Are you considering a grammar school in Birmingham for your child? Find out how to apply and prepare for the West Midlands 11 plus for September 2024 entry. We've collated everything you need to know to ensure you and your child are fully prepared.
Register for test: via West Midlands Grammar Schools portal
Registration opens: 9th May 2023
Registration closes: 30th June 2023
Exam date: 16th or 18th September 2023
Exam board: GL Assessment (West Midlands 11 plus)
Results: 20th October 2023
Apply for schools: via your local authority website (e.g. Birmingham, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Walsall, Wolverhampton)
Local authority application form deadline: 31st October 2023
National school offer day: 1st March 2024
Appeals: heard by an independent panel
Dates can vary, so always check with your target schools!
The 11 plus is an entrance exam used by UK grammar schools (state selective secondary schools). It's used to estimate children's academic potential and decide whether a grammar school environment will suit them. Children can take the test in September while they are in Year 6.
The eight grammar schools in Birmingham are known as the Grammar Schools in Birmingham Foundation.
From 2023, the 11 plus testing process is shared by all grammar schools in Birmingham, Warwickshire and Shropshire, Walsall and Wolverhampton. You only need to register once and your child only needs to take one test to apply to grammar schools in all of these areas. The scores are shared and the schools apply their own admissions policies.
Queen Mary’s Grammar School (boys)
Queen Mary’s High School (girls)
Ashlawn School (90 selective places and 190 non-selective places)
Before you register you should speak to your child’s teacher to see if the 11 plus and grammar school is right for them.
When your child is in Year 5, register them for the 11 plus on the West Midlands Grammar Schools portal. Registration opens at 9am on 9th May 2023 and closes at 4pm on 30th June 2023. If your child needs any reasonable adjustments to take the test, there is an earlier deadline of 14th June for requesting these.
After you register, you'll get an email in September with information about your child's test date and venue. If you're applying from outside the area, the admissions office will contact you for more information, such as evidence of your intent to move to the area.
Once your child has taken the exam, their results will be sent to you on 20th October 2023. You can use the results to decide which schools to include on your local authority application form.
Before listing a school on your form, check its admissions policy and make sure your child is eligible. How close you live to a school can be very important. Schools have cut-off distances which change each year based on demand.
The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 31st October 2023.
On 1st March 2024, you will find out which school your child has been allocated a place at. They will be allocated a place at your highest-preferred school for which they meet the entry criteria and which has places available.
If no places are available at your preferred schools, they will be offered a place at another school in your area. You can appeal the decision via an independent panel.
Birmingham uses the West Midlands 11 plus test which is provided by GL Assessment.
It consists of two papers, each lasting about 60 minutes. A few minutes are allocated at the start of each paper for children to listen to instructions and complete some unmarked practice questions.
Both papers are divided into smaller, individually-timed sections that assess:
The test is entirely multiple-choice format, with no writing sections. Children record their answers in a separate answer booklet which is marked electronically.
The maths and English questions assess your child's understanding of Key Stage 2 national curriculum content, including Year 6 objectives. It tests their ability to reason and apply knowledge accurately.
The reasoning questions assess your child’s logic and problem-solving ability. Verbal and non-verbal reasoning are not typically taught at school. They are intended to measure how well children can spot patterns with, connect and manipulate written and visual information.
Each paper is marked to provide 'raw' scores. Next, the raw scores are standardised to even out any age disadvantage for children born later in the year. A total score is calculated for each child, and these are ranked in order.
Birmingham Grammar Schools Foundation does not provide raw scores, nor any information on how many marks are available on the test.
Pass marks for the current year cannot be calculated until the tests have been marked and the standardised scores calculated and ranked. This is because the pass marks depend on the size and performance of the year group. Scores from recent years can be used as a general guide only.
In 2022 and 2023, the qualifying score was 205. This is the minimum total standardised score at which a child could be considered for a Birmingham grammar school place. Children who scored 224 or above were prioritised for a place.
Achieving the qualifying score doesn't guarantee a place at the school of your choice, as schools are oversubscribed with qualified candidates. We always recommend researching the admission policies for your target schools, looking at their oversubscription criteria and their catchment area.
For example, many schools are more likely to admit a lower-scoring pupil in their priority zones than a higher-scoring child who lives further away. Other criteria are applied – for example, children may be prioritised if they:
Have a sibling at the school
Are the child of a staff member
Receive Pupil Premium
Have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
Are currently, or were previously, a Looked After Child
The cut-off scores were the scores achieved by the child offered the final place on school offer day in March:
Here are our top tips on how to help your child prepare for the 2023–24 exam:
The 11 plus assesses a large breadth and depth of learning objectives. Starting at least one year before the test, using a little-and-often approach will give your child time to build the skills and knowledge they need.
When preparing, avoid falling into the trap of over-focusing on either the topics your child enjoys or the topics they find hardest.
Atom Nucleus is an 11 plus online course that tailors your child's personalised learning journey to cover all elements of the Birmingham 11 plus test at the right pace for them.
Make sure your child is familiar with all styles of questions they will experience in the test. This reduces the potential for stress on the day and will give them confidence to answer the questions to the best of their ability. Building exam technique with 11 plus test papers will help your child to feel fully prepared.
Setting regular goals and celebrating achievements will help keep motivation high. Nucleus offers data-driven insights into your child’s progress towards mastering the 11 plus curriculum, making it easy to see where they need to focus next.
Wondering how to make sure your child covers the depth and breadth of the entire 11 plus curriculum, stays on track with their progress, and gets help when they're stuck? Online learning is a particularly efficient, cost-effective (and fun) way to do this!
Atom Nucleus is the award-winning online 11 plus practice platform that gives your child everything they need to prepare for grammar school exams.
Children work independently through over 90,000 interactive practice questions in English, maths and reasoning. Teacher-created helpsheets and videos help them discover new concepts and consolidate their learning.
Atom's algorithm keeps children on their ideal learning path, tailored to their unique learning style and pace to keep them challenged and motivated.
Atom Nucleus gives children access to unlimited online practice papers. Our online tests are designed to mirror the format and style of the real Birmingham 11 plus, so your child will go into the exam knowing exactly what to expect.
And what's more, everything is automatically marked for you.
Begin your child's journey to grammar school today. Use the full features of Atom Nucleus free for 5 days – cancel anytime.
We know how keen you are for your child to do well in the 11 plus, to give them every chance of securing a place at their school of choice. Our dedicated team of Education Experts are on hand to support you and your family every step of the way:
We're happy to help with any questions you may have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to West Midlands grammar schools.
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