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Sir William Borlase's Grammar School 11+ guide

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 4:27 PM

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School, Buckinghamshire

Are you considering Sir William Borlase's Grammar School for your child? We've collated all the information you need to know about 2024 entry to Year 7. Keep reading to learn about key dates, the admissions process, and how to prepare for the Buckinghamshire 11 plus exam.

About Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School is a selective state school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18 in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. The school has a long and cherished history; it was founded in 1624 to ensure children from all backgrounds were able to access a high-quality education. This vision is still at the heart of the school's philosophy today.

Students at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School (affectionally known as 'Borlasians') consistently achieve excellent exam results at A level and GCSE, placing the school firmly within the top 50 grammar schools in the country. There is a "contagious enthusiasm" for learning in all subjects and disciplines, with plenty of opportunities for enrichment through independent research, practical exploration, and academic trips and visits.

Beyond the classroom, Borlasians are encouraged to be busy and get involved in a wide-reaching extracurricular programme. Activities satisfy an outstanding range of interests and talents, including nationally-recognised hockey and rowing programmes, exceptional dance, drama and musical theatre performances, and multiple musical choirs, orchestras and ensembles.

  • Address: Sir William Borlase's Grammar School, West Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2BR

  • Local authority: Buckinghamshire Council

  • School type: mixed grammar

  • Headteacher: Kay Mountfield

  • Number of pupils: 1,150+

  • National rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 38

  • A level results: 88% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 79% 9/8/7

Key info for Year 7 admissions

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 01628 816500

  • Number of places in Year 7: 150

  • Open evening: TBC

  • Exam registration opens (out-of-county applications): 5th May 2023

  • Exam registration closes (out-of-county applications): 16th June 2023

  • Exam date: 14th September 2023

  • Exam type: Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test

  • Common application form (CAF) deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School term dates

The 2023–2024 term dates at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 15th December 2023

  • Half term: 16th–27th October 2023

  • Spring term: 4th January – 28th March 2024

  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024

  • Summer term: 15th April – 23rd July 2024

  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

How to apply to Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

1. Secondary Transfer Test registration

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School is a member of The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS). This consortium administers the 11 plus exam (Secondary Transfer Test) for all 13 grammar schools in the county.

Buckinghamshire’s 11 plus registration process is unique as they operate an ‘opt-out’ system. If your child attends a Buckinghamshire primary school, they will automatically be registered to take the test.

If your child's primary school is not in Buckinghamshire and you would like to apply for a place at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School, you will need to register for the Secondary Transfer Test separately. Registration will be open on the Buckinghamshire Council website between 5th May 2023 and 16th June 2023.

2. Apply for a school place

You will receive your child's results in the Secondary Transfer Test on 13th October 2023. If your child has achieved the pass mark in the exam, they will be eligible for a place at the school. You will then be able to name Sir William Borlase's Grammar School on your common application form.

Before listing the school as a preference on your form, check its admissions policy and make sure your child is eligible. Passing the Secondary Transfer Test will not be a guarantee of a place as more children reach the qualifying standard each year than there are places available.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 31st October 2023. The form must be completed for your home local authority – i.e. if you live in Buckinghamshire you will need to complete the form on the Buckinghamshire Council website. If you live in a different local authority, make sure to apply through the relevant website for that council.

What's on the Sir William Borlase's Grammar School 11 plus exam?

Children applying for Year 7 entry to Sir William Borlase's Grammar School will take the 11 plus on Thursday 14th September 2023. The exam consists of two multiple-choice papers, each lasting around one hour:

  • English and verbal reasoning

  • Non-verbal reasoning and maths

Learn about the exam in more detail in our full guide to the Buckinghamshire 11 plus:

Buckinghamshire 11 plus guide

What is the pass mark for Sir William Borlase's Grammar School?

Your son's test papers in the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test will be marked and weighted. The English and verbal reasoning test will have a weighting of 50% applied, while the non-verbal reasoning and maths sections will be weighted at 25% each. The total of all scores will then be age-standardised to avoid any potential disadvantage for younger children. This overall mark will be your child's Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS).

The qualifying score in the Secondary Transfer Test is 121. If your child achieves a score of 121 or higher, they will be eligible for entry to Sir William Borlase's Grammar School.

Unlike other grammar schools in the country, children in Buckinghamshire are not ranked in order of their scores. Grammar school entry is entirely dependent on whether or not the child has scored 121, and whether they meet the individual school's admission criteria. We've included the admission criteria for Sir William Borlase's Grammar School below.

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School admission criteria

There are 150 places available in Year 7 at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School. Children who achieve a standardised score of 121 or higher and who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which names the school will be allocated places before the admission criteria are applied.

When the number of children who meet the pass mark exceeds the number of places available, Sir William Borlase's Grammar School will apply oversubscription criteria in this order:

  1. Looked after and previously looked after children

  2. Up to a maximum of 10 places will be reserved for children eligible for pupil premium and living in the catchment area, who have not qualified but have achieved a score of between 110 and 120 in the Secondary Transfer Test

  3. Children living in the catchment area who are eligible for free school meals, and have achieved a score of 121 or higher

  4. Up to a maximum of 15 places will be reserved for children who live in the school's Priority Admissions area, allocated by random lottery

  5. Children of members of staff at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

  6. Children living within the school catchment area

  7. Siblings of children currently on roll at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

  8. Children who have exceptional medical or social needs that can only be met at the school

  9. All remaining places will then be allocated by distance order, where children living closest to the school will be prioritised

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School catchment area

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School has a catchment area to prioritise eligible children living close to the school.

The Priority Admissions Area covers Stokenchurch, Cadmore End and Hambleden. The rest of the catchment area then extends to cover Marlow, Cookham Dean, Cookham Rise and north Maidenhead.

A map is available on the school website.

How to help your child prepare for the 11 plus

Here are our top tips on how to best prepare your child for the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test.

Cover all the content

The Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test assesses a large breadth and depth of learning objectives across and beyond the Key Stage 2 curriculum.

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 Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer 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.

Test your knowledge

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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.

Buckinghamshire 11 plus practice papers

Atom Nucleus gives children access to online practice papers. Our online tests are designed to mirror the format and style of the real Buckinghamshire 11 plus, 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 Buckinghamshire grammar schools.

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