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West Midlands Grammar Schools 11 plus guide

By Atom | Apr 3, 2024, 9:55 AM

West Midlands Grammar Schools Entrance Test

Are you considering a grammar school in the West Midlands 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 the West Midlands

  • Learn about the West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test (11 plus)

  • Discover which subjects your child will be tested on

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

Dates for your diary

  • Tuesday 7th May 2024: registration opens for the West Midland Grammar Schools' Entrance Test

  • Friday 14th June 2024: reasonable adjustments deadline

  • Friday 28th June 2024: test registration closes

  • Saturday 14th September – Monday 16th September 2024: West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test

  • Friday 18th October 2024: parents receive test 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 West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test?

The West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test is an 11 plus exam used by 18 grammar schools and one partially-selective school in the West Midlands. There are eight grammar schools in Birmingham, six in Warwickshire, and five in the Shropshire, Walsall and Wolverhampton area. Your child will only have to take the entrance test once, regardless of how many grammar schools within the partnership you’re applying to.

The West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test is designed to be challenging. Grammar schools use the 11 plus to select children working in the top ability range in their year group. Children who are within the top 25% of their year group are normally well-suited for grammar school.

The 11 plus exam takes place in September, when your child is in Year 6. Children who were born between 1st September 2013 and 31st August 2014 will take the West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test on a date between Saturday 14th September 2024 and Monday 16th September 2024 for Year 7 entry in September 2025. Children will be allocated a session either in the morning or afternoon. You should receive confirmation of your child’s allocated slot by early September.

What's on the West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test?

The West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test consists of two papers provided by GL Assessment. Most grammar schools in the UK use 11 plus papers provided by GL Assessment.

Each test lasts around one hour. This includes time for instructions, some worked (unmarked) example questions, and the real test questions. Your child will take both tests on the same day. There is a short break between the two papers.

The two papers are divided into smaller, individually-timed sections. These assess:

  • English comprehension: your child will need to read a passage of text and answer questions to demonstrate their understanding

  • Maths: questions will be based on the topics taught on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum

  • Verbal reasoning: your child will need to use logic and reasoning to solve problems with written information, such as letters, words, symbols and numbers

  • Non-verbal and spatial reasoning: this involves using logic and reasoning to solve problems with visual information, such as pictures, shapes and diagrams

All of the questions in the West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test are multiple-choice. Your child will have separate answer sheets which they will use to mark their answers. These are marked electronically.

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Verbal reasoning paper

How is the West Midlands Grammar School’s Entrance Test scored?

After the test, your child’s answer sheets are marked using Optical Mark Recognition (OMR). This technology picks up the marks your child has made to indicate which answers they think are correct. Your child receives a mark for every correct answer.

The marks are then weighted for each section:

  • English and verbal reasoning: 50%

  • Non-verbal reasoning: 25%

  • Maths: 25%

These weighted scores are age-standardised to take into account differences in age. Age-standardisation is a common practice in 11 plus scoring and ensures younger children aren’t disadvantaged.

Your child’s results will be emailed to you on Friday 18th October 2024. If your child meets your target school’s qualifying standard, you can then apply for a place on your common application form (CAF).

What's the pass mark for the West Midlands Entrance Test?

Each school, or group of schools, sets its own cut-off score which qualifies a child for entry. This isn’t always decided until after the entrance test takes place.

The minimum qualifying scores for Year 7 entry in 2024 were:

  • The Grammar Schools in Birmingham: 205

  • Shropshire, Walsall and Wolverhampton Consortium: 200

  • King Edward VI School: 232

  • Stratford Girls’ Grammar School: 226

  • Alcester Grammar School: 220

  • Lawrence Sheriff School: 212

  • Rugby High School: 212

  • Ashlawn School: 208

Achieving the qualifying score doesn’t guarantee that your child will be allocated a place at your target school. Many grammar schools are oversubscribed with children who meet the qualifying score. When this happens, the school applies oversubscription criteria to prioritise places. We’ve included this information in each of our school guides:

How to apply to grammar schools in the West Midlands

If you're considering a grammar school in the West Midlands 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. Register for the West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test

If you would like your child to be considered for a place at one of the 19 West Midlands grammar schools, you’ll need to register them to take the local 11 plus.

Registration for the 2024 exam will open on Tuesday 7th May 2024. To start your child’s application, visit the West Midlands Grammar Schools website and follow the instructions. You may need to have a photo of your child ready to upload to the admissions policy.

2. Apply for school places

Your child’s test results will be sent to you on Friday 18th October 2024. You’ll find out if your child has achieved the minimum score necessary for admission to your target school(s).

You can use these results to decide which schools to name on your secondary school common application form. You should only name grammar schools for which your child has met the eligible score. 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.

If no places are available at your preferred schools, they will be offered a place at another school in your area. You can appeal via an independent panel. Information about how to appeal will be sent to you by your local authority along with your school offer on National Offers Day.

How can I help my child prepare for the West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test?

The 11 plus exam is designed to be challenging. Here are our top tips to help your child prepare for the West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance Test in September 2024.

Bitesize learning

It’s important to build a good knowledge base before the exam. 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 non-verbal reasoning question on a West Midlands Grammar Schools 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 West Midlands Entrance Test

Wish you could give your child a roadmap to success in the West Midlands Grammar Schools’ Entrance 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 West Midlands Entrance Test practice papers

  • 90,000+ adaptive questions

  • 500+ hours of on-demand video lessons

  • Automatic marking and instant progress data

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