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Lancashire grammar schools 11 plus guide

By Atom | Apr 18, 2024, 10:34 AM

Lancashire grammar schools 11 plus: entry guide

Are you considering a grammar school in Lancashire for your child? We’ve collated everything you need to know about admissions in 2024–2025. Keep reading to:

  • Find out more about grammar schools in Lancashire

  • Learn about the Lancashire 11 plus exam

  • Discover which subjects your child will be tested on

  • Plus, get exclusive resources to help your child prepare!

Which schools in Lancashire use the 11 plus?

There are four grammar schools in Lancashire. If you would like your child to be considered for a place at any of these schools, they will need to take the school’s entrance exam (11 plus).

Dates for your diary

  • April 2024: 11+ registration opens for Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar School and Lancaster Royal Grammar School

  • Monday 20th May 2024: 11+ registration opens for Lancaster Girls' Grammar School

  • Monday 3rd June 2024: 11+ registration opens for Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

  • Monday 9th September 2024: 11+ registration closes for Lancaster Royal Grammar School

  • Friday 13th September 2024: 11+ registration closes for Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar School, Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, and Lancaster Girls' Grammar School

  • Saturday 28th September 2024: Lancashire 11 plus exams

  • Wednesday 9th October 2024: results date for Lancaster Royal Grammar School

  • Friday 11th October 2024: results date for Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

  • Saturday 12th October 2024: results date for Lancaster Girls' Grammar School

  • Mid-October 2024: results date for Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar School

  • Thursday 31st October 2024: deadline for applying for secondary school places

  • Monday 3rd March 2025: national school offers day

Dates can vary, so always check with your target schools!

What is the 11 plus?

The 11 plus is an academic entrance exam used by grammar schools in England. Schools use the results of the test to decide which children to offer places to in Year 7.

The test is designed to be challenging. Grammar schools use the 11 plus to select children working in the top ability range in their year group. Children who are working at least within the top 25% of their year group – normally ‘exceeding expectations’ in Key Stage 2 English, maths and science – are usually well-suited for grammar school.

The exam takes place in September in Year 6. Children who were born between 1st September 2013 and 31st August 2014 will take the entrance test in September 2024 for Year 7 entry in September 2025.

What's on the Lancashire 11 plus?

All of the grammar schools in Lancashire use 11 plus papers provided by GL Assessment. This is one of the main 11 plus assessment bodies in England.

Children applying to grammar schools in Lancashire take three papers: English, maths and verbal reasoning. Each paper lasts around 45 minutes to one hour, with a break in between papers.

All three papers are multiple-choice. Your child will have separate pre-printed answer sheets, which they will use to mark the answer(s) they think are correct.


GL Assessment 11 plus English papers are based on the content your child will have learned on the national curriculum at school.

Some questions will test reading comprehension. Your child will need to read a passage of text and answer questions to demonstrate their understanding. Other questions assess further English skills, such as spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.


GL Assessment 11 plus maths papers are also based on Year 5 curriculum content. However, some questions may be more challenging than what your child is used to.

Questions will assess your child’s knowledge of key maths concepts. This includes times tables, mental maths, shapes, space and measures, how to use the four basic operations, and reading graphs. Your child will need to use their skills to solve new kinds of problems for some more advanced questions.

Verbal reasoning

Unlike the English and maths paper, verbal reasoning is not taught on the national curriculum, so the questions might be unfamiliar to your child. Grammar schools often use 11 plus verbal reasoning papers because they analyse children’s academic potential, rather than what they have already learned.

Verbal reasoning involves reasoning with written information, such as words, letters, numbers and symbols. Your child will need to understand how words are produced and used, and the relationships between them. They might also need to use logic to solve codes and work out the next item in a sequence.

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Verbal reasoning paper

How is the 11 plus scored?

After the test, your child’s answer sheets are marked using Optical Mark Recognition (OMR). This technology picks up the marks your child has made to indicate which answers they think are correct. Your child receives a mark for every correct answer.

These marks are then age-standardised. Age-standardisation is a common practice in 11 plus scoring and ensures younger children aren’t disadvantaged.

Standardised age scores for each paper normally range from 60 at the lowest end, to 142 at the highest end.

  • A single standardised score of 80 or below represents the bottom 10% of the year group

  • A single standardised score of 100 represents the average score for the child's year group

  • A single standardised score of 120 or above represents the top 10% of children in that year group

The highest standardised age score a child can achieve for a single paper is usually 142. This score would place them within the top 1% of children taking the test.

You’ll receive your child’s results in mid-October. If your child meets your target school’s qualifying standard, you can then apply for a place for that school on your common application form (CAF).

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

There is no single pass mark for the Lancashire grammar schools’ entrance test. All children’s standardised scores are placed in rank order, and each school will decide on a ‘qualifying standard’. ‘Looked after children’ and ‘previously looked after children’, along with children who are eligible for Pupil Premium, tend to be prioritised for places and might need to achieve a slightly lower qualifying score to get offered a place at a Lancashire grammar school.

Every grammar school has different admissions criteria. We’ve included the admissions criteria for each Lancashire grammar school below:

How to apply to Lancashire grammar schools

If you're considering a grammar school in Lancashire for your child, it's a good idea to speak to your child's teacher first.

Grammar schools are academically-selective and select children working towards the top of their year group. Your child's teacher will be able to indicate whether they think your child will be able to keep up with the pace in a grammar school.

1. Register for the Lancashire 11 plus

If you would like your child to be considered for a place at one of the four Lancashire Grammar Schools, you’ll need to register them to take the school’s entrance test.

Registration will be available on your target school’s website. In Lancashire, the registration window is usually open from May/June in Year 5 to early September in Year 6.

2. Apply for school places

Your child’s test results will be sent to you in mid-October. You’ll find out if your child has met the qualifying standard to be eligible for a place at your target school(s).

You can use these results to decide which schools to name on your secondary school common application form. Before listing a school on your form, check its admissions policy and make sure your child is eligible.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 5pm on Tuesday 31st October 2024.

3. National school offer day

On 3rd March 2025, 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 via an independent panel. Information about how to appeal will be sent to you by your local authority along with your school offer on National Offers Day.

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

The 11 plus exam is designed to be challenging. Here are our top tips to help your child prepare for the 11 plus in September 2024.

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 the Lancashire 11 plus. 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 maths question on a Lancashire 11 plus mock test on Atom Home

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 Lancashire 11 plus

Wish you could give your child a roadmap to success in the 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 the Lancashire 11 plus

  • 90,000+ adaptive questions

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  • Automatic marking and instant progress data

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

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