Back to blog

Bishop Wordsworth's School 11 plus guide

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 3:46 PM

Bishop Wordsworth's School, Wiltshire

Are you considering Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury for your son? We've collated all the information you need to know about 2024 entry to Year 7. Keep reading to learn about key dates, the admissions process, and how to excel in the 11 plus exam.

About Bishop Wordsworth's School

Bishop Wordsworth’s School is the only grammar school for boys in Wiltshire. Originally known as The Bishop’s School, it was founded in 1890 by the Bishop of Salisbury as an institution for 45 boys. Girls were welcomed from 1902 until 1927, at which point the school split and the girls joined the newly formed South Wilts Grammar School in the city suburbs. The two schools have maintained a close partnership since.

The school occupies a unique position in Salisbury’s iconic medieval Cathedral Close. Notable alumni and previous staff include the actor Ralph Fiennes and novelist and Nobel Prize Winner Sir William Golding.

Bishop Wordsworth's School is consistently strong; in 2022, over 81% of A level grades were A*, A or B. The school is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

  • Address: Bishop Wordsworth’s School, Exeter Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 2ED

  • Local authority: Wiltshire Council

  • School type: boys' grammar with mixed sixth form

  • Headteacher: Stuart Smallwood

  • Number of pupils: 1,150+

  • National rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 69

  • A level results: 81.3% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 75.7% 9/8/7

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admissions contact: Mrs Ruth Cliffe – [email protected], 01722 333851

  • Number of places in Year 7: 160

  • Year 5 open session: Friday 17th March 2023. A virtual tour is also available online

  • 11 plus registration opens: 18th April 2023

  • 11 plus registration closes: 7th July 2023

  • Exam date: 16th September 2023

  • Exam type: GL Assessment

  • Common application form (CAF) deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

Bishop Wordsworth's School term dates

The 2023–2024 term dates at Bishop Wordsworth's School are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 15th December 2023

  • Half term: 20th–29th October 2023

  • Spring term: 8th January – 28th March 2024

  • Half term: 9th–18th February 2024

  • Summer term: 15th April – 12th July 2024

  • Half term: 25th May – 3rd June 2024

How to apply to Bishop Wordsworth's School

1. Register for the 11 plus

Before registering, speak to your child’s teacher to see if the 11 plus and grammar school is right for them. The 11 plus exam is a challenging exam, designed to select the children working within the top 25% of their year group.

You will need to complete a test registration form to register your son for the 11 plus test. The application form will be available on the school website from 9am 18th April 2023. The deadline for submission is 7th July 2023.

2. Apply for school places

You will receive your son's results in the 11 plus in a letter posted by the school in mid-October 2023. You can use the results to decide which schools to include on your local authority secondary application form. You must complete the form for your home local authority:

If your son has met the score necessary to be eligible for a place at Bishop Wordsworth's School, you will be able to name the school as a preference on the form. However, make sure to check the school's oversubscription criteria first; in the likely event that more children achieve the qualifying score than there are places available, the school will need to apply oversubscription criteria to prioritise places.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 31st October 2023.

What's on the Bishop Wordsworth's School 11 plus exam?

The 11 plus exam for entry to Bishop Wordsworth's Shool will take place on Saturday 16th September 2023.

Children will take two test papers administered by GL Assessment:

  • English and verbal reasoning: 45 minutes

  • Maths and non-verbal reasoning: 45 minutes

Learn more and get free 11 plus preparation resources in our guide to the 11 plus in Wiltshire:

Wiltshire 11 plus

What is the pass mark for Bishop Wordsworth's School?

Your child's scores in the two tests are age-standardised by statisticians at GL Assessment to even out age disadvantage and to give the three tests equal weighting. The two standardised scores will then be added together to give a final mark.

There is no specific pass mark for entry to Bishop Wordsworth's School, but it has historically been in the region of 71% to 74%. Children whose combined scores in the tests reach this pass mark will be regarded as having passed the test. A letter with your child's scores will be posted to you in mid-October 2023, giving details of the score and whether your son has met the required standard.

The pass mark for children who qualify for Pupil Premium will be 3% lower than the standard pass mark, and 10 places will be reserved specifically for these children. If fewer than 10 children who qualify for Pupil Premium pass at the reduced pass mark, then the places will be allocated to standard pass mark applicants.

Achieving a particular score doesn't guarantee a place at the school, as it is likely to be oversubscribed with qualified candidates. We always recommend researching the admission policies for your target schools, looking at their oversubscription criteria and their catchment area.


Bishops Wordsworth's School admissions criteria

The planned admission number (PAN) for Year 7 is 160. It's very likely that more children will be eligible for a place than there are places available; in the last five years, the number of children who applied for a place was as follows:

  • 2022: 355

  • 2021: 348

  • 2020: 313

  • 2019: 349

  • 2018: 281

When more children meet the pass mark than there are places available, oversubscription criteria will be applied to allocate places in priority order:

  1. Looked After or previously Looked After Children

  2. Children who are eligible for the Pupil Premium (Free School Meals)

  3. Children whose permanent home is within the school catchment area

  4. Children who live with a sibling currently at the school

  5. Children who live with a parent employed by the school for at least two years

  6. Children who qualify for the Service Premium, have been a Service Child in any of the last three years, or are in receipt of a child pension from the Ministry of Defence

Bishop Wordsworth's School catchment area

The catchment area for Bishop Wordsworth's School extends to Winterbourne Stoke in the north, Middle Winterslow in the east, Downton in the south and Teffont Magna in the west. The south and east borders of the catchment area are the Wiltshire/Hampshire county borders.

A catchment map is available on the school website.

How to help your child prepare for the 11 plus

Here are our top tips on how to best prepare your child for the Bishop Wordsworth's School 11 plus.

Cover all the content

The 11 plus assesses a large breadth and depth of learning objectives across the Key Stage 2 national curriculum and beyond.

We recommend that your child starts revising content at least one year before the test. Setting aside study periods using a 'little and often' approach will give them 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 Home is an 11 plus online course that tailors your child's personalised learning journey to cover all elements of the Bishop Wordsworth's School 11 plus at the right pace for them.

No surprises

Your child will encounter lots of unfamiliar types of questions in the 11 plus exam. Building exam technique with 11 plus test papers will help your child to feel fully confident with the styles of questions they'll encounter in the exam, reducing the potential for stress on the day.

Celebrate their progress

Setting regular goals and celebrating achievements will help keep motivation high. Atom Home 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.

Nucleus maths fractions demo

See how our learning platform works

Try answering some 11+ questions

Let's go!

Personalised 11 plus prep for your child

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 Home 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.

11 plus practice papers

Atom Home gives children access to online practice papers. Our online tests are designed to mirror the format and style of the real 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.

Try Atom Home free for 5 days

Begin your child's journey to Bishop Wordsworth's School today. Use the full features of Atom Home free for 5 days – cancel anytime.

Start free trial

Personalised 11 plus support for you

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:

Ask us anything

We're happy to help with any questions you may have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to grammar school.

Email us

Exam prep WhatsApp groups

Why not join over 2,000 parents in our community WhatsApp groups? You’ll get access to free resources, advice and admissions updates.

Join today

Subscribe for the latest education advice

Subscribe to Atom’s mailing list and get free resources to help your child master core subjects, excel in their entrance exams and build academic confidence.

Get exclusive discounts for Atom Nucleus, invitations to parent webinars, and much more, direct to your inbox.

Subscribe now

Atom Learning Ltd. is registered and incorporated in England and Wales. Company Registration Number: 10867907 VAT number: 316903508 Copyright Atom Learning Ltd. All rights reserved.