What are Grammar Schools?

Grammar schools are academically-oriented and selective state-run schools. They remain a popular choice for secondary education and the 164 Grammar Schools in England are heavily applied to for Year 7 entry. Your child is required to pass a series of entrance examinations (known as the 11 Plus) if they are to attend one of these schools. Entry criteria is governed by the School Admissions code and from this criteria, individual grammar schools set their own policies of admission.

The majority of Grammar Schools base their admissions policies upon 3 key factors:

  1. Results in the 11 Plus / Entrance Exam
  2. Catchment Areas
  3. Relationship To The School

These three factors are summarised below:


11 Plus / Entrance Exam Results:

Grammar Schools test a variety of English, Mathematics, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning in their entrance examinations. Schools which are part of a consortium will use the same examination to assess candidates. This means that students will often sit one exam for entry into multiple schools, rather than being required to sit individual tests for each individual school. Students will have to receive a minimum mark in each subject to be considered by their prospective schools; most will allocate places by the ranking of candidates – the highest score downwards until all spaces are filled. They may also use elements of the 11 Plus exam as a tie-breaker of sorts – they will assess individual papers to decide between two otherwise equal applications. Our Saturday Classes and Half-Term Intensive Courses are designed to enable your child to reach their full potential in these tests.


Catchment Area:

For many Grammar Schools, there is a pre-defined area by the school that is given priority of placement. This can be either boroughs or a specific set of postcodes. Local Authorities will publish all important information regarding catchment areas. Some schools will take catchment areas one step further and will allocate places depending on the physical distance from a child’s home to the main entrance of the school. If you are unsure as to whether these rules apply for schools you are interested in, ask the school directly; Admissions Officers must inform parents of historical allocation distances so to provide an indication of whether this is a reliable insight into a particular school’s admissions.


Relationship to the School:

A large number of Grammar Schools have a Sibling Policy in action when assessing applications. This gives priority to candidates who already have an older brother or sister attending the school. In some cases, places are also given to pupils whose parents or close relatives work at the school. However, it is important to know that the Sibling Policy or a special relationship to the school is not a sure-fire way to gain acceptance to a school. These candidates will still be evaluated according to the same criteria as all other applicants and must follow all of the same procedures.


Other Factors:

Although these are three major factors that Grammar Schools take into consideration, schools can also make decisions based upon religion (if it is aligned with a particular religion), aptitude (for example, if they value sports or music ability highly) or other special circumstances.


Applying to Grammar Schools:

After choosing your prospective schools, you should attend the opens days, ensure you are fully registered to apply and then take your child to the necessary entrance examinations and interviews. As Covid-19 has affected several schools entrance examination dates, we have collated the changes in an easy to read table for your convenience.

Kingston Upon ThamesThe Tiffins' Girls SchoolTuesday 29th September 2020 - Stage One

Saturday 7th November 2020 - Stage Two
BromleySt Olave's Grammar School26th -27th November 2020
BromleyNewstead Wood School25th -26th September 2020
SuttonSutton Grammar School15th September 2020
3rd October 2020
SuttonNonsuch SchoolUnconfirmed
SuttonWallington High SchoolUnconfirmed
BexleyTownley Grammar school Week of 2nd November 2020
BexleyBexley Grammar SchoolWeek of 2nd November 2020
BexleyBeths Grammar SchoolWeek of 2nd November 2020
BexleyChiselhurst and SidcupWeek of 2nd November 2020
RedbridgeWoodford County High SchoolUnconfirmed
RedbridgeIlford County High SchoolUnconfirmed
BarnetHenrietta Barnett SchoolWednesday 30th September to Friday 2nd October
BarnetQueen Elizabeth’s SchoolThursday 17th September 2020
BarnetSt Michael’s Catholic Grammar SchoolFriday 18th September 2020
BarnetThe Latymer SchoolSaturday 10 October and Sunday 11 October 2020

If you have any other questions or queries regarding entry into London Grammar Schools, or need help/advice on choosing the right school for your child, feel free to call us on 0208 384 2792 or email info@11pluslondon.co.uk