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Shropshire, Walsall & Wolverhampton 11 plus guide

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 4:26 PM

Shropshire, Walsall & Wolverhampton 11 plus entry guide

Are you considering a Shropshire, Walsall or Wolverhampton grammar school? Find out how to apply and prepare for the West Midlands 11 plus for September 2024 entry here. We've collated everything you need to know to ensure you and your child are fully prepared.

Shropshire, Walsall & Wolverhampton Grammar Schools 11 plus: key info

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

What is the 11 plus test?

The 11 plus is an entrance exam used by UK grammar schools (state-funded selective secondary schools). It's used to estimate children's academic potential and decide whether a grammar school environment will suit them. Children can take the test in September while they are in Year 6.

Five grammar schools across the local area have come together to form the Consortium of Grammar Schools in Shropshire, Walsall & Wolverhampton (SWW Consortium). They have shared the same 11 plus exam and registration process since 2012.

What is the new West Midlands Grammar Schools partnership?

From 2023, the 11 plus testing process is shared by all grammar schools in Shropshire, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Warwickshire. You only need to register once and your child only needs to take one test to apply to grammar schools in all of these areas. The scores are shared and the schools apply their own admissions policies.

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How to apply to grammar school in the West Midlands

1. Register for the 11 plus test

Before you register you should speak to your child’s teacher to see if the 11 plus and grammar school is right for them.

When your child is in Year 5, register them for the 11 plus on the West Midlands Grammar Schools portal. Registration opens at 9am on 9th May 2023 and closes at 4pm on 30th June 2023. If your child needs any reasonable adjustments to take the test, there is an earlier deadline of 14th June for requesting these.

2. Apply for school places

Once your child has taken the exam, you will get their results in mid-October. You can use the results to decide which schools to include on your local authority application form.

Before listing a school on your form, check its admissions policy and make sure your child is eligible. How close you live to a school can be an important factor in how likely your child is to be allocated a place.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 31st October 2023.

3. National school offer day

On 1st March 2024, 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.

If no places are available at your preferred schools, they will be offered a place at another school in your area. You can appeal the decision via your local council – appeals are heard by an independent panel.

What's on the SWW 11 plus test?

Grammar schools in the SWW consortium now use the West Midlands 11 plus test. It consists of two papers, each lasting about 60 minutes. A few minutes are allocated at the start of each paper for children to listen to instructions and complete some unmarked practice questions.

Both papers are divided into smaller, individually-timed sections that assess:

  • English comprehension

  • Maths

  • Verbal reasoning

  • Non-verbal reasoning

The test is entirely multiple-choice format, with no writing sections. Children record their answers in a separate answer booklet which is marked electronically.

The maths and English questions assess your child's understanding of Key Stage 2 national curriculum content, including Year 6 objectives. It tests their ability to reason and apply knowledge accurately.

The reasoning questions assess your child’s logic and problem-solving ability. Verbal and non-verbal reasoning are not typically taught at school. They are intended to measure how well children can spot patterns with, connect and manipulate written and visual information.

Learn about 11+ topics in depth

Does Shropshire use CEM or GL?

Until autumn 2022, Shropshire, Walsall and Wolverhampton grammar schools used CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) to administer the 11 plus test.

CEM recently announced it will no longer be providing standard paper 11 plus exams. This has prompted SWW Consortium grammar schools to change their test provider to GL Assessment along with other West Midlands grammar schools for entry in 2024 and beyond.

How is the 11 plus scored?

Each paper is marked to provide 'raw' scores. Next, the raw scores are standardised to even out any age disadvantage for children born later in the year. A total score is calculated for each child, and these are ranked in order.

What's the pass mark for the SWW 11 plus?

As a general guide, we recommend aiming for a standardised age score of 116–121 when your child is completing practice tests.

However, pass marks for the current year cannot be calculated until the tests have been marked and the standardised scores calculated and ranked. This is because the pass marks depend on the size and performance of the year group. The consortium does not provide information on scores from previous years.

Achieving a particular score doesn't guarantee a place at the school of your choice, as schools are oversubscribed with qualified candidates. We always recommend researching the admission policies for your target schools, looking at their oversubscription criteria and their catchment area.

For example, many schools are more likely to admit a lower-scoring pupil in their priority zones than a higher-scoring child who lives further away. Other criteria are applied – for example, children may be prioritised if they:

  • Have a sibling at the school

  • Are the child of a staff member

  • Receive Pupil Premium

  • Have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

  • Are currently, or were previously, a Looked After Child

How can I help my child prepare for the West Midlands 11 plus test?

Here are our top tips on how to help your child prepare for the 2023–24 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 Home is an 11 plus online course that tailors your child's personalised learning journey to cover all elements of the SWW 11 plus test 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 Home 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.

Shropshire, Walsall & Wolverhampton 11 plus practice papers

Atom Home gives children access to unlimited online practice papers. Our online tests are designed to mirror the format and style of the real SWW 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.

Try Atom Home free for 5 days

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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 West Midlands grammar schools.

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