Back to blog

Wiltshire 11 plus guide

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 4:37 PM

Wiltshire 11 plus

Looking for information about the 11 plus for entry to a grammar school in Wiltshire? We've collated all the information you'll need about the application process for entry in September 2024. Keep reading to find out what to expect and learn how to help your child prepare for the 11 plus exam.

Key information about the Wiltshire 11 plus

  • Registration opens: April–June 2023

  • Registration closes: June–September 2023

  • Exam board: GL Assessment

  • 11 plus exam day: mid-September 2023

  • Results: mid-October 2023

  • Local authority common application form (CAF) deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

  • Admissions information: South Wilts Grammar School website and Bishop Wordsworth's School website

  • Appeals: dealt with by an independent committee

Key dates vary, so make sure to check with your target school!

What is the 11 plus?

The 11 plus is an entrance exam used by grammar schools in the UK as part of their entrance process. It's used to estimate each child's academic potential, and to decide if they will thrive in a grammar school. Children take the test in September while they are in Year 6. Your child must pass the 11 plus to get into selective grammar schools, although passing the test does not guarantee admission to a school.

Which schools in Wiltshire use the 11 plus?

There are two grammar schools in Wiltshire. Both of these schools use the 11 plus to select pupils for Year 7:

Both were single-sex only (girls at South Wilts Grammar School, and boys at Bishop Wordsworth’s School) for many years, although with a partnership arrangement in the sixth form whereby some lessons and facilities were shared. Since September 2020, both schools have changed their sixth forms to become fully co-educational.

Test your knowledge

Try answering some 11+ questions

Let's go!

How to apply to Wiltshire grammar schools

1. Register for the 11 plus

If you would like your child to be considered for a place in Year 7 at either South Wilts Grammar School or Bishop Wordsworth's School, you will need to register on the school website:

2. Take the 11 plus exam

You will receive further details about the 11 plus exam once you have completed your child's registration. The exam is taken at the school in mid-September:

  • Bishop Wordsworth's School: Saturday 16th September 2023

  • South Wilts Grammar School: Saturday 23rd September 2023

3. Apply for a school place

Results are posted by the school in early to mid-October. If your target school says that your child is eligible for a place on the basis of their exam results, you will be able to name the school on your local authority common application form (CAF).

The application process for your local authority will open on 1st September 2023. The common application form must be submitted by 31st October 2023. You will be able to download this from your local council website (e.g. Wiltshire, Hampshire or Dorset).

4. National school offer day

On 1st March 2024, you will find out which school your child has been allocated a place at. The school allocated will be dependent on:

  • whether this is the 'preferred' school listed on your common application form

  • whether your child meets the entrance criteria (outlined in the school admissions policy)

  • whether the school has enough places available

If no places are available at your preferred school, your child will be offered a place at another school in your area. If your child is not offered a place at the school of your choice, you have the right to appeal; this is lodged against the decision of the school governors to an independent appeals committee.

What's on the 11 plus?

The grammar schools in Wiltshire have separate 11 plus processes. They both use GL Assessment test papers, but in different combinations.

Bishop Wordsworth's School 11 plus

Boys take two multiple-choice tests, each lasting approximately 45 minutes. The questions will be presented in one booklet and children will need to mark their answers in a separate answer booklet, which is marked by computer.

  • Verbal skills: questions will assess your child's reading comprehension and technical skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar, and verbal reasoning. 25 minutes are allocated to the English section, and 20 minutes to the verbal reasoning section.

  • Non-verbal and maths skills: questions will assess your child's non-verbal reasoning and mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding. The maths content will be aligned to the Key Stage 2 national curriculum. There are two 10-minute sub-tests in reasoning, and then a 25-minute maths section.

South Wilts Grammar School 11 plus

Girls will take three multiple-choice tests, each lasting approximately 50 minutes. The questions will be presented in one booklet and children will need to mark their answers in a separate answer booklet, which is marked by computer.

  • Maths: questions reflect all areas of the national curriculum at Key Stage 2, covering number, algebra, measures, shape and space, and handling data.

  • English: this may contain aspects of any of the following four areas that are reflected in the national curriculum: reading comprehension, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

  • Verbal reasoning: questions will assess your child's ability to reason and solve problems with written information, including letters, words, numbers and symbols.

South Wilts Grammar School will hold a practice 11 plus test (familiarisation) on-site on Saturday 16th September 2023. Free practice materials are also available on the school website.

What is the pass mark for the Wiltshire 11 plus?

Pupils’ marks in the 11 plus test are standardised to ensure that children born later in the school year are not disadvantaged by their age.

While neither school publishes a specific pass mark, this has historically been between 70% and 74% (once age-standardised) but depends on the number and quality of the applicants. However, passing the 11 plus does not guarantee a place; if more pupils pass the exam than the planned admissions number (160 places at each school), they will be ranked according to each school’s oversubscription criteria. The main priority groups are looked-after or previously looked-after children, children who are eligible for Free School Meals, or children who live within the catchment area.

Bishop Wordsworth's School provides a pass mark of 3% lower than the standard pass mark for boys who qualify for Free School Meals and can provide supporting documentary evidence from their local authority. 10 places are reserved for boys who meet these criteria; if fewer than 10 pass at the reduced pass mark, then the places are reallocated to standard pass mark applicants.

How competitive is the 11 plus in Wiltshire?

In the last seven years, there have been an average of 315 applicants for up to 160 places at Bishop Wordsworth’s School. South Wilts Grammar School also has 160 places available for Year 7 in 2023 and historically, there has been an average of 329 applicants. This means that for both schools, approximately one in two applicants is successful in getting a place.

How can I help my child prepare for the Wiltshire 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, and using a little-and-often approach, will give your child time to securely build the skills and knowledge they need.

Atom Nucleus is an 11 plus online course which tailors your child's personalised learning journey to cover all elements of the 11 plus. This will help you to avoid the common mistake of over-focusing on the topics your child enjoys, or conversely, the topics they find the most difficult.

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. Access to unlimited local 11 plus test papers will allow your child to build exam technique and feel fully prepared on the day.

Engage with their progress

Setting regular goals and celebrating achievements will help keep motivation high. Atom offers data-driven insights into your child’s progress towards mastering the 11 plus content, 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 an 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, 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.

Wiltshire 11 plus practice papers

Atom Nucleus gives children access to unlimited online practice papers tailored to GL Assessment 11 plus exams, as well as school-specific papers for South Wilts Grammar School.

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.

Try Atom Nucleus free for 5 days

Begin your child's journey to grammar school today. Use the full features of Atom Nucleus free for 5 days – cancel anytime.

Start free trial

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 Barnet grammar schools.

Email us

Exam prep WhatsApp groups

Why not join over 2,000 parents in our community WhatsApp groups? You’ll get access to free resources, advice and admissions updates.

Join today

Subscribe for the latest education advice

Subscribe to Atom’s mailing list and get free resources to help your child master core subjects, excel in their entrance exams and build academic confidence.

Get exclusive discounts for Atom Nucleus, invitations to parent webinars, and much more, direct to your inbox.

Subscribe now

Atom Learning Ltd. is registered and incorporated in England and Wales. Company Registration Number: 10867907 VAT number: 316903508 Copyright Atom Learning Ltd. All rights reserved.