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London grammar schools 11 plus guide

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 4:14 PM

London 11 plus

Are you considering a grammar school in London for your child? We've collated all the latest information about 11 plus exams in the capital. Learn about:

  • Grammar schools in your borough

  • What's tested on your local 11+

  • How to help your child prepare for the exam

What is the 11 plus?

The 11 plus is an academic entry exam used by grammar schools in England. Children take the 11 plus in the autumn term of Year 6. Schools use the results of the test to select children for places in Year 7.

There is no universal 11 plus exam. The content and the format of the exam varies depending on the school or consortium (a group of schools who use the same exam). However, most grammar schools test some, or all, of the following subjects:

The test is designed to be challenging. As grammar schools are selective, they're looking for children working at the top of their year group. Even these children can find the test difficult!

A reasoning question on a Bexley Selection Test mock test on Atom Home

Above: A non-verbal reasoning question on a Bexley Selection Test mock exam on Atom Home

Grammar schools in Barnet

There are three grammar schools in the London Borough of Barnet. These schools use a mixture of 11 plus papers provided by GL Assessment and school-written material.

The grammar schools in Barnet have different 11 plus registration and exam dates. Registration opens in April/May in Year 5 (depending on the school) and closes in July. All of the exams take place in September in Year 6, with the exception of the Henrietta Barnett second round-exam, which is held in October.

Children are tested on English and maths. Both exam papers are provided by GL Assessment.

Grammar schools in Bexley

There are four grammar schools in the London Borough of Bexley. These schools all use the same 11 plus exam known as the Bexley Selection Test. This consists of two papers, provided by GL Assessment, which test English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

Registration for the Bexley Selection Test opens at the start of May in Year 5 and closes later in the same month. The exam takes place in September in Year 6.

Children are tested on English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

Grammar schools in Bromley

There are two grammar schools in the London Borough of Bromley. These schools use a mixture of GL Assessment 11 plus papers, and school-created material.

Each school has different exam registration dates and test days. Registration opens and closes in the summer term of Year 5, and the exam takes place in September in Year 6. St Olave's Grammar School has a second-stage exam which is held in November.

Children take two GL Assessment 11 plus papers. One tests verbal reasoning and the other tests non-verbal reasoning.

Grammar schools in Enfield

There is one grammar school in the London Borough of Enfield. The Latymer School is a mixed grammar school in Edmonton, North London.

Children applying to The Latymer School take verbal reasoning and maths tests created by GL Assessment, and an English comprehension and creative writing test created by the school. Exam registration opens in March in Year 5 and closes in June. The exam takes place in early September.

Learn more about The Latymer School 11 plus.

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Verbal reasoning paper

Grammar schools in Kingston upon Thames

There are two grammar schools in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Both schools have a two-stage testing process. This consists of GL Assessment papers and material created by the school.

Registration for the exams opens in June in Year 5 and closes in early September in Year 6. The stage one test takes place in early October, and the stage two test takes place in November.

  • Stage 1: GL Assessment English and maths tests

  • Stage 2: school-created English and maths tests

Grammar schools in Redbridge

There are two grammar schools in the London Borough of Redbridge. Both use the same GL Assessment 11 plus papers. These test English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

Children take two papers. The first tests English and verbal reasoning, and the second tests maths and non-verbal reasoning.

Grammar schools in Sutton

The London Borough of Sutton has more grammar schools than any other London borough. There are five fully-selective grammar schools, and one partially-selective school (Greenshaw High School).

All six schools use the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test (SET) as their 11 plus exam. This tests English and maths. The five grammar schools also have a second-stage exam.

Registration for the Sutton SET opens in early May in Year 5 and closes in August. The exam takes place in mid-September in Year 6. The second stage exams are held between late September and October.

Children applying for the selective stream (60 places) take the Sutton SET. This consists of a 50 minute English paper and a 50 minute maths paper.

How can I help my child prepare for entry to a grammar school in London?

Entry to a London grammar school is competitive. Many of the city's grammar schools are among the very best in the country, so there are always more applicants than places.

Here are our top tips on how to help your child prepare for the 11 plus in your local area.

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. 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 Sutton SET 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 your local 11+

Wish you could give your child a roadmap to success in the 11+? 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.

  • Weekly learning plans for your target grammar school

  • Online and printable 11 plus practice papers

  • 90,000+ adaptive questions

  • 500+ hours of on-demand video lessons

  • Performance data compared to other applicants

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Georgie's weekly exam prep plan on Atom Home

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