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Sutton Grammar Schools 11 plus: 2024 entry guide

Local guide

Feb 14, 2023, 12:37 PM

Sutton grammar schools 11 plus SET

Looking for information about the 11 plus for entry to Sutton Grammar Schools in 2024? We’ve collated all the information you'll need about the application process and how to help your child prepare for the Selective Eligibility Test.


Sutton 11 plus: key info

  • Register for test: via school websites from 1st May 2023

  • Registration closes: 4th August 2023

  • Selective Eligibility Test: 12th September 2023

  • Second-stage exam (all schools except Greenshaw High School): 30th September 2023

  • Exam board type: school-written material

  • Results: week of 18th September 2023 (SET results), mid-October 2023 (second stage results)

  • Apply for schools: via your local authority website (e.g. Sutton Council) from September to October 2023

  • Local authority application form deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

  • Appeals: heard by an independent panel

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

What is the Sutton 11 plus test?

The 11 plus is an entrance exam used by UK grammar schools as part of their admissions process. It's used to estimate children's academic potential and decide whether a grammar school environment will suit them. Children can only take the test once per academic year, in September while they are in Year 6.

In the London Borough of Sutton, grammar schools use an entrance exam called the Selective Eligibility Test (SET). This is created by the schools themselves and not by an external exam board such as GL. The five Sutton grammar schools and one partially-selective school are part of a coordinated admissions scheme, so you only have to register to take the test once.

Grammar school application process in Sutton

After registering to take the SET, your child will be allocated to a testing venue at one of the six participating schools (your test venue does not impact which school(s) you are likely to be offered a place at). Girls sit the test at Nonsuch High School, Wallington High School or Greenshaw High School. Boys sit the test at Sutton Grammar School, Wallington County Grammar School, Wilson’s School or Greenshaw High School.

If your child passes the SET they will move forward to a second-stage test on 30th September.

The grammar schools in Sutton are academies or voluntary aided schools, so their admissions criteria and appeals process differ from schools under the local authority. We advise checking your target schools' admissions processes before you complete your local authority common application form (CAF) with your school preferences by 31st October 2023.

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Which grammar schools use the Sutton 11 plus?

There are five fully selective state schools and one partially selective state school in Sutton. The partially selective school, Greenshaw High School, has 60 selective places.

What's on the Sutton SET?

The Sutton Selective Eligibility Test consists of two papers:

  • English

  • Maths

Each paper takes between 40–50 minutes and there is a rest and toilet break between them. Children record their answers in a separate answer book which is marked first electronically and then by hand.

The content is based on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum objectives for Year 5 and 6. The SET does not include verbal reasoning or non-verbal reasoning.

SET English

The English paper covers four sections:

  • Spelling

  • Comprehension based on text A

  • Comprehension based on text B

  • Comprehension based on comparison of texts A and B

Question formats on the Sutton English exam are more varied than those on a standard 11 plus multiple-choice English paper, which usually only require one answer. The question types include:

  • Select one answer

  • Select the two most accurate answers

  • Select all that are correct

  • Pick the most accurate explanation

SET maths

The Sutton 11 plus maths paper is in multiple-choice format with five options provided per question. Your child will need to choose one correct answer per question and mark their choice on the answer sheet. The topics covered include:

  • Number: number and place value

  • Number: addition and subtraction

  • Number: multiplication and division

  • Number: fractions (including decimals and percentages)

  • Measurement

  • Geometry: properties of shape

  • Geometry: position and direction

  • Statistics

(Complete guide to 11 plus maths)

What's the pass mark for Sutton 11 plus?

Sutton grammar schools do not state a specific pass mark. The pass mark is decided each year based on the performance of the cohort. Each school may decide its own pass mark and have different entry criteria.

In general, UK grammar schools tend to consider the top 25% highest-scoring children for a place. This still doesn't guarantee a place at the school of your choice, as schools in many areas are oversubscribed with qualified candidates.

We always recommend researching the admission policies for your target schools, looking at their oversubscription criterion and their catchment area.

Scoring process

After the SET papers are marked, the scores are standardised to even out any age disadvantage for children born later in the year. Your child's scores are added together into a total, so a very good performance in one paper can compensate for a slightly lower performance in the other paper.

Sutton second-stage test

All grammar schools in Sutton except for Greenshaw High School hold a second-stage test. Children who achieve the qualifying mark in the SET are invited to take the second stage test on 30th September (a couple of weeks after the SET).

Because there is such a short gap between the tests, it's important to plan ahead and leave your child plenty of time to prepare confidently for the second-stage test, before the SET takes place.

Nonsuch High School and Wallington High School (the girls' schools) hold a joint second-stage test known as the NWSSEE (Nonsuch and Wallington Second Stage Entrance Examination). Sutton Grammar School, Wilson's School and Wallington County Grammar School (the boys' schools) also share a second-stage test.

Because the admissions criteria differ between schools, children may be considered for the second-stage test at certain schools but not others.

What's on the second stage test?

There are two elements: English and maths. Again, the content is based on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum.

Unlike the SET, these tests are not multiple-choice. The second-stage English paper is a writing task, usually based on a prompt. (Take a look at 11+ writing prompts to help your child practice.)

Sutton grammar schools do not release any sample papers for their second-stage tests.

How is the second stage test scored?

The scores are used independently by each school. Each school will combine the second-stage scores with the SET scores in accordance with its own admissions criteria.

The schools give different weights to the papers, and you can usually find this information on the schools' websites. For example, Sutton Grammar School calculates its final scores using this process:

Four standardised scores will be calculated using:

  1. The multiple-choice items from the English paper on the SET

  2. The multiple-choice items from the maths paper on the SET

  3. The English paper in the second-stage test

  4. The maths paper in the second-stage test

The four standardised scores will be weighted in the ratio 2:2:3:3, an age allowance will be added, and the total rounded to the nearest four marks to give the final score.

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

Here are our top tips on how to help your child prepare for the 2023 exam:

Cover all the content

The 11 plus assesses a large breadth and depth of learning objectives. Starting at least one year before the test, using a little-and-often approach will give your child 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 Sutton 11 plus at the right pace for them.

No surprises

Make sure your child is familiar with all styles of questions they will experience in the test. This reduces the potential for stress on the day and will give them confidence to answer the questions to the best of their ability. Building exam technique with 11 plus test papers will help your child to feel fully prepared.

Celebrate their progress

Setting regular goals and celebrating achievements will help keep motivation high. 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.

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.

Tailored 11+ practice papers

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

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We're happy to help with any questions you may have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to Sutton grammar schools.

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