide if your child requires special consideration and if alternative test arrangements need to be made for your child. These special arrangements for a child with special educational needs who is taking the Kent 11plus test might include short rest breaks, additional time to complete the exam or putting the test questions into a different format such as large print size.

If the council cannot make the test accessible to your child then a panel comprising of local headteachers will review our child's school work and attainments in school in order to make the assessment.

What are the dates for the Kent 11 plus exam?

Your child will take the test in year 6 at primary school.

If your child already goes to school in Kent they will sit the test on 10 September 2014.

If your child goes to school outside of Kent they will sit the test on 13 September 2014.

What is tested in the Kent 11 plus exam?

The test consists of three elements:

    • a reasoning paper (multiple choice)

    • a literacy and numeracy paper (multiple choice)

    • a written exercise.

Multiple choice test papers allow for speedy marking by an automated marking machine. The written test is not be marked, but can be used to review borderline cases. This review is carried out by a panel of local headteachers.

What date will I receive the results of the Kent 11+ exam?

This will depend how you registered for the Kent test.

If you registered online you will be emailed the results after 4pm on 15 October 2014. Clearly no exact time can be given as this will depend on many factors including your email service provider. The council will also send these results by first-class post on 15 October 2014.

If you registered by post then you will be sent your child’s results by first-class post on 15 October 2014.

What score is needed to pass the Kent 11 plus test?

The score needed to pass the Kent test will be different every year. If a large number of children score well then the pass mark will be higher. The reverse will be true if lots of children got very low scores, then the pass mark would be lower.

The pass mark is arrived at through a statistical process called standardisation. This where the child’s raw score is adjusted very slightly to allow for a child's age when they took the test. This system allows for a child’s results to be compared with the performance of other children of the same age.

An average standardised score equals 100. Score can range from perhaps 70 at the lower end to 140 at the upper end.  

What if my child passed the Kent 11 plus test?

When you apply for a secondary school place you can name your preferred grammar school or grammar schools.

The school(s) that you have selected will consider your application. Even though your child may have passed the Kent test this does not guarantee your child will be offered a place. It is very possible that more children will have qualified for places than the number of places available. In this case the school will use its admissions criteria to decide which children to offer places to. Acquaint yourself with these admissions criteria because if you are not offered a place at a grammar school you can appeal this decision as to how you meet these criteria or you can explain why you think this grammar school is a suitable option for your child.

What if my child failed or did not take the Kent test?

Do not rely on this blog for definitive information about the Kent test and grammar school selection in Kent. Check all details with the school or with Kent County Council education department.

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How can I motivate my child for the eleven plus exam?

Your child is in Year 5 at primary school and reports from their class teacher suggest that he/she is doing really well. Based on this and your own knowledge of your child and other factors you have entered them for a range of entrance tests for private schools and 11+ tests for state grammar schools.

You are confident that they are capable of passing the 11+ next year (year 6) and will benefit from the education offered by a grammar school or private school.

However even though they are very capable you are finding it hard to motivate your child to prepare for this very demanding elevenplus test – so “How can you motivate your child for the eleven plus exam?”

Each child is very different and we are all motivated by slightly different things. Some thrive on praise while others require encouragement to try new and demanding Verbal Reasoning questions or Non-Verbal Reasoning questions which are question types that the child may not have experienced before and could well be part of the selection test.

You will know your child best and know which method works best with your own child. Any advice offered here or elsewhere can only be general in its terms and parents will need to select what suits their own child.

You need to be aware that your child will be aware of the importance of the 11+ test and it is almost certainly being talked about in their primary school –“Which school are you going to?” type conversations. Is this your first/last/middle child going to senior or private school? These are but two of the many factors that will impact upon your child’s motivation.

In preparing for the elevenplusexam many parents opt for private tutors because either, everyone else seems to be doing it so they want to give their child the same preparation and therefore the same chance or they feel that their child will benefit from some additional help and explanation.

Most 11+ entrance tests require knowledge and skills in Verbal Reasoning and possibility Non-Verbal Reasoning questions. These are skills that are not normally part of the daily school curriculum so the use of a private tutor to prepare for the 11+ test especially in these subject areas can be very valuable. A private tutor working in a one-to-one situation can be extremely motivating for a child – especially if all their friends are being “tutored”.

However one key to motivation is that your child can see they are succeeding and getting better at the various types of eleven plus questions they are learning. As they say, “nothing breeds success like success” and this is also true when preparing for the 11plusexam.

Developing confidence is the expected outcome of all preparation and this confidence will increase when your child receives relevant and professional feedback to her efforts. A capable tutor and parent will and should provide this feedback. It is also worth typing “online eleven plus exams” or similar into Google because there are some good sites that really encourage learning for the 11+ exam and provide very good feedback to support this learning.

Parents are keen to see their child do well and children are keen to please their parents so it has to be a balance between cajoling and encouraging your child to do their best. When appropriate encourage your child when they do well. I have heard of parents offering huge “presents” to their child if they work hard and pass. This may work for some children but my own view is to encourage the effort and hard work not just the outcome.

The individual attention, affection and understanding of a parent will and can do wonders for a child’s confidence. So do not send them off to do a practice test on their own but sit with them as they do the practice. Sitting with them and spending this time sends very positive messages to your child.

As the date of the 11+ approaches your child may suffer from self-doubt and a lack of confidence. This is not uncommon in pupils as this may be the first very important test they have taken. Even very bright children can suffer from this as the 11plus exam approaches. They may be worrying about the future, fearing the changes ahead such as changing school or she may be frightened that they will let you, their family and their teachers down.

This is the time when no amount of preparation or number of private tutors can help and your role as the parent is paramount.  Your focus must be on reassuring them of your unconditional love for them – pass or fail! Reassure them that you are more interested in them as a person rather than for their academic success.

By reminding them of their previous successes while preparing for the eleven plus test their, your belief in them as a person and sharing your excitement about what the future holds for them can all help your child over this difficult period.

Motivating your child is a very personal thing but remember that while the 11plus exam is an important test in deciding on their secondary school there are probably more important things in life!

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Next blog due soonn


What is the Elevenplus Exam?

Some facts on the Elevenplus exam reference to grammar schools, private schools, what is demanded, info. on Verbal reasoning, Non-verbal reasoning etc.

What Areas Still have 11 Plus Exam?

To assist you find your chosen grammar school or area using school grammar school selection tests we have arranged the information into regions.

How to Prepare for the  Eleven Plus Exam.

Some thoughts on how to prepare, parental support, what the school might/might not do, online learning etc.

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