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South Wilts Grammar School 11+ guide

By Atom | Apr 15, 2024, 12:10 PM

South Wilts Grammar School, Wiltshire

Thinking about applying to South Wilts Grammar School? Find out everything you need to know about admissions in 2024–2025 and how to prepare your child for success in the 11 plus entrance exam.

Key information for South Wilts Grammar School

  • Address: South Wilts Grammar School, Stratford Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 3JJ

  • Number of pupils: 1,100+

  • Admissions contact: [email protected]

  • Number of places in Year 7: 160

  • 11+ exam: GL Assessment

  • Catchment area: yes

Dates for your diary

  • Saturday 1st June 2024: South Wilts Grammar School 11+ applications open

  • Thursday 4th July 2024: Year 5 open afternoon (2pm – 3.30pm)

  • Friday 5th July 2024: Year 5 open afternoon (2pm – 3.30pm)

  • Wednesday 10th July 2024: Year 5 open afternoon (2pm – 3.30pm)

  • Tuesday 16th July 2024: Year 5 open evening (5.30pm – 7pm)

  • Sunday 1st September 2024: South Wilts Grammar School 11+ applications close

  • Saturday 14th September 2024: Familiarisation test

  • Saturday 21st September 2024: South Wilts Grammar School 11+ exam

  • Friday 11th October 2024: South Wilts Grammar School 11+ results released to parents

  • Thursday 31st October 2024: secondary school applications close at 5pm

  • Monday 3rd March 2025: secondary school national offers day

About South Wilts Grammar School

South Wilts Grammar School (SWGS) is the only selective school for girls in Wiltshire. It was founded in 1927 as the girls' equivalent to Bishop Wordsworth's School. In 2020, the school opened its sixth form to boys.

SWGS is located in the suburbs of the medieval cathedral city of Salisbury. The school's extensive facilities include a learning resources centre, a theatre and drama studio, and an all-weather running track.

In 2019, Ofsted rated South Wilts Grammar School 'good', with 'outstanding' behaviours and attitudes. It draws attention to pupils' exceptional behaviour, their enthusiasm for extracurricular activities, and determination to succeed.

How to apply to South Wilts Grammar School

South Wilts Grammar School is a selective state school. This means that your child will need to take the 11 plus exam to be eligible for a place in Year 7.

If you would like your child to be considered for a place in September 2025, you’ll need to complete your child’s 11+ registration in 2024. The application window opens on Saturday 1st June 2024 and closes on Sunday 1st September 2024. Your child will take the 11+ exam on Saturday 21st September and you’ll receive her results on Friday 11th October.

To apply to South Wilts Grammar School, 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 South Wilts Grammar School below.

What subjects are on the 11 plus?

South Wilts Grammar School uses 11 plus papers provided by GL Assessment. This is the main provider of grammar school 11 plus exams in England.

The exam consists of three papers, each around 45 minutes to one hour, with a break in between:

  • Maths: questions are based on the Key Stage 2 maths national curriculum. This includes the areas of number, algebra, measures, shape and space, and handling data.

  • English: this paper is also based on the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Questions will assess reading comprehension, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

  • Verbal reasoning: 11 plus verbal reasoning assesses how well your child can use logic and reasoning to solve problems with written information, such as letters, words, symbols and numbers.

All of the questions in the South Wilts Grammar School 11 plus exam are multiple-choice. Your child will have separate answer sheets which they will use to mark their answers. These are marked electronically.

The school will hold a familiarisation test one week before the exam on Saturday 14th September 2024. This consists of a verbal reasoning practice paper to help children get familiar with the types of questions and the exam surroundings. This paper is not marked. If you would like your daughter to attend this session, you should accept the invitation on your child’s 11+ registration form.

Guide to GL Assessment 11+ exams

Find out everything you need to know in our complete guide to the GL Assessment 11 plus exam. Plus, get access to free 11 plus resources to help your child feel confident for their exam!

Learn more
11 plus maths practice paper

What is the pass mark for South Wilts Grammar School?

After the 11 plus, your child’s marks will be age-standardised. This is a statistical process commonly used in 11 plus exams to ensure that younger children aren’t disadvantaged. The standardised marks from each paper are then added together to create one overall standardised score.

The school will then decide the pass mark. This is determined by the headteacher and a governor based on the range of results, but is normally between 70% and 74% of the overall standardised mark.

As a guide, the pass mark has been 71% for the last 7 years, and between 53% and 58% of children normally achieve the pass mark.

How does place allocation work at South Wilts Grammar School?

There are 160 places in Year 7 at South Wilts Grammar School. If the number of children who have achieved the pass mark exceeds 160, the school applies oversubscription criteria. Children are prioritised for places in the following order:

  1. Looked after children and previously looked after children

  2. Children eligible for the pupil premium and/or the service premium

  3. Children who live within the school catchment area

  4. Children who live with at least one parent or step parent who has been employed at SWGS for at least two years

  5. Children who live outside the catchment area but who have a sibling attending the school. Places in this criterion are allocated in order of distance (as the crow flies)

  6. Other children who have achieved the required academic standard, allocated in order of distance (as the crow flies)

South Wilts Grammar School has a catchment area (known as a ‘designated area’). This area surrounds the city of Salisbury, extending to Winterbourne Stoke and Boscombe in the north, Middle Winterslow and Whiteparish in the east, Nomansland and Downton in the south, and Chicksgrove and Bowerchalke in the west. A map is available on the school website.

Here is the furthest distance for which children have been offered places at South Wilts Grammar School:

  • 2023: 33.6 miles

  • 2022: 33.9 miles

  • 2021: 20.8 miles

  • 2020: 17.6 miles

  • 2019: 16.3 miles

  • 2018: 17.9 miles

  • 2017: 23.6 miles

Atom’s top tips for 11 plus preparation

The 11 plus is an academic exam that is designed to be challenging for children. 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 for South Wilts Grammar School. 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 mock test for South Wilts Grammar School 11 plus 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 SWGS 11 plus

Wish you could give your child a roadmap to success in the South Wilts Grammar School 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 South Wilts Grammar School

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