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Trafford 11 plus guide

By Atom | Jun 29, 2023, 8:23 AM

Trafford grammar schools 11 plus

Looking for information about the Manchester grammar schools (Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium) 11 plus for entry in 2024?

We’ve collated all the information you will need about the testing process, the schools involved and most importantly, how to best prepare your child for the exam.

The Trafford Grammar Schools 11 plus test: at a glance

  • Register via: Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium

  • 11 plus registration opens: 21st April 2023

  • 11 plus registration closes: 12th June 2023 (12 noon)

  • Exam date: 5th September 2023

  • Exam board type: GL Assessment

  • Results: mid-October 2023

  • Local authority application form deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

  • Appeals: heard by an independent appeal panel

What is the Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium?

The Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium is a group of five grammar schools in the Greater Manchester area. All of the schools use the same test provider and follow the same process, which means that children applying to any of these five schools will only need to take the 11 plus test once.

The five schools in the Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium are:

There are two grammar schools in Greater Manchester that have their own admissions arrangements:

What is the Trafford 11 plus test?

The Trafford Grammar Schools 11 plus test on Atom Nucleus

The 11 plus is an exam taken in Year 6 by pupils hoping to get a place at a grammar school in Year 7. It's designed to be challenging; grammar schools use the test to select pupils who are working in approximately the top 25% of their year group's academic ability range.

Until autumn 2022, the Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium used CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) to administer the 11 plus test in the area. However, CEM has recently announced that it will be administering online-only tests going forward and will not be providing standard 11 plus exams. This move has prompted the Trafford Consortium to change its 11 plus test provider to GL Assessment for entry in 2024 and beyond.

Children sitting the 11 plus test in September 2023 will take two papers, each lasting approximately one hour. All of the questions are multiple-choice; children will mark their answers in a separate answer booklet, which will be marked electronically. There will a few minutes allocated at the start of each paper for children to listen to instructions and complete some un-marked practice questions.

The two papers will include a mix of questions assessing three core skills:

Verbal reasoning

Questions will test your child on their ability to reason and solve problems with written information. Verbal reasoning covers five key areas: vocabulary, finding words, building words, codes, and sequence logic.

The test may also include a comprehension exercise to assess your child's reading ability and literacy skills such as grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. Question types vary, but may include choosing the best words to complete a sentence, finding synonyms and antonyms, and spotting mistakes in sentences.

Non-verbal reasoning

The non-verbal reasoning section will assess your child's ability to analyse visual information and solve problems using shapes, diagrams and pictures, rather than words (as you would find in verbal reasoning). Children will need to interpret and manipulate 2D and 3D shapes.

The key skills required for non-verbal reasoning are maths, logic and problem-solving, spatial awareness, and the ability to identify patterns and rules.


The maths section will test your child's knowledge and understanding of the Key Stage 2 maths curriculum. Questions will cover the main topics of number (including operations, place value and fractions), geometry, measurement, data and algebra. Practice with arithmetic and problem-solving questions, rapid recall of number facts, and written calculation, will give your child a good foundation to perform well in this section.

What is the pass mark for the Trafford 11 plus?

The qualifying mark for schools in the Trafford Consortium has historically been 334. Some schools' admissions criteria allow automatic allocation for the top 20 scoring pupils. These scores are standardised, to even out any age disadvantage for children born later in the year.

Gaining a score of 334 does not automatically qualify your child to be selected for their school of choice. It is advisable to familiarise yourself with the admission policies for your target school, looking at their oversubscription criterion and their catchment area.

How competitive is the Trafford 11 plus?

There is significant competition in Manchester to attend one of the seven grammar schools in the area. For example, 2,454 children sat the 11 plus in 2020 for entry into Sale Grammar School, with 954 pupils achieving the qualifying score, although there are only 180 Year 7 places available at the school.

When should I begin preparing my child for the Trafford 11 plus?

To give your child enough time to securely master all the content needed for the 11 plus, a good time to begin preparing is summer term of Year 4 or autumn term of Year 5. This will allow your child to securely master the national curriculum objectives covered in the test, and become confident with the testing process and styles of questions.

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

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

No surprises: make sure your child is familiar with all styles of questions they will experience in the test. This reduces the potential for panic on the day and will give them confidence to answer the questions to the best of their ability. Access to unlimited practice materials and mock tests that mirror the format and style of the Trafford 11 plus will ensure your child is fully prepared.

Cover all the content: the 11 plus test assesses a large breadth and depth of learning objectives. When preparing it can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the content your child prefers. Atom Nucleus tailors your child's personalised learning journey, creating their bespoke programme to cover all elements of the Trafford 11 plus in a fun and engaging way.

Engage with their progress: setting regular goals and celebrating achievements will help your child progress efficiently. Atom offers data-driven insights into your child’s progress towards mastering the Trafford 11 plus content, making it easy to see where they need to focus next.

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All-in-one platform for 11 plus prep

Atom Nucleus

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 an online learning platform that gives your child everything they need to prepare for the 11 plus exam.

Children work independently through over 90,000 interactive practice questions in English, maths, verbal and non-verbal 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.

Trafford 11 plus practice papers

Atom Nucleus gives children access to unlimited online practice papers tailored to the Trafford Grammar Schools 11 plus test. 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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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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Confused about applying to grammar schools, and not sure what you or your child needs to do? Atom’s friendly and informative Education Experts are on hand to support you and your child every step of the way. Drop us an email with any questions you have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to a grammar school.

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