FAQs about the 11+
What is the 11+?
The 11+ is a selective exam which children can take in Year 6 in some areas of the country. It determines which children should attend grammar schools from Year 7.
Do all children take the 11+?
No, in the 1970s, all children took the exam in their final year of primary school but this is no longer the case.
Children do not take the 11+ in areas where the grammar school system has been discontinued. Lincolnshire is the only authority within the East Midlands which operates a grammar school system.
The decision to register for the 11+ is an important and private choice which only the family can make.
Which schools in Grantham require children to take the 11+?
There are two grammar schools in Grantham:
For girls – K.G.G.S. – Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School
For boys – The King’s Grammar School
How should children be prepared for the 11+?
Responsibility for preparation lies with parents and carers and it is certainly important to be prepared. Practice papers are available to purchase and through dedicated websites. Some families are able to opt for private tuition while others prefer to support their child themselves, at home. Private tuition is not an affordable option for many and changes to the tests, in recent years, were made to try and level the playing field so that no child would be placed at a disadvantage.
We advise children to practise different types of questions to become familiar with the techniques and then to practise at greater speed.
What will schools do to help?
The grammar schools are your first point of contact and both of the Grantham schools have information on their websites about registration.
Information for parents of Year 5 and 6 pupils is also sent to primary schools for distribution in September and which is also available on the Lincolnshire County Council website.
Both Grammar schools provide a practice paper which they ask primary schools to administer. This is for Year 5 pupils who have been registered for the 11+ and is completed in the summer term. Papers are marked and retained in school and scores accompany the end of year school report.
At Cliffedale, we also meet with Year 6 children during the early Autumn term, before they take the test to support their emotional well-being, at what can be a stressful time. We give the children time to ask all sorts of questions and to talk to each other. Our children know they can come and discuss any queries they have and they do so, freely. Recent experience indicates that children are more worried about ‘small things’ than the test itself, such as, What do I need to wear? What if I need to go to the toilet? and What if I am unwell?
We aim to reduce unnecessary anxiety about such matters – we share calming techniques, emphasise the importance of doing ones best and ensure they know we are proud of them already.
When should children start preparing for the 11+?
Again, this is ultimately for the parents and carers to decide. Many families ask us about it in Year 4 and we know that several children begin to familiarise themselves with the techniques at this stage. We are aware that, for many, the preparations become more regular in Year 5.
When do the children take the test?
The test is taken in September when the children are in Year 6. It is taken in two parts with each part taking place on a Saturday morning. Girls take their test at K.G.G.S. and boys take theirs at The King’s.
How do we know which is the right school for our child?
Secondary school transition is a very important time and we are fortunate to have a choice of schools in the local area. Lincolnshire has the added advantage of being free of catchment areas which means families are able to choose schools further from home if they wish to do so and are able to manage travel arrangements.
Our advice would be to visit as many schools as possible by attending their open day/evening events or it may be possible to make a private appointment to view the school. If pupils are there to show you around, talk to them about their school. Most of these events are aimed at Year 5 families but younger pupils can also attend.
Several local schools offer a range of out-of-hours activities aimed at Year 4 and 5 pupils designed to inspire and familiarise – look on their websites for details.
What do the scores mean?
Your child’s results are delivered to your home by post. Some grammar schools provide a breakdown of the scores for each paper but others just provide the overall score.
A total score of 220 or above identifies a level of ability equivalent to that accepted in recent years by Lincolnshire, as appropriate for grammar school entry.
Does the 11+ have anything to do with the Y6 SATs?
No, these are separate and unrelated tests.
All children in Y6, except in exceptional circumstances, will complete their SATs in May. These tests are important to the children as they represent an indication of the standard they have achieved, on that day, in Reading, Writing and Maths.
Children who secure a place at grammar school are expected to aim to achieve as highly as possible in their SATs which are an opportunity for them to really show what they are capable of.
Individual SAT scores are sent to the next school where they provide a realistic indication of each child’s current ability. This is helpful to determine how they are grouped for different subjects in Year 7.