Back to blog

Saint Ambrose College 11+ guide

By Atom | Mar 28, 2024, 9:53 AM

Saint Ambrose College entry guide

Thinking about applying to Saint Ambrose College? Find out everything you need to know about admissions and how to prepare your child for success in the 11 plus.

Key information about Saint Ambrose College

  • Address: Saint Ambrose College, Hale Road, Hale Barns, Altrincham, WA15 0HE

  • Number of pupils: approx. 1,000

  • Admissions contact: [email protected]

  • Number of places in Year 7: 140

  • 11+ exam: GL Assessment 11 plus and school’s own

  • Catchment area: yes

Dates for your diary

  • 11+ registration opens: Monday 15th April 2024

  • Open morning: Saturday 29th June 2024

  • 11+ registration closes: Friday 12th July 2024

  • 11+ exam date: Friday 20th September 2024

  • 11+ results released: no later than Monday 21st October 2024

  • Secondary school application deadline: Thursday 31st October 2024

  • School allocations: Saturday 1st March 2025

About Saint Ambrose College

Saint Ambrose College is a Catholic boys’ grammar school in Altrincham. It was founded in 1946 and has specialist status in maths and computing.

The school is one of 12 in England within the Edmund Rice Schools Network. In 2021, the Diocese of Shrewsbury rated the school 'outstanding'. Students are actively involved in liturgical life at the school, developing faith and spirituality through liturgical celebration.

Sport excels at Saint Ambrose College. The main team sports are rugby, cricket and athletics, but there are a variety of other sports clubs and activities on offer. Boys have access to state-of-the-art sports facilities, including a new sports hall, a full 4G pitch and a swimming pool.

How to apply to Saint Ambrose College

Saint Ambrose College is a selective school. This means that your child will need to take the 11 plus exam to be eligible for a place. As a Catholic school, boys who are Baptised Catholic are prioritised for places under the school’s admissions policy.

Registration for the exam will open in mid-April 2024 and close in mid-July 2024. The exam will take place in September, and you’ll receive your child’s results in October – before the secondary school common application deadline. You can then use these results to decide whether to apply for a place at Saint Ambrose College.

To apply, 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 Saint Ambrose College below.

What subjects are on the entrance exam?

Children applying to Saint Ambrose College take three 11 plus papers:

1. Verbal reasoning

The verbal reasoning paper takes 50 minutes to complete. It is provided by GL Assessment – one of the country’s leading 11 plus exam providers. All the questions are multiple-choice; your child will mark their answers on an answer sheet which is provided.

Verbal reasoning tests your child’s ability to apply logic and solve problems with written information, such as letters, words, symbols and numbers. Some of the key skills tested include reading fluency, knowledge of vocabulary, and the ability to discover and apply rules.

Learn more about 11 plus verbal reasoning.

2. Maths

The maths paper is created in-house by Saint Ambrose College staff and takes 35 minutes to complete.

All the questions are multiple-choice. They will assess the maths topics your child has been taught in school, up to and including Year 5. You can find out more about maths national curriculum topics here.

3. English

The English paper is also created in-house by Saint Ambrose College staff. Like the maths paper, this lasts 35 minutes and consists entirely of multiple-choice questions.

The paper will include a reading comprehension task along with other English elements. These might include questions which test spelling, punctuation and grammar. There is no creative writing task.

Guide to GL Assessment

Find out everything you need to know in our complete guide to GL Assessment 11 plus exams. 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 Saint Ambrose College?

After the 11 plus exam, your child’s papers will be marked and age-standardised. This is a statistical process which takes into account your child’s age in years and months at the time of taking the test. It means that every child’s score can be compared to those achieved by other children of the same age.

The qualifying mark for entry to Saint Ambrose College is 320. Any child whose total standardised score is 320 or above will be eligible for a place at the school.

If the number of children who have met the qualifying standard for entry to the school exceeds the number of places available, Saint Ambrose College applies oversubscription criteria. Children are prioritised for places in the following order:

  1. Baptised Catholic boys who are ‘looked after’ or ‘previously looked after’ children

  2. Baptised Catholic boys who have a brother attending Saint Ambrose College when they start school

  3. Baptised Catholic boys who live within the school’s nominated Local Pastoral Area. We’ve included more information about this below

  4. Other Baptised Catholic boys

  5. Other boys who are ‘looked after’ or ‘previously looked after’ children

  6. Catechumens and members of an Eastern Christian Church

  7. Baptised Christian boys who have a brother attending the school

  8. Christian boys who are practising in other Christian denominations, supported by a minister’s reference

  9. Any other boys

If any of these categories are oversubscribed, priority will be given to boys who receive Pupil Premium, followed by boys who had the highest marks in the entrance exam.

What is the catchment area for Saint Ambrose College?

The catchment area for Saint Ambrose College is known as Nominated Local Pastoral Areas. This covers:

Saint Ambrose Deanery (Diocese of Shrewsbury)

St. Hugh and St John, St. Vincent de Paul’s, All Saints, St. Margaret Ward, St. Joseph’s, Holy Angels, Our Lady of Lourdes, Holy Family, West Timperley, Altrincham, Ashton-on-Mersey, Sale, Hale Barns, Partington and Sale Moor. These areas include the postcodes WA14, WA15, M31 and M33.

Saint Ambrose Barlow Deanery (Diocese of Salford)

Our Lady’s & St. Alphonsus, St. Ann’s & St. Hugh of Lincoln, Our Lady and the English Martyrs’, St. Monica’s, St. John’s and St Teresa’s, Moss Side/Old Trafford, Stretford, Davyhulme/Urmston, Flixton, Firswood/Chorlton. These areas include the postcodes M16, M21, M32 and M41.

Atom’s top tips for 11 plus preparation

The 11 plus is designed to select the most academically able children in the country. 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. 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 Saint Ambrose College 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 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 11 plus practice papers

  • 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.

Try Atom for free
Atom Nucleus

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.