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Bishop Wordsworth's School 11+ guide

By Atom | Apr 15, 2024, 11:45 AM

Bishop Wordsworth's School, Wiltshire

Thinking about applying to Bishop Wordsworth's School? Find out everything you need to know about admissions in 2024–2025 and how to prepare your child for success in the 11 plus entrance exam.

Key information for Bishop Wordsworth's School

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

  • Number of pupils: 1,100+

  • Admissions contact: [email protected]

  • Number of places in Year 7: 160

  • 11+ exam: GL Assessment

  • Catchment area: yes

Dates for your diary

  • Monday 15th April 2024: 11+ applications open

  • Wednesday 12th June 2024: BWS morning open session (10.45–13.00)

  • Tuesday 18th June 2024: BWS morning open session (10.45–13.00)

  • Wednesday 19th June 2024: BWS morning open session (10.45–13.00)

  • Sunday 30th June 2024: 11+ applications close

  • Saturday 28th September 2024: Bishop Wordsworth’s School 11+ exam

  • Mid-October 2024: Bishop Wordsworth’s School 11+ results released to parents

  • Thursday 31st October 2024: secondary school applications close at 5pm

  • Monday 3rd March 2025: secondary school national offers day

About Bishop Wordsworth's School

Bishop Wordsworth’s School is a boys' grammar school in Salisbury, Wiltshire. It was originally known as The Bishop's School when it was founded by the Bishop of Salisbury in 1890. Girls have been welcomed into the sixth form since 2020.

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.

Exam results at Bishop Wordsworth's School are consistently strong. Ofsted also rates the school 'outstanding' in all areas, praising leaders' high expectations of pupils, exemplary pupil behaviour, and a 'myriad' of extracurricular activities.

How to apply to Bishop Wordsworth's School

Bishop Wordsworth's School is a selective state school. This means that your child will need to take the 11 plus exam to be eligible for a place in Year 7.

If you would like your child to be considered for a place in September 2025, you’ll need to complete your child’s 11+ registration in 2024. The application window opens on Monday 15th April 2024 and closes on Friday 13th September 2024. Your child will take the 11+ exam on Saturday 28th September and you’ll receive his results in mid-October.

To apply to Bishop Wordsworth's School, you’ll need to name the school as one of your preferred schools on the secondary school common application form. This will be available on your home council website from early September and must be submitted by Thursday 31st October 2024.

Remember – passing the 11 plus doesn’t guarantee that your child will be allocated a place at your preferred school. Many grammar schools are often oversubscribed with qualified children. Schools and their admissions authorities work through admissions criteria to prioritise children for places. We’ve included the admissions criteria for Bishop Wordsworth's School below.

What subjects are on the 11 plus?

Bishop Wordsworth's School uses 11 plus papers provided by GL Assessment. This is the main provider of grammar school 11 plus exams in England.

The exam consists of two 45-minute papers with a break in between:

  • Verbal skills: this paper assesses English (including reading comprehension, spelling, grammar and punctuation) and verbal reasoning. There are approximately 26 English questions and 32 verbal reasoning questions.

  • Non-verbal skills: this paper assesses maths and non-verbal reasoning. There are approximately 25 maths questions and 40 non-verbal reasoning questions.

All of the questions in the Bishop Wordsworth’s School 11 plus exam are multiple-choice. Your child will have separate answer sheets which they will use to mark their answers. These are marked electronically.

Guide to GL Assessment 11+ exams

Find out everything you need to know in our complete guide to the GL Assessment 11 plus exam. Plus, get access to free 11 plus resources to help your child feel confident for their exam!

Learn more
Verbal reasoning paper

How does place allocation work at Bishop Wordsworth's School?

After the 11 plus, your child’s marks will be age-standardised. This is a statistical process commonly used in 11 plus exams to ensure that younger children aren’t disadvantaged. The standardised marks from each paper are then added together to create one overall standardised score.

The school will then decide the pass mark. This is determined by the headteacher and a governor based on the range of results, but is normally between 70% and 74% of the overall standardised mark.

Children who have been in local authority care for at least one day, or who have been eligible for free school meals in the past six years, have a pass mark 3% lower than the standard pass mark.

If the number of children who have achieved the pass mark exceeds the number of places available, Bishop Wordsworth's School applies oversubscription criteria. Children are prioritised for places in the following order:

  1. Looked after children and previously looked after children

  2. Children eligible for the pupil premium. Up to 10 places are reserved for children in this category

  3. Children who live within the school catchment area

  4. Children who live with a brother or sister (sixth form) already studying at BWS

  5. Children who live with at least one parent or step parent who has been employed at BWS for at least two years

  6. Children who have been recorded as qualifying for the service premium, or who have been a service child, in the previous three years

  7. Other children who have met the entry requirements

Bishop Wordsworth’s School has a catchment area (known as a ‘designated area’). This area surrounds the city of Salisbury, extending to Winterbourne Stoke and Boscombe in the north, Middle Winterslow and Whiteparish in the east, Nomansland and Downton in the south, and Chicksgrove and Bowerchalke in the west. A map is available on the school website.

Atom’s top tips for 11 plus preparation

The 11 plus is an academic exam that is designed to be challenging for children. Here are our top tips to help you and your child feel confident for exam day!

Bitesize learning

It’s important to build a good knowledge base before the 11 plus. Using a ‘little and often’ approach when learning is key – our brains encode new information more effectively when dealing with smaller ‘chunks’ of information. For children aged 10–11, child psychologists recommend regular study sessions of 20–30 minutes.

Atom Home makes learning a more enjoyable process for your child. They'll explore exciting worlds full of interactive questions, earning coins to spend in the Atom shop. Atom adapts to your child, showing them questions at just the right level of difficulty to keep them motivated.

A maths learning journey on Atom Home

Read widely

11 plus exams test your child’s ability to analyse and interpret written information. Regular reading is a great way to help your child build these skills.

Encourage them to read books from different genres and by a diverse range of authors. Increasing the variety of your child’s reading will help them understand different styles, tones and purposes. Meanwhile, reading a little every day will help widen their vocabulary, sharpen their analytical thinking, and enhance their imagination.

Refine exam technique

When your child feels confident with the topics they’ve learnt in Year 5, they’ll be ready to put their knowledge to the test.

Practice tests can help your child develop problem-solving skills and build confidence working under test conditions. They’re also a great way to consolidate learning and highlight knowledge gaps for further improvement.

With Atom Home, you'll unlock online mock tests and printable practice papers for Bishop Wordsworth’s School. Enjoy automatic marking and progress tracking with the online tests, and help your child get familiar with the real exam experience with printable practice papers.

A non-verbal reasoning question on a Bishop Wordsworth's School 11 plus mock test on Atom

Celebrate progress

Setting regular, achievable goals and celebrating your child’s progress – no matter how big or small – will help keep their motivation high.

Make sure to encourage a growth mindset. This means celebrating effort, as well as achievement! When your child makes mistakes or struggles to understand a particular topic, help them understand that they’ll improve through practice. Regular praise will help your child improve their resilience when tackling new and challenging topics.

Tailored preparation for the BWS 11 plus

Wish you could give your child a roadmap to success in the Bishop Wordsworth’s School 11 plus? You can. Atom Home has everything you need to get prepared, in one package.

You don't need a tutor to get into your top-choice grammar school. You just need Atom. We’ll create a tailored plan for your child and support them along their fun revision journey.

  • Online and printable practice papers for Bishop Wordsworth’s School

  • 90,000+ adaptive questions

  • 500+ hours of on-demand video lessons

  • Automatic marking and instant progress data

Atom Home

Navigate the 11 plus with confidence.

Start your free trial today. Our local admissions specialists will get to work on your child’s plan. Relax, 11 plus prep is sorted.

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