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Devon Grammar Schools 11 plus: 2024 entry guide

By Atom | Feb 14, 2023, 1:09 PM

Devon 11 plus

Looking to find out more about the 11 plus in Devon for September 2024 entry? We've collated everything you need to know about the local grammar school application process, the 11 plus exam and how to help your child prepare.

Key information for the Devon 11 plus

  • Registration opens: March/April 2023

  • Registration closes: August/September 2023

  • Exam date: 16th and/or 23rd September 2023

  • Exam board type: varies between schools

  • Results: mid-October 2023

  • Apply for schools: via your local authority (e.g. Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council)

  • Local authority application deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

  • Admissions information: available on each school's website

  • Appeals: conducted via an independent appeal panel. Appeals forms can be found on the website of the school's local authority

The grammar schools in Devon are in three separate local authorities. Admissions dates vary between the schools, so make sure to check with your target school!

What is the 11 plus?

The 11 plus is an entrance exam used by UK grammar 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 grammar schools in Devon have different test providers and admissions authorities, so the admissions process and content of the exam will vary depending on the school you're applying for. We've outlined the key things you need to know below.

Which schools in Devon use the 11 plus?

There are seven grammar schools in Devon, spread across three local authorities:

Devon County Council

Plymouth City Council

Torbay Council (the grammar schools are referred to as the South Devon Consortium):

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How to apply to grammar schools in Devon

1. Register for the 11 plus test

The 11 plus exam is designed to be academically challenging and to select the children working at the very top academic range of their year group. Before you register your child to take the exam, it's a good idea to talk to their teacher first to see if the 11 plus is right for them.

An online registration form will be available on a secure page on the school website from 1st April 2023. This must be submitted by midday on Friday 8th September 2023.

2. Practice 11 plus tests

Devonport High School for Girls (DHSG), Devonport High School for Boys (DHSB) and Plymouth High School for Girls (PHSG) offer 11 plus practice exams (mock tests) to help children familiarise themselves with the test and the exam venue.

If your child is applying to DHSG or PHSG, the 11 plus practice exam will take place at both schools on 1st July 2023 between 8am and 12.30pm. Results will be sent via email on 17th July.

If you would like your daughter to take this mock exam, you will need to register between 17th April and 24th May 2023. Spaces are limited (140 spaces available at Plymouth High School, and 170 at Devonport High School), so it's advised to apply sooner rather than later. The cost of sitting this practice exam is £40.

If your child is applying to DHSB, there will be two 11 plus familiarisation sessions after school on Wednesday 14th June and Thursday 15th June 2023. Advance registration is essential; the registration form will be available from the school website from Monday 17th April 2023.

3. Take the 11 plus exam

Once you have registered your child with the school, you will receive further information about the 11 plus exam. This will take place on the following dates:

Children will sit the exam on the school site on Saturday 23rd September 2023.

4. Apply for school places

Once your child has taken the exam, you will receive their results in mid-October. You can use the results to decide which schools to include on your local authority application form. The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 31st October 2023.

Before listing a school on your form, check its admissions policy and make sure your child is eligible. The schools operate different priority criteria when more children achieve the 11 plus pass mark than the school has places available, and many use the proximity of the child's home address to the school when deciding between tie-breaks.

4. National school offer day

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. If this applies to you, you can choose to appeal this decision. The school will publish and establish the arrangements for appeals, which will then be carried out by an independent body.

What's on the Devon 11 plus?

Colyton Grammar School

Children applying to Colyton Grammar School will take the exam on Saturday 23rd September 2023. The 11 plus test is supplied by FSCE (Future Stories Community Enterprise) and consists of three papers:

  • English: multiple-choice questions assessing reading comprehension, vocabulary and spelling.

  • Maths: a mixture of multiple-choice and free-form questions based primarily on Year 5 content in the Key Stage 2 national curriculum.

  • Creative writing: children will write a creative response to a prompt, with different options to choose from.

Devonport and Plymouth High Schools

Children taking the 11 plus exams for entry to any of the grammar schools within Plymouth City Council will take two GL Assessment exams on two consecutive Saturdays in September:

  • Saturday 16th September 2023: English comprehension

  • Saturday 23rd September 2023: maths

Both papers will be in multiple-choice format (i.e. no written questions) and will last approximately one hour. The English and maths questions are based on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. They are designed to assess your child's understanding of the main topics they will have learnt at school in Year 5 and early Year 6. Questions test their ability to reason and apply knowledge accurately.

Devonport High School for Boys sets an additional paper. This internally-created English writing test will be taken on one of the two testing dates, alongside the other test on that day.

South Devon Consortium

Churston Ferrers Grammar School, Torquay Boys' Grammar School and Torquay Girls' Grammar School also use GL Assessment as their 11 plus test provider. Children will take the exam on Saturday 16th September 2023 during either a morning or afternoon session.

Children will sit two one-hour papers – one in English and one in maths – both consisting of multiple-choice questions. They will write their answers in a separate answer booklet, which is then marked electronically.

The English paper will assess your child's ability to analyse and interpret a passage of text. The questions in the maths paper will be mapped to the Key Stage 2 national curriculum up to the end of level 5, with some more challenging questions targeted at level 6.

A complete 'one stop guide' for parents, including details of the admissions arrangements and exam, is available to view on the Churston Ferrers Grammar School website.

How is the Devon 11 plus scored?

Your child's answer booklets will be marked by computer and their 'raw' scores will be provided. These raw scores are then 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.

Creative writing papers set by Colyton Grammar School and Devonport High School for Boys will be marked internally by staff.

What's the pass mark for the Devon 11 plus?

Each school has a different Planned Admission Number (PAN) – the number of places available in Year 7. After candidates' scores are ranked in order from highest to lowest, the number of highest-ranked candidates that equals the PAN are normally eligible for a place at the school. Each of the grammar schools in Devon has a different PAN for entry in 2024:

  • Colyton Grammar School: 155

  • Devonport High School for Boys: 180

  • Devonport High School for Girls: 158

  • Plymouth High School for Girls: 120

  • Churston Ferrers Grammar School: 150

  • Torquay Boys' Grammar School: 168

  • Torquay Girls' Grammar School: 160

Grammar schools are usually oversubscribed, so plenty of children may have the same high score – exceeding the school's PAN. When this happens, the school applies oversubscription criteria to decide between candidates. For example, children may be prioritised if they:

  • Are currently, or were previously, a Looked After Child

  • Receive Pupil Premium

  • Have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

  • Live within a defined catchment or priority area (a geographical area surrounding the school)

  • Have a sibling at the school

  • Have a parent currently employed by the school

How can I help my child prepare for the Devon 11 plus test?

Here are our top tips on how to help your child prepare for the 2023–24 exam:

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 Nucleus is an 11 plus online course that tailors your child's personalised learning journey to cover all elements of the Devon 11 plus test 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 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.

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 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.

Devon 11 plus practice papers

Atom Nucleus gives children access to unlimited online practice papers. Our online tests are designed to mirror the format and style of real 11 plus tests for Devon grammar schools, so your child will go into the exam knowing exactly what to expect.

And what's more, everything is automatically marked for you.

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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 Devon grammar schools.

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