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Sutton Selective Eligibility Test (SET) 11 plus guide

By Atom | Feb 13, 2024, 5:23 PM

Sutton grammar schools 11 plus SET

Are you considering a grammar school in the London Borough of Sutton for your child? We’ve collated everything you need to know about admissions in 2024–2025. Keep reading to:

  • Find out more about grammar schools in Sutton

  • Learn about the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test (SET) – the local 11 plus exam

  • Discover which subjects your child will be tested on

  • Plus, get exclusive resources to help your child prepare!

Which schools use the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test?

There are five grammar schools in the London Borough of Sutton. All five schools use the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test:

A sixth school – Greenshaw High School – uses the Sutton SET. This school is partially-selective with 60 selective places. Only children applying for a selective place take the Sutton SET.

Dates for your diary

  • Wednesday 1st May 2024: registration opens for the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test

  • Friday 2nd August 2024: registration closes for the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test

  • Tuesday 17th September 2024: Sutton Selective Eligibility Test

  • Late September 2024: second-stage exams

  • Mid-October 2024: parents receive Sutton SET results

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

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

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

What is the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test?

The Sutton Selective Eligibility Test (SET) is an 11 plus entrance exam used by the grammar schools in Sutton. All children applying for a place at any of these schools need to take the SET to qualify for a place.

The Sutton Selective Eligibility Test (SET) takes place in September in Year 6. If you would like your child to be considered for a place at a Sutton grammar school, you’ll need to register them to take the test. Registration opens on the individual grammar school websites on Wednesday 1st May 2024 and closes on Friday 2nd August 2024. You only need to complete one registration form, regardless of how many participating schools you’re interested in.

Your child will be invited to take the test at one of the participating Sutton grammar schools. The exam will take place on Tuesday 17th September 2024.

Greenshaw High School uses the outcome of the Sutton SET to decide which children are eligible for a selective place. The other five grammar schools use the outcome of the Sutton SET to decide which children to shortlist for second-stage exams.

The boys’ schools (Sutton Grammar School, Wallington County Grammar School and Wilson’s School) have a shared second-stage test. The girls’ schools (Nonsuch High School and Wallington High School for Girls) have their own shared second-stage test.

What's on the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test?

The Sutton Selective Eligibility Test consists of two multiple-choice papers. One paper tests English and the other tests maths. The Sutton SET does not test verbal or non-verbal reasoning.

Each paper takes about 40–50 minutes to complete, with a rest and toilet break between the two papers. Children record their answers in a separate answer book.

The content of the Sutton SET is broadly based on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum.

Sutton SET: English

The English paper covers four sections:

  • Spelling

  • Comprehension based on text A

  • Comprehension based on text B

  • Comprehension based on a comparison of texts A and B

The format of the questions is more varied than standard 11 plus exams, which usually require only one answer. In the Sutton SET, question types might include:

  • Select one answer

  • Select the two most accurate answers

  • Select all that are correct

  • Pick the most accurate explanation

Sutton SET: maths

The Sutton SET maths paper is also multiple-choice. There are five answer options for each question. Your child will need to choose one correct answer and mark their choice on the answer sheet provided. The topics covered include:

  • Number and place value

  • The four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and subtraction)

  • Fractions, decimals and percentages

  • Measurement

  • Geometry (properties of shapes, position and direction)

  • Statistics

What’s on the second stage entrance exam?

The Sutton second stage entrance exam takes place in late September. Only children who pass the Sutton SET are invited to take this test.

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.

The Sutton second stage entrance exam consists of two papers which are not multiple-choice:

  • English: 1 hour. This is an extended writing task

  • Maths: 45 minutes. This is a standard maths paper

The content in both of these papers is broadly based on the Key Stage 2 curriculum.

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11 plus maths practice paper

How is the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test scored?

The Sutton SET answer sheets are marked twice – first by machine, and then by hand. Your child receives a mark for every correct answer. The total mark is then age-standardised to ensure children born later in the school year aren’t disadvantaged. Because your child’s scores are combined as a total, a good performance in one paper can compensate for a lower performance in the other.

After the shared second stage entrance exam, each school combines these scores with the SET scores. Each of the five grammar schools has its own scoring system.

What's the pass mark for the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test?

Each of the schools in Sutton decide their own pass mark for the Sutton SET. If your child has passed the SET, you won’t be given their scores, but you will be told that they have met the required standard and been invited to the second-stage entrance exam. You’ll be given this information in the week after the Sutton SET takes place.

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. Pay close attention to their oversubscription criteria and their catchment area (if they have one).

What's the pass mark for the second stage exam?

There is no set pass mark for the second stage exam in Sutton. Each grammar school has its own process for using the second-stage scores.

For example, children applying to Sutton Grammar School will be given four standardised scores:

  1. A standardised score for the Sutton SET English paper

  2. A standardised score for the Sutton SET maths paper

  3. A standardised score for the second-stage English paper

  4. A standardised score for the second-stage maths paper

The four standardised scores are weighted in a ratio of 2:2:3:3 and an age allowance is added. The total is then rounded to the nearest four marks to give the final score. This is the score which places are then based on.

How to apply to Sutton grammar schools

If you're considering a grammar school in Sutton for your child, it's a good idea to speak to your child's teacher first.

Grammar schools are academically-selective and select children working towards the top of their year group. Your child's teacher will be able to indicate whether they think your child will be able to keep up with the pace in a grammar school.

1. Sutton Selective Eligibility Test

If you would like your child to be considered for a place at a selective school in Sutton, you’ll need to register them to take the Sutton SET. Registration will be available on the six school websites from Wednesday 1st May 2024. You’ll need to complete your child’s registration before Friday 2nd August 2024.

Your child will take the Sutton SET at one of the six schools:

  • Girls will be allocated to take the test at Nonsuch High School, Wallington High School for Girls or Greenshaw High School

  • Boys will be allocated to take the test at Sutton Grammar School, Wallington Grammar School, Wilson’s School or Greenshaw High School

  • Twins (boy/girl) will be allocated to take the test at Greenshaw High School

2. Sutton second stage entrance exam

If your child has met the qualifying standard in the Sutton SET, they’ll be invited to the second stage entrance exam. This takes place at the end of September.

You’ll then find out if your child has achieved the pass mark in the second stage entrance exam in October. You can use the results to decide which schools to include on your secondary school common application form. Before listing a school on your form, check its admissions policy and make sure your child is eligible.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 5pm on Tuesday 31st October 2024.

3. National school offer day

On 3rd March 2025, you will find out which school your child has been allocated a place at. They will be allocated a place at your highest-preferred school for which they meet the entry criteria and which has places available.

How can I help my child prepare for the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test?

The Sutton Selective Eligibility Test is designed to be challenging. Here are our top tips to help your child prepare for the exam in September 2024.

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 the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test

Wish you could give your child a roadmap to success in the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test? 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

Navigate the Sutton SET with confidence.

Start your free trial today. Our local admissions specialists will get to work on your child’s plan. Relax, Sutton SET prep is sorted.

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